New Metrics
BASF Evaluating Entire Product Portfolio for Sustainability

In order to better help its customers align environmental and societal considerations with business success, BASF has developed a new process for steering its portfolio based on sustainability criteria. Launched today, the Sustainable Solution Steering method is used to systematically review and evaluate the sustainability aspects of the approximately 50,000 relevant product applications in the company’s portfolio, which represent sales of €56 billion. The benefit: This externally validated process makes it possible to measure the products’ contribution to sustainability within their various markets and industries and to increase this contribution through targeted steps.

Over the past three years, BASF has analyzed more than 80 percent of its portfolio of roughly 50,000 specific product applications. The data shows, for example, how a product contributes to cost effectiveness and resource conservation as well as to health and safety. The concrete sustainability requirements of various customer industries are taken into account as well as regional differences. Finally, the process determines the extent to which BASF solutions can accommodate these needs.

Based on the results to date, the analyzed product applications have been sorted into four categories:

  • Accelerators, which represent 22 percent of the analyzed products by sales, make a substantial contribution in the value chain to sustainability.
  • Performers (roughly 73 percent) are solutions that meet the standard market requirements for sustainability.
  • For the Transitioners (4.5 percent), specific sustainability issues have been identified and concrete action plans defined. These recommendations are in the process of being implemented.
  • 0.5 percent of BASF’s applications are labeled Challenged, as they cause significant sustainability concern. BASF is developing action plans for these products in order to find improved solutions.

Sustainable Solution Steering aims to increase the number of “Accelerator” solutions in the long term in order to further improve the sustainability profile of both BASF and its customers. That is why the product portfolio is under continual review – which means that this four-category segmentation is also subject to change, for example, in response to altered market requirements or new legislation.

BASF says it will have analyzed its entire product portfolio by the end of 2014. With this new method, BASF continues to drive its “We create chemistry” strategy.

“It is becoming increasingly important to our customers to be able to combine economic, environmental and societal demands,” said Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF. “We see this development as a business opportunity for BASF, and intend to seize it in a targeted manner. This approach forms an integral part of our corporate purpose: ‘We create chemistry for a sustainable future.’ By analyzing our entire portfolio with respect to sustainability and systematically expanding on especially sustainable solutions, we underscore this endeavor.”

BASF is also among a group of 12 companies united in the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics that last week unveiled the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment, the first practical, cross-industry tool for assessing a product’s social impacts throughout its life cycle.


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