A first time for everything…
Contributing Editor – Philip R. Walsh
The following newswire is certainly not unique in terms of companies announcing the filing of their first ESG report. For publicly-traded companies with exposure to a variety of key stakeholders, disclosure in terms of their environmental, social and governance activities is becoming more commonplace and a necessity for ensuring stakeholder legitimacy (see some recent research by my team at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University). For a company like Amyris, sustainability has become a key aspect of the firm’s strategic intent and therefore communicating their ESG activities effectively is important in assuring proper strategy implementation. Like many other companies, they point to their use of leading sustainability frameworks and reporting standards such as SASB – Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, GRI – Global Reporting Initiative, and UN SDGs – the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. However, referring to these frameworks and standards as a guide does not necessarily guarantee that a firm is as sustainable as they wish you to think. What is more important is the depth to which a firm goes to understand the impact they are having from their operations. This requires more than just self-reporting based on selective choice of metrics but a total life cycle assessment of a firm’s supply chain that extends beyond the primary supply chain to include assessing their supply chain partners. Furthermore, objectivity in the form of third-party (not consultants hired by the company) assessments is a necessity.
When one examines Amyris’ ESG Report it is apparent that time and effort has gone into preparing the report, especially in a first-time attempt, and efforts such as this are commendable. But, is their publication of the report due to their strategic intent or is it a response to less-than-stellar earlier objective assessments of Amyris’ ESG performance? Have they gone deep enough? CSRHub, an ESG ratings organization indicates that Amyris ranks above its peers when it comes to CSR and ESG performance but when compared generally to all companies assessed, the firm’s ranking is in the bottom 15%. In terms of depth, Amyris’ selective reporting is primarily descriptive and lacking in specifics, which should raise further questions for fund managers seeking to invest in more sustainable companies. For example, the environmental impact numbers (relatively small in comparison to larger companies) are provided for contract manufacturers in terms of energy consumption and Scope 3 GHG emissions (again only 8 of 10 are reported on) with significant and notable increases over the past 3 years. However, no discussion regarding the implications of those increases and what actions are being taken to limit that impact is specifically provided. That is the kind of disclosure that is valuable in assessing ESG performance. And, as always, the opaqueness of the term “materiality” raises its ugly head time and time again. Like other firms, a closer examination of Amyris’ ESG report will stipulate that they have taken a materiality-based approach to disclosure which should raise concerns about the subjective nature of what their management is willing to identify as material and any liability associated with their failure to follow through on their assertions of future action to remain sustainable is protected by their use of the safe harbour for forward looking statements as provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act 1995. Yet, a good start for Amyris with the hope that they are not creating a sustainability veneer over which unsustainable actions are taking place.
EMERYVILLE, Calif., July 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Amyris, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMRS), a leading synthetic biotechnology company active in the Clean Health, Beauty and Wellness markets through its consumer brands and a top supplier of sustainable and natural ingredients, today released its first Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, underscoring the company’s founding commitment to making people and the planet healthier.
With its leading Lab-to-Market™ science and technology, Amyris translates biotechnology into new applications and products that consumers love and that enable the transition of many industries to sustainable chemistry. This inaugural ESG report communicates the company’s progress and baseline for measurement of Amyris’ ESG impact goals.
Amyris’ ESG report is aligned with leading sustainability frameworks and reporting standards, including the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) framework, select disclosures from the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) framework, and select goals from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG).
“Sustainability is at the core of everything we do and as our success continues to accelerate, so too will the health benefits for people and the planet,” said John Melo, CEO and President of Amyris. “The future of health, wellness and beauty is clean chemistry. This report provides deeper transparency and accountability into our vision as we lead the way for consumers and our industry partners. Our mission is to move the world to sustainable consumption as the leading supplier of clean ingredients, with top performing consumer brands in their respective categories. This ESG report shows our continued progress and commitment to a better future for all.”
“Publishing our first ESG report is an important step in communicating the meaningful impact that Amyris is making,” said Beth Bannerman, Chief Engagement and Sustainability Officer. “We are deeply committed to our ESG agenda and will continue to push the boundaries of sustainable innovation, driven by our proprietary Lab-to-MarketTM science and technology, delivering best-in-class, natural and sustainably-sourced ingredients with distinctive consumer-inspired brands.”
Amyris’ inaugural ESG report primarily covers 2020 performance, including the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report details how the company focused on this priority while maintaining business continuity and having one of the most productive years to date.
Key highlights from the report include:
- Amyris received the Bonsucro Chain of Custody Certification, ensuring that its primary feedstock of Brazilian sugarcane is sustainably and ethically produced.
- Amyris’ sustainably sourced, natural ingredients are formulated in over 20,000 products and reach over 300 million consumers.
- Amyris’ Biossance brand products are all verified by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), meeting their strict health standards.
- 90% of hazardous lab waste in the Emeryville, CA headquarters is recycled.
- Of the employees who received a promotion in 2020 at Amyris, 54% identified as female.
- In response to COVID-19, Amyris activated its Emergency Response Plan prioritizing the health and safety of employees and the communities in which it operates. This included the donation of over 20,000 32-ounce units of Pipette branded hand sanitizer to frontline healthcare workers.
In addition to the launch of its ESG report, Amyris has also announced its ESG impact goals for realizing a sustainable future. These goals have depth and breadth with ambitious timelines to positively impact the triple bottom line.
- Environment: Net Zero by 2030
- Social: 100% Engagement in Community Improvement by 2024
- Governance: 100% of Amyris Partners adopt the Amyris “Partnership Pledge to the Planet” by 2023
“We need to set a higher standard and be bold when we set our goals,” Mr. Melo said. “We need these goals to deliver a demonstrable impact in the near term, consistent with our focus on delivering healthier solutions for both people and planet.”
Amyris (Nasdaq: AMRS) is a science and technology leader in the research, development and production of sustainable ingredients for the Clean Health & Beauty and Flavors & Fragrances markets. Amyris uses an impressive array of exclusive technologies, including state-of-the-art machine learning, robotics and artificial intelligence. Our ingredients are included in over 20,000 products from the world’s top brands, reaching more than 300 million consumers. Amyris is proud to own and operate a family of consumer brands – all built around its No Compromise® promise of clean ingredients: Biossance® clean beauty skincare, Pipette® clean baby skincare, and Purecane™, a zero-calorie sweetener naturally derived from sugarcane. For more information, please visit http://www.amyris.com.
This release contains forward-looking statements, and any statements other than statements of historical fact could be deemed to be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, among other things, Amyris’s ESG impact goals and the timing thereof. These statements are based on management’s current expectations and actual results and future events may differ materially due to risks and uncertainties, including risks related to delays or failures in development, regulatory approval, production and commercialization of products; risks related to Amyris’s reliance on third parties (including in the supply chain); Amyris’s liquidity and ability to fund operating and capital expenses; and other risks detailed from time to time in filings Amyris makes with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. Amyris disclaims any obligation to update information contained in these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
Amyris, the Amyris logo, No Compromise, Biossance, Pipette, and Purecane are trademarks or registered trademarks of Amyris, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.
SOURCE Amyris, Inc.