Steering Our Product Portfolio
We take advantage of business opportunities by offering our customers innovative products and solutions that support their sustainability goals. We ensure that the business units follow standard processes to evaluate and take into account relevant sustainability criteria when they develop and implement strategies, research projects and innovation processes.
Accelerator products make a substantial sustainability contribution in the value chain. These include catalysts that reduce emissions to the environment, biodegradable mulch films for agricultural applications, and high-performance insulation materials for higher energy savings and reduced material use in building construction.
Based on our corporate strategy, we have set ourselves a global target: We aim to make sustainability an even greater part of our innovation power and achieve €22 billion in Accelerator sales by 2025. We met this target already in 2021. Consequently, we will update our product portfolio steering target over the course of 2022.
A significant steering tool for the product portfolio, based on the sustainability performance of our products, is the Sustainable Solution Steering method. It considers our products’ applications in various markets and customer industries. Transparently classifying our products on the basis of their contribution to sustainability enables us to systematically improve them. We review the categorization of the portfolio at least every four years. This includes analyzing the portfolio in workshops.
If, during reassessment of our portfolio, we identify products with significant sustainability concerns, we classify these as “challenged.” We develop and systematically implement action plans for all products in this category. These include research projects and reformulations to optimize products, or even replacing the product with an alternative. To systematically align our portfolio with contributions to sustainability, in 2018 we started phasing out all Challenged products within five years of their initial classification at the latest. We strive to offer products that make a greater contribution to sustainability in their area of application to live up to our own commitments and meet our customers’ demands. That is why an adapted version of our Sustainable Solution Steering method is used in areas such as our research and development pipeline, and in merger and acquisition projects. The results and any measures required are part of our business strategies.
By the end of the 2021 business year, we had evaluated 98.7% of the relevant portfolio1 (2020: 98.4%). This refers to the BASF Group’s sales from products in its strategic portfolio to third parties in the business year concerned. By the end of 2021, sustainability analyses and assessments had been conducted for more than 56,000 specific product applications (2020: >57,000), accounting for €71 billion in sales (2020: €54.1 billion).
In 2021, we generated sales of €24.1 billion with Accelerator products (2020: €16.7 billion) – already reaching our target for 2025. Accelerator products account for 33.9% of the assessed relevant portfolio. Sales of Accelerator products rose by 44.3% compared with the previous year. This is primarily attributable to the positive development of Accelerator sales in the Surface Technologies and Chemicals segments. Performer products account for 54.9%, Transitioner products for 11.1% and Challenged products for 0.1% of the solutions assessed.
New market requirements arise as a result of the continuous development of new product solutions in the industry or changing regulatory frameworks. This has an effect on the comparative assessment, which is why we regularly reassess our product portfolio.
1 The definition of the relevant portfolio and further information can be found in the Sustainable Solution Steering manual at basf.com/en/sustainable-solution-steering