BASF Report 2021

Our Steering Concept

Creating long-term value as a company means more than generating earnings that cover the cost of capital employed. Our steering concept encourages and supports all employees in thinking and acting entrepreneurially. Our key financial management indicator is the return on capital employed (ROCE). The BASF Group’s most important nonfinancial key performance indicators are CO2 emissions and Accelerator sales.

Our financial targets follow a steering concept that is aligned with our values. The return on capital employed (ROCE) is used as the key target and management indicator for the BASF Group. As stated in our strategic goals, we aim to achieve a ROCE considerably above the cost of capital percentage every year. With ROCE, the same logic and data is used for our value-based management, external communication with the capital markets and variable compensation. This means we use the same yardstick for internal management, employee incentivization and our shareholders’ expectations.

As part of our corporate strategy and the sustainability targets derived from this, we have also used CO2 emissions and Accelerator sales as the most important nonfinancial key performance indicators since the 2020 business year. Two targets are based on these indicators: sustainability-oriented portfolio management with our Sustainable Solution Steering method and reducing absolute CO2 emissions. We reached our Accelerator sales target in 2021, earlier than planned. Consequently, we will adjust our portfolio steering target over the course of 2022.

Calculating ROCE and cost of capital

ROCE is calculated as the EBIT of the segments as a percentage of the average cost of capital basis.

To calculate the EBIT of the segments, we take the BASF Group’s EBIT and deduct the EBIT of activities recognized under Other, which are not allocated to the divisions.

The cost of capital basis is calculated using the month-end figures and consists of the operating assets of the segments. These comprise the current and noncurrent asset items of the segments, including tangible and intangible fixed assets, integral investments accounted for using the equity method, inventories, trade accounts receivable, other receivables and other assets generated by core business activities and, where appropriate, the assets of disposal groups. The cost of capital basis also includes customer and supplier financing.

We have integrated the cost of capital percentage into our ROCE target as a comparative figure. This is determined using the weighted cost of capital from equity and borrowing costs (weighted average cost of capital, WACC). To calculate a pre-tax figure similar to EBIT, the cost of capital is adjusted using the projected tax rate for the BASF Group for the business year. In addition, the projected net expense of Other is already provided for by an adjustment to the cost of capital percentage. The cost of equity is ascertained using the capital asset pricing model. Borrowing costs are determined based on the financing costs of the BASF Group. The cost of capital percentage for 2022 is 9% (2021: 9%).

Calculation of CO2 emissions

We calculate our absolute CO2 emissions on the basis of greenhouse gas emissions, which are the sum of direct emissions from production processes and the generation of steam and electricity (Scope 1), as well as indirect emissions from the purchase of energy (Scope 2). Direct emissions from the generation of energy for third parties are not considered here. Relevant emissions include other greenhouse gases according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which are converted into CO2 equivalents.

We set ourselves even more ambitious targets with our roadmap to climate neutrality, which we presented in March 2021: Compared with the 2018 baseline, we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030.1 We aim to achieve net zero emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2) by 2050.

Calculation of Accelerator sales2

Accelerator sales refer to sales generated by the BASF Group from products in our strategic portfolio to third parties in the business year concerned. Accelerator products make a substantial sustainability contribution in the value chain. In line with our corporate strategy, we set ourselves the global target of achieving €22 billion in Accelerator sales by 2025. This target was already achieved in 2021. Consequently, we will adjust our portfolio steering target over the course of 2022.

Value-based management throughout the company

An important part of our value management is the target agreement process, which aligns individual employee targets with BASF’s targets. The most important financial performance indicator in the operating units is ROCE. The other units’ contribution to value is also assessed according to effectiveness and efficiency on the basis of quality and cost targets. To assess this, we use metrics such as BASF’s internal service score in the service units.

In addition to ROCE as the BASF Group’s most important financial key performance indicator, we use EBIT before special items and capex (capital expenditure) as key performance indicators that have a direct impact on ROCE and as such, support its management.

  • EBIT before special items is used to steer profitability at Group and segment level. This is calculated by adjusting the EBIT reported in the Consolidated Financial Statements for special items, making it especially suitable for assessing economic development over time. Special items arise from the integration of acquired businesses, from restructuring measures, certain impairments, gains or losses resulting from divestitures and sales of shareholdings, and other expenses and income that arise outside of ordinary business activities.
  • Capital expenditures (capex) are used to manage capital employed in the BASF Group. These comprise additions to property, plant and equipment excluding additions from acquisitions, IT investments, restoration obligations and right-of-use assets arising from leases. Capex is not just relevant to ROCE management, but also supports our long-term goal of increasing our dividend each year based on a strong free cash flow.

Furthermore, we comment on and forecast sales at Group and segment level in our financial reporting as a significant driver for EBIT before special items and thus ROCE.

1 In March 2021, we replaced our previous target of CO2-neutral growth until 2030 (baseline 2018: 21.9 million metric tons of CO2e) with a new, more ambitious climate protection target to reduce absolute CO2 emissions by 25% compared with 2018 (new target: 16.4 million metric tons of CO2e).

2 The definition of the relevant portfolio and further information can be found in the Sustainable Solution Steering manual at

CO2 equivalents
CO2 equivalents are units for measuring the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the greenhouse effect. A factor known as the global warming potential (GWP) shows the impact of the individual gases compared with CO2 as the reference value.
Value chain
A value chain describes the successive steps in a production process: from raw materials through various intermediate steps, such as transportation and production, to the finished product.

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