Societal acceptance

  • Constant dialog with our key stakeholders
  • Global requirements for community advisory panels
  • Social commitment

Sustainability management helps to minimize risks. This supports our long-term economic success and ensures societal acceptance of our business activities. We aim to reduce potential risks in the areas of environment, safety and security, health protection, product stewardship, compliance, and labor and social standards by setting ourselves globally uniform requirements. These often go beyond local legal requirements. Internal monitoring systems and grievance mechanisms enable us to check compliance with these standards: they include, for example, questionnaires, audits and compliance hotlines. All employees, managers and Board members are required to abide by our global Code of Conduct, which defines a mandatory framework for our business activities.

Our investment decisions for property, plant and equipment and financial assets also involve sustainability criteria. Our decision-making is supported by expert appraisals that assess economic implications as well as potential effects on the environment, human rights or local communities.

Our stakeholders include customers, employees, suppliers and shareholders, as well as representatives from academia, industry, politics, society and the media. Parts of our business activities, such as the use of new technologies, are frequently viewed by some stakeholders with a critical eye. In order to increase societal acceptance for our business activities, we take on these questions, assess our business activities in terms of their sustainability, and communicate this transparently. Such dialogs help us to even better understand society’s expectations of us and which measures we need to pursue in order to establish and maintain trust and build partnerships.

We use a custom model to identify key stakeholders and involve them more effectively. When selecting our stakeholders, we assess factors such as their topic-specific expertise and willingness to engage in constructive dialog, for instance. We draw on the competence of global initiatives and networks, and contribute our own expertise.

That is why we are involved in worldwide initiatives with various stakeholder groups, such as the U.N. Global Compact. BASF’s Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors is a member of the United Nations Global Compact Board. As a member of the U.N. Global Compact LEAD initiative, we support the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. BASF is also active in local Global Compact networks.

We once again met with the Stakeholder Advisory Council in 2017 to discuss important aspects of sustainability. The main topics were strengthening sustainability in the corporate strategy and challenges in the supply chain. We received and implemented recommendations for our thematic focus areas. For example, we initiated a lighthouse project on the circular economy that is analyzing to what extent waste streams can be used as raw materials. In 2017, BASF joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s circular economy initiatives to drive forward existing approaches.

Our lobbying and political communications are conducted in accordance with transparent guidelines and our publicly stated positions. BASF does not financially support political parties. In the United States, employees at BASF Corporation have exercised their right to establish a Political Action Committee (PAC). The BASF Corporation Employee PAC is a voluntary, federally registered employee association founded in 1998. It collects donations for political purposes and independently decides how these are used, in accordance with U.S. law.

We have a particular responsibility toward our production sites’ neighbors. With the established community advisory panels, we promote open exchange between citizens and our site management, and strengthen trust in our activities. In 2017, we updated our globally binding requirements for community advisory panels at our sites. These minimum requirements are oriented toward the grievance mechanisms outlined in the U.N. Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. We keep track of their implementation through the existing global databank of the Responsible Care Management System.

As a founding member of the U.N. Global Compact, we support the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals with our social commitment around the world. We promote social, educational, cultural, academic and sports projects as part of our social engagement strategy. The main aim of these projects is to have a lasting impact on society and offer learning opportunities for participating cooperation partners and BASF.

As a responsible neighbor, BASF strives to create a livable community for our sites’ neighbors, employees and their families. To achieve this, BASF supports projects that reach out to as many people as possible and have long-term impact. One example is the Connected to Care program, where employees around the world form teams to carry out social projects together with nonprofit organizations. Employees can suggest their own ideas or get involved in BASF initiatives.

We also aim to create long-term value for BASF and society with new business models and cross-industry partnerships. Our company-wide Starting Ventures program provides access to growing low-income markets. This helps people with precarious livelihoods to improve their income-earning opportunities and their quality of life. The program also strengthens our contribution to reaching the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. In one project in Kenya and Tanzania, for example, local food supply and quality of life are improved by fortifying flour with micronutrients such as vitamin A. This reduces health risks for the population. To take advantage of these opportunities for the people there, BASF draws on an established network of local mills, nonprofit organizations and government authorities.

In the area of international development work, we support the BASF Stiftung, an independent nonprofit organization, through donations to its projects with various U.N. and nongovernmental organizations. In 2017, BASF supported various activities by the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to give children in Kenyan refugee camps access to education with its annual year-end donation campaign to the BASF Stiftung. BASF doubled all donations by employees of German and African Group companies, bringing the total amount benefiting the refugee children in Kenya to €642,703. This total donation was again doubled to €1,285,405 by the German arm of the U.N. refugee agency.

The BASF Group spent a total of €56.0 million supporting projects in 2017; we donated 57% of this amount (2016: €47.0 million, of which 49.6% were donations).

BASF Group donations, sponsorship and own projects in 2017 (million €)

BASF Group donations, sponsorship and own projects in 2017 (pie chart)