Responsible Care Management System

Protecting people and the environment is our top priority. Our core business – the development, production, processing and transportation of chemicals – demands a responsible approach. We address environmental, health and safety risks with a comprehensive Responsible Care Management System. We expect our employees and contractors to know the risks of working with our products, substances and plants and to handle these responsibly.

The graphic depicts the different stations along the value chain. The topics in each chapter address the station shown in light blue. (here: Suppliers, BASF, customers) (graphic)

Responsible Care Management System

  • Global EHS directives and standards

BASF is actively involved in the International Council of Chemical Associations’ (ICCA) Responsible Care® initiative and has endorsed the Responsible Care® Global Charter. Our Responsible Care Management System comprises the global directives, standards and procedures for environmental protection, health and safety (EHS) for the various steps along our value chain. Our regulations cover the transportation of raw materials, activities at our sites and warehouses, and distribution of our products as well as our customers’ application of the products. Specifications for implementing these measures are laid out in binding directives that are introduced in consultation with employee representatives. These describe responsibilities, requirements and assessment methods. The Environmental Protection, Health & Safety unit in the Corporate Center defines Group-wide management and control systems and monitors compliance with internal guidelines and legal regulations, while the sites and legal entities implement these requirements locally. Our policies and requirements are continuously updated. This is why we also maintain dialog with government institutions, associations and international organizations.

We set ourselves ambitious goals for environmental protection, health and safety and regularly review our performance and progress with audits. We assess the potential risks and weaknesses of all our activities – from research and production to logistics – and the effects of these on the safety and security of our employees, the environment or our surroundings. We use databases to document accidents, near misses and safety-related incidents at our sites as well as along our transportation routes to learn from these; appropriate measures are derived according to specific cause analyses.


  • 131 audits to monitor performance and progress

Regular audits help ensure that our safety, security, health and environmental protection standards are met. We conduct regular audits every three to six years at all BASF sites and at companies in which BASF is a majority shareholder. We take a risk-based approach and use an audit database to ensure that all sites and plants worldwide are regularly audited. Sites and companies acquired as part of acquisitions are audited in a timely manner to bring these into line with our standards and directives as necessary. After the integration phase is complete, they are generally audited within one to two years, depending on complexity and size. We have defined our regulations for Responsible Care audits in a global Corporate Requirement. During our audits, we create a safety and environmental profile that shows if we are properly addressing the existing hazard potential. If this is not the case, we agree on measures and monitor their implementation, for example, with follow-up audits. Our Responsible Care audit system complies with the ISO 19011 standard and is certified according to ISO 9001. Worldwide, 150 BASF production sites are certified in accordance with ISO 14001 and EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) (2019: 183).1 In addition, 54 sites worldwide are certified in accordance with OHSAS 18001 or ISO 45001 (2019: 53).

In the BASF Group in 2020, 112 environmental and safety audits were conducted at 60 sites (2019: 137 audits at 90 sites). The focus was on auditing sites based on the level of risk. For production plants with a medium and high hazard potential, we additionally conducted 19 short-notice audits at seven sites (2019: 42 audits at 33 sites). The sites of the businesses acquired from Bayer in 2018 were evaluated in 2020 as planned. We aim to audit the sites acquired from Solvay in 2020 from the end of 2021.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, medical personnel including auditors had to concentrate on monitoring and responding to the pandemic and on global pandemic preparedness. For this reason and due to the travel restrictions, only one site was audited on occupational medicine and health protection in 2020 (2019: 15). All other audits and health performance control visits were postponed to 2021.

Costs and provisions for environmental protection in the BASF Group (Million €)




Operating costs for environmental protection



Investments in new and improved environmental protection plants and facilitiesa



Provisions for environmental protection measures and remediationb




Investments comprise end-of-pipe measures as well as integrated environmental protection measures.


Values shown refer to December 31 of the respective year.

For more information, see the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements:
Other Operating Income and Expenses
Other Provisions

1 The decrease compared with the previous year is attributable to the sale of the construction chemicals business and the related sites.