Stakeholder Management and Societal Engagement Approach
Our stakeholders include customers, employees, investors, suppliers, the communities surrounding our sites, and representatives from industry, academia, politics and society. Parts of our business activities, such as the use of certain new technologies or our environmental impacts, are often viewed by stakeholders with a critical eye. We take these questions seriously, initiate dialogs and participate in discussions. Such ongoing exchange with our stakeholders helps us to even better understand what matters to groups of society, what they expect of us and which measures we need to pursue in order to establish and maintain trust, build partnerships, and increase societal acceptance for and the sustainability of our business activities. In doing so, we want to harness potential for mutual value creation and strengthen societal acceptance of our business activities. For important topics, we systematically identify key stakeholders at an early stage to discuss critical questions with them. Relevant considerations here include their topic-specific expertise and willingness to engage in constructive dialog.
We established an external, independent Stakeholder Advisory Council (SAC) in 2013 and the Human Rights Advisory Council (HRAC) in 2020. In the SAC, which is led by the Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, international experts from academia and society contribute their perspectives to discussions with BASF’s Board of Executive Directors. The HRAC is an advisory body comprising external human rights specialists and internal experts. This helps us to critically reflect on our positions and address potential for improvement.
Our political advocacy is conducted in accordance with transparent guidelines and our publicly stated positions. The same applies to our activities in associations. For instance, we again published an Industry Associations Review in 2021 comparing the energy and climate protection positions of BASF and the most important associations of which we are a member, with explanations on our approach.
BASF does not financially support political parties, for example through donations in cash or in kind. This is codified in a global guideline. 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 an independent, federally registered employee association founded in 1998. It collects donations from employees 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 residents and our site management and strengthen trust in our activities. Our globally binding requirements for community advisory panels are based on the grievance mechanism standards in the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We keep track of their implementation through the existing global database of the Responsible Care Management System.
Our societal engagement approach
Through our societal engagement, we want to help disadvantaged groups tackle their specific challenges – whether through initiatives in our immediate communities or around the world in cooperation with global organizations. We want to foster societal cohesion by supporting and protecting health, skills and resources. We support projects that aim to have a lasting impact on specific target groups and offer learning opportunities for participating cooperation partners and BASF.
In this way, societal engagement is an important part of the implementation of our sustainability strategy and our corporate social responsibility. Our societal engagement policy provides the guardrails for our activities in this area. It stipulates that all engagement measures worldwide must be conducted in line with our compliance policy, BASF’s strategy and our sustainability commitments.