BASF Report 2021


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)

Biodiversity describes the variety of life forms on Earth. Low flora and fauna diversity weakens ecosystems’ ability to withstand changes such as climate change. As a chemical company, we depend on ecosystem services like the availability of renewable resources and high air, water and soil quality, while also influencing them. Protecting biodiversity is a key element of our commitment to sustainability.

At a glance

  • Strategic alignment of our biodiversity measures based on impact assessments
  • Commitment to preserving biodiversity along the entire value chain with strategic partnerships


BASF sees the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – including Life below water (SDG 14) and Life on land (SDG 15) – as important orientation and reference frameworks. Our measures help to preserve biodiversity and meet our responsibility to maintaining the wellbeing of the environment and society. Our corporate sustainability goals on climate protection, product portfolio, circular economy, water management and responsible procurement also help to protect biodiversity.

We align our biodiversity measures with the impact of our business activities along the value chain. Our focus here is on three impact areas: supply chains, sites and production, and product impact. We analyzed these in an internal workshop according to the five drivers of biodiversity loss as defined by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. These are land-use change, climate change, invasive species, overexploitation and pollution. Our analysis showed that our impacts along the value chain mainly relate to the drivers of climate change, land-use change and pollution. We counteract the climate change driver of biodiversity loss – and in this way, help to preserve biodiversity – with our climate protection measures, which play an integral role in all our impact areas.

We use various methods to measure our sustainability performance that implicitly and explicitly consider relevant risks and opportunities for biodiversity. These include the Eco-Efficiency Analysis, SEEbalance®, Sustainable Solution Steering, Value to Society, AgBalance® and the corresponding biodiversity calculator. Under Value to Society, we assess land use along value chains, among other things. Newly developed assessment methods help us to understand further influences on biodiversity. On the basis of this understanding, we seek dialog with partners and enter into strategic partnerships, through which we drive forward measures to protect biodiversity around the world.

Responsibility to our supply chains

Some of the business activities of our raw material suppliers involve land uses that can influence biodiversity (biodiversity loss driver: land-use change). We have laid down our expectations of our suppliers with regard to environmental, labor and social standards in the supply chain in the Supplier Code of Conduct.

BASF procures a variety of renewable raw materials. In the procurement of palm and palm kernel oil in particular, there is an elevated risk that forest areas are cleared to create farmland. To improve sustainability in procurement, we established the BASF Palm Commitment in 2011, which was updated in 2015 and is implemented with our Palm Sourcing Policy. Third-party certification with standards such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard enables us to take biodiversity criteria into account when purchasing raw materials. We are also committed to the environmental sustainability of other supply chains through our own initiatives, such as our rambutan program. This was launched in 2014 in close collaboration with partners in Vietnam to source botanical ingredients for cosmetic products from certified organic rambutan gardens. In cooperation with local farmers and NGOs, BASF’s program promotes the preservation of biodiverse habitats, as well as good agricultural practices, gender equity and fair working conditions.

Our position on forest protection sets out our commitment to preserving biodiversity in areas of High Conservation Value such as High Carbon Stock forest areas and peatlands in the procurement of renewable raw materials. BASF participated in the “Forests” assessment conducted by the international organization CDP for the second time in 2021 and achieved a score of A–, again giving it Leadership status. CPD is a nonprofit organization that evaluates companies’ management of the environmental risks and opportunities relating to forests, among other things. The assessment is conducted based on detailed insights into the palm value chain and activities that impact ecosystems and natural habitats.

Responsibility to our sites and production

Preservation of biodiversity is taken into consideration in the management of our sites. We operate our facilities in a responsible manner and minimize negative effects on the environment (biodiversity loss driver: pollution) by keeping air, water and soil emissions as low as possible and reducing and avoiding waste.

Our site management measures consider our impact on the biodiversity loss driver of land-use change. For example, given the relevance of conservation areas to preserving diversity, we check how close our production sites are to internationally recognized conservation areas. In 2021, we included this indicator in our environmental database. This allows us to raise awareness of biodiversity at local level and draw attention to potential impacts of our sites on these areas. Four percent of our production sites are adjacent to a Ramsar site and 1% are adjacent to a category I, II or III protected area as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.1 None of our production sites are adjacent to a UNESCO protected area.

We have adopted biodiversity as a criterion in decision-making processes. In addition, we systematically consider sustainability aspects when deciding whether to invest in the construction of new sites or expand existing ones. Aspects assessed include the potential impacts on forests and biodiversity.

We are implementing local measures to protect biodiversity at a number of sites. In Clermont, France, for example, grassed areas were converted into biodiversity-friendly spaces, nesting boxes for swallows and other bird species were installed, and their population sizes were measured and documented. In addition, training was held to raise employees’ awareness of biodiversity.

We also take biodiversity conservation into account in our production. We are committed to complying with the provisions of international environmental agreements such as the Nagoya Protocol. The supplementary agreement to the U.N.’s Convention on Biological Diversity regulates access to genetic resources and access and benefit sharing. It sets out obligations (for example, compensation payments) for the users of genetic resources such as plant-based raw materials. We use internal control mechanisms to monitor compliance with standards.

Management of our product impact

BASF offers products and solutions for a wide range of industries. We want to ensure that our products meet our customers’ standards in quality and, through appropriate use, pose no risk to humans, animals or the environment. Our commitment to the objectives set forth by the Responsible Care® charter of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) obligates us to continuously minimize the negative effects of our products on the environment, health and safety and to optimize our products on an ongoing basis. It is important to consider the potential impacts of product use on biodiversity, for example, with regard to the biodiversity loss driver of pollution.

For example, we evaluate our products and solutions in crop protection and seeds throughout the entire research, development and registration process. After they have been approved for the market, we continue assessing them regularly for potential risks and impact to the ecosystems in which they are used. We have initiated various projects and offer training to prevent misuse of our products.

Good to know

Initiative to preserve the habitat of the monarch butterfly

The Alas para el Campo cooperation between the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), BASF and partners from politics, academia, distributors and local communities was launched in Mexico in 2019. The aim is to restore the natural habitat of the monarch butterfly along its migration route. This also protects other pollinators. The focus of the initiative is on introducing sustainable farming measures, good agricultural practices and ecosystem conservation strategies, for the protection of pollinators and other beneficial insects. This enables farmers in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean to restore natural habitats to promote biodiversity while laying the foundation for sustainable yields and prosperity in their communities.

Monarch butterfly on a branch (photo)

All types of land development, such as agriculture and forestry, play a role in changing biodiversity (biodiversity loss driver: land-use change). Activities such as tillage, drainage, fertilization and the use of crop protection products can affect flora and fauna, for example, by influencing food sources. Minimizing these impacts while ensuring the necessary productivity is one of the biggest challenges farmers are facing. Our Agricultural Solutions segment focuses on four areas to help farmers to find the right balance: climate-smart farming, sustainable solutions, digital farming and smart stewardship. In this context, we work with farmers to create balanced agricultural systems which enable productive and efficient farming of high-quality food products and at the same time promote biodiversity in the field. For example, we advise them on soil cultivation and look for suitable ways to improve biodiversity in farmlands. Our many years of experience in sustainability measurement and evaluation in agriculture are particularly useful here.

Our AgBalance® method and the biodiversity calculator, which has been available since 2020, enable a scientifically sound assessment of the impact of agricultural practices on biodiversity. Based on these assessments, we issue recommendations for measures such as planting flower strips or establishing nesting places to benefit pollinators like wild bees and farmland birds. Our modern seed solutions also enable better yield on existing farmlands and thus help protect natural habitats.

BASF started the global registration for a new, more environmentally friendly insecticide active ingredient in 2021. The active ingredient, Axalion™, enables farmers to control a wide range of piercing and sucking pests that are harmful to crops. At the same time, it is highly compatible with beneficial insects such as pollinators. This supports farmers in balancing agricultural productivity, environmental protection and societal demands.

Animal farming is essential to meeting growing global demand for products of animal origin such as meat, eggs and milk. Industrialized livestock production also requires large areas of agricultural land for growing feed, which has implications for the share of forest areas and biodiversity. BASF offers a range of feed additives such as enzymes, vitamins, glycinates and organic acids that improve nutrient utilization from feed. Better feed conversion and more sustainable livestock production mean that less land is needed, preserving natural ecosystems.

Strategic partnerships to promote biodiversity

Engaging in ongoing dialog with a variety of stakeholders is important to BASF. That is why we seek out partnerships with relevant interest groups and organizations worldwide to raise awareness of biodiversity and drive forward the action needed to preserve natural habitats. This enables us to firstly share the knowledge gained from our biodiversity activities and secondly learn from others to improve our own practices.

We cooperate with a number of organizations including the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the Sustainable Palm Oil Forum, the Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture and the High Carbon Stock Approach Steering Group. The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) is working to provide a framework for reporting on nature-related risks and related activities. In 2021, BASF joined the newly established TNFD Forum, a consultative network, to support this development. Our involvement in organizations such as the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and the Alliance for Water Stewardship help to preserve biodiversity in bodies of water.

Together with international partners and based on dialog with stakeholders in the food value chain, we are driving forward measures to promote sustainable agriculture. In the United States, for example, BASF is a member of the Honey Bee Health Coalition, which aims to achieve healthy honey bee populations and support healthy populations of native and managed pollinators in productive agricultural systems and thriving ecosystems. BASF France is part of the Entreprises pour l’environnement (EpE) network, which launched the Act4nature campaign with the main objective of protecting and enhancing biodiversity.

Since 2013, we have also been working with different farmers and experts from the BASF FarmNetwork Sustainability, an association of farms in Europe, to integrate more connected biodiversity areas into agricultural production. Based on the insights gained from working together, an advisory board of experts from agriculture, nature conservation and environmental protection developed a biodiversity checklist and published it in 2021. This summarizes 10 ecologically effective and practicable measures to promote biodiversity. Since 2021, BASF has supported farmers participating in its #wirzahlenBiodiversität (“We pay biodiversity”) program financially and with professional advice. Our initiatives to preserve biodiversity help farmers to achieve the right balance between economic and environmental factors and help them make an important societal contribution to the preservation of ecosystems.

More information on product stewardship

Eco-Efficiency Analysis
The Eco-Efficiency Analysis is a method developed by BASF for assessing the economic and environmental aspects of products and processes. The aim is to compare products with regard to profitability and environmental compatibility.
Responsible Care®
Registered trademark of the European Chemical Industry Council
SEEbalance® is the Socio-Eco-Efficiency analysis developed by BASF. It can be used to evaluate and compare the environmental impact, costs and social aspects of products and manufacturing processes. SEEbalance®; makes sustainable development measurable and manageable for companies by combining the three dimensions of sustainability – economy, environment and society – in an integrated product assessment tool.
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.