Sustainable Solution Steering

Analyzing our products' contributions to the sustainability needs of our customers' value chains

Society and our customers have been taking a greater interest in the business contribution to sustainability over the past decades. We are committed to understand these evolving expectations, so we might seize opportunities as well as minimize risks.  

Why – Objective

Our customers can expect from BASF the consistent and innovative solutions they have always received. At the same time, they are looking to contribute to a more sustainable future where being environmentally and socially responsible goes hand in hand with running a profitable business. Therefore, BASF has embedded sustainability in its corporate purpose: “We create chemistry for a sustainable future.” This ambition is directly linked to a number of business factors:

  • Growing customer needs to differentiate with sustainability
  • New regulations and standards in value chains
  • Changing societal and business environments prompting demand for sustainable products


We therefore cooperate with our customers in creating and driving more sustainable solutions, which makes good business sense for both.

How – Evaluation of each solution

By identifying key drivers and issues in our customers’ industries, we are able to assess the sustainability contribution of each of our products in its specific application.

With our approach we evaluate the entire value chain considering industry- and region-specific views in our markets. We strive to achieve a balance between the three dimensions of sustainability:

  • Economy: e.g. potential cost savings for customers through the use of our products
  • Environment: e.g. ensuring standards are met, developing environmentally sound solutions
  • Society: e.g. enhancing safety in production, use or end-of-life, stakeholder perception of solutions

Finally each solution is assigned to one of four categories (Accelerator, Performer, Transitioner, Challenged) according to its contribution to sustainability. Although different industries vary in their specific needs, we are able to cluster our Accelerator solutions into predefined universal sustainability benefits (e.g. resource efficiency).

Steering the portfolio

This detailed analysis and transparent classification allow us to both improve individual solutions and steer the entire portfolio. It also enables further integration of sustainability into our strategic, R&D and customer support processes. The goals are:

  • Increase our portfolio of innovative and sustainable solutions making customers more successful
  • Reduced environmental impact along the value chain, contributing to improved quality of life
  • Better mitigation of risks associated with sustainability


All of this helps us to ensure long-term business success – an integral part of our corporate strategy.

The whole approach has been assured by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG Germany (PwC).

Accelerators are solutions make a substantial sustainability contribution in the value chain. Therefore, we have set ourselves an ambitious goal: we will considerably increase the sales of Accelerator solutions to €22 billion by 2025 (2018: €15 billion). This target reflects our strong commitment to further drive innovation beyond today’s state of the art.

Products that are classified as Challenged because they do not fulfill our sustainability criteria will be phased out within five years at the latest.

A more sustainable portfolio through Sustainable Solution Steering

BASF releases the manual of its Sustainable Solution Steering method to help third parties measure their products’ contribution to sustainability within their various markets and industries and to increase this contribution through targeted steps. The manual describes the Sustainable Solution Steering method in detail and explains how BASF systematically reviewed and evaluated the sustainability aspects of all relevant product applications in its portfolio. BioMar is one of BASFs customers who already applied the method successfully.

Video: “How our customers benefit from Sustainable Solution Steering”

Some relevant numbers

- 60,000 solutions in scope
- 2,300 experts involved worldwide
~ 13,000 Accelerator solutions, with
> €15.5 billion in sales in 2017
> 60% of R&D budget spent on Accelerator projects in 2017
- 27.3% of BASF products analyzed (by sales) today already make a particular contribution to sustainability

Examples for Accelerator Solutions


BASF offers a broad range of Accelerators for the automotive industry:

  • Lightweight plastic materials to minimize the weight of cars, which results in higher fuel efficiency
  • Catalysts to decrease harmful exhaust emissions, thereby improving air quality
  • Integrated processes shorten the coating process by eliminating the primer and a baking step, thus showing clear advantages in energy consumption, greenhouse gases and VOC emissions
  • Innovative fuel additive packages to keep engines valves clean, thus reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions


Packaging helps to minimize food losses and lengthen shelf life.

BASF is working constantly to improve the capacity of its solutions to protect goods and to enhance the environmental footprint of packaging:

  • Polyamide films for flexible packaging enable less material use compared to rigid packaging
  • Water-based resins for flexible printing reduce air emissions compared to solvent-based technologies
  • Bio-based or compostable materials allow for improved environmental performance in paper and plastic packaging