Where we are: The 2017 BASF corporate carbon footprint

BASF has published a comprehensive corporate carbon footprint since 2008, the only industrial enterprise worldwide to do so. The annually updated balance gives us pointers on where the influencing factors for preventing greenhouse gas emissions are. So we can check whether we are on the right track for meeting our goals to reduce greenhouse gases.

The basis of our climate protection activities is comprehensive emissions reporting, for which we conduct two separate analyses:

  • We determine which products in our portfolio contribute towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For these climate protection products, we calculate by how many metric tons of CO2 the emissions are reduced in comparison to an alternative technology on the market. The calculation of avoided greenhouse gas emissions is based on the chemical industry standard of the ICCA and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) published in 2013. The basis for the calculations is individual lifecycle analyses (LCAs) that we conduct using BASF’s proven eco-efficiency analysis method.
  • We consider the whole BASF value chain and determine how many emissions are produced by which activity, from the supply of raw materials and precursors via our own production and the use of the end products we produce through to disposal of all our products at the end of their life. The analysis strictly adheres to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol standards and the standard for the chemical industry specific to the sector published in 2013; we were closely involved in the development of this.

Prevention of greenhouse gas emissions through the use of BASF products

The use of BASF products for climate protection purchased in 2017 is reducing our customers’ emissions from 990 to 420 million metric tons of CO2, thus preventing 570 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. Every product makes an individual contribution in the value chain. Assessing the value chains in terms of BASF’s economic share of the respective climate protection product leads to the conclusion that on average, 6% of the emissions avoided were attributable to BASF in 2017. We have compiled further information on our approach for calculating avoided emissions and the results of the assessment in an overview of the approach as well as two case studies (Green Sense® Concrete Solution, External Thermal Insulation Composite System).

Greenhouse gas emissions along the BASF value chain

Balancing sets out three emission ranges (scopes):

  • Scope 1 records direct CO2 emissions. They come from emission sources at BASF sites and include for example our own production plants and plants for generating power and steam.
  • Scope 2 relates to indirect CO2 emissions produced by our suppliers in generating energy that we then purchase for our production.
  • Scope 3 comprises all other CO2 emissions produced along the value chain (e.g. with suppliers, in the use phase of the products, in disposal and in transport). These emissions are recorded in 15 different categories.

The figure below summarizes the emissions along the value chain for 2017 – emissions are given in million metric tons of CO2 equivalents, categories within Scope 3 are shown in parentheses. Emissions in BASF production include Scope 1 and Scope 2 (location-based approach).

CO2 emissions in BASF production (GHG Protocol Scopes 1 & 2)

In accordance with the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting Standard, we report Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions separately. Regarding Scope 1 emissions resulting from the generation of energy, we also differentiate between emissions from energy production for our own consumption and emissions from energy production for sale to third parties. For Scope 2, we consider the location-based approach as well as the market-based approach.

We report on all emissions from our fully consolidated companies’ production sites worldwide. The emissions of consolidated joint operations are included pro rata, based on our stake. The table shows the development of the BASF Group’s greenhouse gas emissions since 2002.

BASF operations including Oil & Gas 2002 2016 2017

Scope 12


CO2 (carbon dioxide)

14.634 16.215 16.813

N2O (nitrous oxide)3

6.407 0.586 0.747

CH4 (methane)

0.244 0.045 0.048

HFC (hydrofluorocarbons)

0.061 0.087 0.081

SF6 (sulfur hexafluoride)

0 0 0

Scope 2 (location-based)



5.243 3.884 3.796
Total 26.589 20.817 21.485
Sale of energy to third parties (Scope 1)4      
CO2 0.347 1.161 1.086
Total 26.936 21.978 22.571
Scope 2 (market-based)      
CO2   4.506 4.517
1 BASF reports separately on direct and indirect emissions from the purchase of energy. Scope 1 emissions encompass both direct emissions from production and generation of steam and electricity, as well as direct emissions from the generation of steam and electricity for sale. Scope 2 emissions comprise indirect emissions from the purchase of energy for BASF’s use.
2 Emissions of N2O, CH4, HFC and SF6 have been translated into CO2 emissions using the Global Warming Potential, or GWP, factor. GWP factors are based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1995 (2002 emissions) and IPCC 2007, errata table 2012 (2016 and 2017 emissions). HFC (hydrofluorocarbons) are calculated using the GWP factors of the individual components.
3 The 2016 figure has been adjusted due to updated data.
4 Includes sale to BASF Group companies; as a result, emissions reported under Scope 2 can be reported again in some cases.

CO2 emissions from the value chain (GHG Protocol Scope 3)

Our list of Scope 3 emissions is based on the GHG Protocol Scope 3 Standard (Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard). We have checked all 15 categories in this standard for relevance and report the emissions for the 12 relevant categories.

Our Group companies are then consolidated just as in our financial reporting, the exception being the determination of emissions in Scope 3 categories 3, 5 and 9, where we have adopted the same approach as in the reporting for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

Category GHG Emissions
[CO2 equivalents in millions of tons]
1 Purchased goods and services


2 Capital goods


3 Fuel- and energy-related activities


4 Upstream transportation and distribution


5 Waste generated in operations


6 Business travel


7 Employee commuting


8 Upstream leased assets


9 Downstream transportation and distribution


10 Processing of Sold Products


11 Use of sold products


12 End-of-life treatment of sold products


13 Downstream leased assets


14 Franchises

Not relevant3

15 Investments


1 For a chemicals company at the beginning of the value chain, such as BASF, the effort to determine Scope 3 emissions from the further processing of our products (Category 11 Processing of Sold Products) is not reasonable.
2 Expert estimate. The activities of BASF as a lessee account for less than 20% of our activities in the area of Leased Assets Upstream (Category 8).
3 BASF does not engage in franchising activities.

We have summarized the procedure and assumptions in the calculation of emissions in the named categories in our emission report based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standards template.