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BASF Evaluates Product Portfolio for Sustainability

BASFBASF has developed a new process for steering its portfolio based on sustainability criteria.

The Sustainable Solution Steering method is used to systematically review and evaluate the sustainability aspects of the about 50,000 relevant product applications in the company’s portfolio, which represent sales of 56 billion euros ($72 billion).

The company says 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 already analyzed more than 80 percent of its portfolio of around 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. The process determines the extent to which BASF products can accommodate these needs.

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

  • Accelerators make a substantial contribution in the value chain to sustainability — 22 percent of the analyzed products by sales are in this category.
  • Performers are products that meet the standard market requirements for sustainability. Around 73 percent fall under this category.
  • For the Transitioners, specific sustainability issues have been identified and concrete action plans defined. These recommendations are in the process of being implemented. Around 4.5 percent of the analyzed products are currently in this category.
  • Applications with a significant sustainability concern are labeled Challenged. BASF is developing action plans for these products in order to find improved solutions. This currently applies to 0.5 percent.

Sustainable Solution Steering aims to increase the number of Accelerator products in the long term in order to further improve the sustainability profile of both BASF and its customers. To this end, 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 analyze the whole product portfolio by the end of 2014.

Eighty-one percent of mainstream chemical producers say it’s very or moderately important to be a front runner in sustainable chemicals, according to a survey by Genomatica and ICIS published earlier this week.

In addition, respondents said they viewed BASF, DuPont, Dow, Bayer and Genomatica as the leaders in sustainable technology.

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