BASF Report 2021

Our Management Systems

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

BASF is actively involved in the International Council of Chemical Associations’ global Responsible Care® initiative. We reaffirmed our commitment to the guiding principles of the initiative and the Responsible Care® Global Charter in 2021. Our Responsible Care Management System comprises the global directives, standards and procedures for environmental protection, health and safety (EHS). At the same time, our Quality Management System ensures the high quality of our products, processes and services, and enables our employees to best meet our customers’ needs.

At a glance

143 audits

to monitor performance and progress

€239 million

invested in environmental protection plants and facilities

  • Global EHS guidelines and standards
  • Quality management with a focus on customer satisfaction
  • Risk-based site audits

Responsible Care Management System

Our EHS management approach covers the different stages of our value chain – from the transportation of raw materials to production at our plants, activities at our sites and warehouses, and distribution of our products down to our customers’ application of our products. The Environmental Protection, Health & Safety unit in the Corporate Center defines Group-wide management and control systems and monitors compliance with internal requirements and legal regulations, while the sites and legal entities implement these requirements locally. Our global network ensures that information and insights are shared across the BASF Group on an ongoing basis. Our policies and requirements are continuously updated. We also maintain dialog with government institutions, associations and international organizations for this reason. 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 potential 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.

Quality Management System

Our Quality Management System comprises our EHSQ policy as well as further standards, guidelines and processes for quality management along the value chain. Our Quality Management System is risk-based, process-oriented and focused on customer satisfaction. Its mandatory elements are set out in a Corporate Requirement. These include core processes such as nonconformance management, change management and the performance of internal audits. Local implementation of the requirements is the responsibility of our business units and sites.

Responsible Care audits

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. We have defined our regulations for Responsible Care audits in a global Corporate Requirement.

Newly acquired sites and companies are audited after the integration phase is complete, generally within one to two years depending on complexity and size.

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.

In the BASF Group in 2021, 143 environmental and safety audits were conducted at 71 sites (2020: 112 audits at 60 sites). The sites were audited based on their individual risk profile. Auditing of the sites acquired from Solvay could not start in late 2021 as planned due to the coronavirus pandemic. These audits will be performed in 2022.

In 2021, 13 sites were audited on occupational medicine and health protection (2020: 1). Online audits were conducted for 10 of these sites. These remote audits focused on documented processes and management systems.

External certification

We pursue a decentralized certification approach for our business units and subsidiaries. This takes into account local needs, internal and legal requirements, and our customers’ requirements.

Our Responsible Care audit system complies with the ISO 19011 standard and is certified according to ISO 9001. Worldwide, 130 BASF production sites are certified in accordance with ISO 14001 and EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) (2020: 128). In addition, 54 sites worldwide are certified in accordance with OHSAS 18001 or ISO 45001 (2020: 51). Several BASF sites also have an ISO 17020 accredited inspection body for user inspection or an ISO 17025 accredited analytical laboratory for environmental emissions analyses.

Based on our customers’ requirements, quality management at our production sites is generally certified according to external international standards such as ISO 9001, GMP, FAMI QS or IATF 16949.

Costs and provisions

We continuously invest in reducing the impact of our actions on the environment. We also establish appropriate provisions for environmental protection measures and the remediation of active and former sites.

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:

Responsible Care®
Registered trademark of the European Chemical Industry Council
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.