Environment and safety
At BASF, we never compromise on safety. This principle is anchored in our strategy and underlines our philosophy in operating our own facilities and dealing with third parties. Environmental protection, health and safety (EHS) as well as security, communication, and energy efficiency are embedded in our global Responsible Care® policy, which is applied to operations via our Responsible Care Management System (RCMS). This policy and the RCMS are based on BASF’s strategy and corporate guidelines and are binding for the whole BASF Group. Just as the company applies stringent standards to its own operations, we demand the same high standards of our contractors and suppliers. We choose carriers, service providers and suppliers not just on the basis of price, but also based on their performance in environmental and social responsibility.
Multiple BASF sites throughout Greater China have been certified in accordance with ISO 14001, which sets out the criteria for environmental management systems. BASF additionally conducts internal audits in compliance with the standards of ISO 19011 (for management systems) and OHSAS 18001 (for occupational health and safety systems), as well as short-notice or unannounced audits for production plants with medium to high hazard potential.
- Continuous enhancement of process safety management
- Regular assessment of safety systems
From planning, construction and operation of production facilities, BASF continues to implement global process safety standards and improve measures for incident prevention at all its plants across Greater China.
Within its global framework for safety in construction and operations, as well as protection of people and the environment, BASF experts have developed a plan for every plant by considering the key aspects of safety, health and environmental protection – from conception to startup – which stipulates specific protection measures of each aspect. In 2017, the management system was reviewed at all sites in Greater China.
To maintain the highest level of safety at all its plants across their entire life cycle, BASF reviews the implementation of the protection plan in all facilities at regular intervals by taking into account the specific hazard potentials. The assessment is made periodically through in-depth audits, which leads to upgrades of the safety concept and measures where necessary. In 2017, following the global requirements, and based on hazard potential, plants in Greater China conducted revalidation and clean sheet review processes.
With focus on the maintenance, repair and operation of plants, BASF continues to update the catalog of best practices for incident prevention and shares it with all plants in Greater China.
BASF uses the number of process safety incidents per one million working hours as a key performance indicator, following to a large extent the definition set by the European Chemical Industry Council. BASF continuously improves its process safety in Greater China through continuous improvement of investigating every incident in detail, analyzing root causes and using the findings to derive suitable measures. We have set ourselves the global goal of reducing process safety incidents to a rate of no more than 0.5 per one million working hours by 20251.
For 2018, BASF will adapt its reporting on accidents and process safety incidents to the recommendations of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) and the German Chemicals Industry Association (VCI). To implement these recommendations, we will have to convert our targets. Consequently, our goal from 2018 onward is to reduce occupational and process safety incidents to a rate of no more than 0.1 per 200,000 working hours by 2025 (previous goal: a rate of no more than 0.5 incidents per one million working hours).
- Extensive chemical safety information for customers
- Cooperate with industry associations to promote product stewardship
We review the safety of our products from research and development through production and all the way to our customer applications. We work continuously to ensure that our products pose no risk to people or the environment when they are used responsibly and in the manner intended.
BASF provides extensive information on all chemical products to customers. An example is the safety data sheet in around 40 languages, including Chinese, supported by a global database of updated environmental, health and safety data for its substances and products. We also incorporate the latest regulatory requirements in China in our product safety system to ensure our Chinese safety data sheets and product safety labels are in compliance with China’s regulatory framework.
Working closely with industry associations, BASF advocates product stewardship among both local and multinational companies in Greater China. We promote voluntary commitment to preventing chemical misuse in non-industrial applications among Chinese manufacturers, together with the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF). As core members of CPCIF and Association of International Chemical Manufacturers (AICM), BASF hosted an enhancement training session on ICCA Product Stewardship Code, contributed to a survey on the relevant capacity and awareness of domestic companies and supported the local associations on planning the promotion of the Code. BASF was also involved in workshops and trainings on ICCA’s Global Product Strategy in Greater China, to support the improvement of safe chemical management.
- Regular emergency drills and fire prevention inspections
- Best practice sharing with industry associations
BASF strives to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency preparedness and response at all sites along the entire supply chain in Greater China. We undertake fire prevention inspections at all sites and regularly review emergency response plans as well as holding emergency drills. BASF tailors career development paths for members of the emergency response team to the specific needs of each site. In 2017, a fire brigade at one of BASF’s sites in Shanghai became the first in the city to pilot the transformation from a military unit to a corporate entity.
BASF continues to cooperate with Ministry of Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of China (MEM)1, CPCIF and AICM to share best practices in emergency response. We played a leading role in organizing a workshop on emergency response management with CPCIF and a workshop on community awareness with AICM. Furthermore, BASF has supported MEM in setting up the International Organization of Emergency Rescue for Dangerous Chemical Accidents.
Newly established in 2018, the Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) takes over the responsibilities of the former State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS). SAWS was dissolved.
- Standardized requirements for security
- Enhanced risk awareness among employees
BASF protects its employees, sites and company knowledge against third-party interference by implementing and reviewing security measures within the framework of its uniform standards supported by a global network of information protection officers.
For its investment projects, BASF performs comprehensive analyses of potential risks and defines protection measures accordingly. In 2017, we standardized the use of security services in Greater China.
BASF trains its employees to be aware of protecting company information and knowledge. In order to ensure the compliance with our processes of protecting sensitive information, we have further defined mandatory requirements and reviewed the implementation through audits. In 2017, BASF published standardized group-wide recommendations for the protection of information and knowledge in Greater China.
BASF prepares its employees with appropriate protection measures prior to and during their travel in countries with elevated security risks. Benefiting from a globally standardized travel research system, we can locate employees more quickly and accurately in the affected regions in case of a major incident. BASF also organizes discussions and training sessions with crisis scenarios for site and country management.
Aspects of human rights related to site security, such as the right to liberty and security of person, are a component of the global qualification requirements of BASF’s security personnel. Respect for human rights is a mandatory element of any contract with BASF’s service providers active in Greater China.
- Global guidelines and regular assessment for transportation of raw materials, especially dangerous goods
- Safety monitoring of logistics service providers
From delivery of raw materials, storage and distribution of chemical products to customers, to transportation of waste from sites to disposal facilities, BASF ensures transportation and distribution safety through strict globally standardized regulations and measures at all stages.
Through regular assessment of the transportation and storage for raw materials with high hazard potential, we use the global guidelines of the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC). Some of our global guidelines for transportation of dangerous goods even go beyond national and international requirements.
To minimize risks throughout the entire process of transportation, BASF stipulates worldwide requirements for its logistics service providers (LSPs) and assesses them in terms of safety and quality. We evaluated several dozen LSPs in 2017 across Greater China, via our own evaluation and monitoring tools as well as internationally approved schemes.
BASF systematically implements measures to improve transportation safety and reports in particular on spillages of dangerous goods that significantly impact the environment.
- Sustainable water management with mandatory protection plans
- Sharp reduction of COD emissions to water
Water is of fundamental importance in chemical production. It is used as a coolant, solvent and cleaning agent, as well as to produce chemicals. BASF is committed to its responsible use along the entire value chain and especially in its production sites’ water catchment areas. To this end, we set global goals of sustainable water management.
Guided by a group directive with globally applicable standards, BASF sites in Greater China are exploring measures of sustainable water management, especially in water stressed areas. Since its roll-out in 2014, the European Water Stewardship (EWS) Project has been completed at sites in water stressed areas throughout Greater China. These best practices were shared during a regional environmental protection workshop in Shanghai. In 2017, BASF newly introduced sustainable water management at several sites in China.
In order to identify the potential risk of unanticipated wastewater emissions and prevent the pollution of surface or groundwater, BASF has developed mandatory water protection plans for its sites by evaluating wastewater risk, drawing up monitoring approaches and auditing the implementation and compliance of these measures. Several sites in Greater China applied online monitoring systems for wastewater to catch relevant pollutants more quickly.
Despite the expansion of production facilities in 2017, emission of organic substances (COD) decreased sharply to 120 metric tons (2016: 170 metric tons). Nitrogen increased to 10 metric tons (2016: 9 metric tons) and heavy metals remained unchanged at 0.1 metric tons (2016: 0.1 metric tons). The decrease of COD was mainly due to process optimization measures at several sites in Greater China. In Shanghai, one site took measures to recycle its high-COD condensation wastewater, while another optimized its spray dryer ventilation process to prevent the emissions of residual powder with high level of COD into wastewater. A site in Jiangsu Province optimized the aeration and settlement time of its wastewater treatment plant, and consequently, created a significant improvement in the efficiency of COD removal. At another site in Jiangsu, COD in the process wastewater were absorbed by a molecular sieve, resulting in lower cost for incineration process. Moreover, external wastewater treatment plants also raised their efficiency of COD reduction.
BASF strives to gradually reduce water consumption and reuse as much as possible. In 2017, BASF used 8.1 million cubic meters of water in Greater China (2016: 7.2 million cubic meters). The increase of water used for production mainly resulted from higher production levels and new projects at several sites in Jiangsu Province and Shanghai. Water saving measures were carried out at several BASF sites in Greater China, including the increased reuse of rain water and wastewater from scrubber tower, chilling tower and steam condensate at certain sites in Shanghai.
BASF uses most of the water for cooling purposes and recirculates water as much as possible. Most BASF sites worldwide have cooling water recirculation facilities that allow water to be reused several times and reduce the temperature of used cooling water before it is discharged back into a waterbody. For BASF in Greater China, the water for cooling amounted to 498 million cubic meters in 2017 (2016: 477 million cubic meters). This increase mainly resulted from the new cooling water tower systems in one site in Shanghai and the high capacity of cooling system at several sites in Jiangsu Province.
- Slight increase of waste volume
- Regular audits of external waste disposal companies
BASF explores ways of waste recycling as much as possible. If waste is unavoidable, we will analyze the possibility of recycling or energy recovery for a particular type of waste. If no recovery options are available, we dispose of waste in a correct and environmentally responsible manner.
In 2017, the volume of waste from BASF’s operations in Greater China increased to 83,006 metric tons (2016: 73,162 metric tons) due to high production levels. The recovery rate was 67% (2016: 72%), and the total amount of recovered waste increased. Several sites in Shanghai and Jiangsu reduced waste or liquid residue through process optimization, while two sites in Guangdong and Jiangsu reused waste oil in production. At most sites, waste packaging was recycled after careful re-classification. One site in Taiwan recovered flushing materials to reduce waste generation.
BASF regularly carries out audits to inspect external waste disposal companies, ensuring that hazardous waste in particular is properly disposed of. In this way, we are also contributing to preventive soil protection and preventing today’s waste from becoming tomorrow’s contamination. BASF has closely monitored site soil and groundwater status in Greater China and has documented the information in a global database since 2013.
- Greenhouse gas emissions stable
- Sharp decrease in emissions to air
In 2017, emissions of greenhouse gases from BASF’s chemical operations in Greater China slightly increased to 1.193 million metric tons (2016: 1.192 million metric), mainly resulting from high production levels1. In 2017, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, several sites saved energy consumption through process optimization, such as reuse and recycling of waste heat from condensate and adjustment of dryer temperature. Further measures are underway, including the efficiency improvement of de-N2O catalyst and upgrading of high energy consumption systems.
Aside from greenhouse gas emissions, BASF also measures emissions of other air pollutants, includin inorganic compounds such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) or ammonia as well as dust or non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs). In 2017, absolute emissions of air pollutants from BASF’s chemical operations in Greater China decreased sharply, to 306 metric tons (2016: 359 metric tons). This was mainly the result of the reduction of tail gas emissions in one Shanghai site through process optimization. In addition, several sites also upgraded NMVOC treatment facilities to reduce VOC emissions to meet the ever-stringent emission standards in China. For example, one site in Shanghai refreshed active carbon more frequently to improve the NMVOC removal efficiency. For years, some sites in Shanghai and Jiangsu have implemented a leakage detection and repair program to significantly decrease fugitive NMVOC emissions. One Shanghai site replaced its old diesel boiler with an electric one to thoroughly prevent emissions.
In this report, the amounts of greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 and 2016 have been corrected, due to updated data for Nitrous Oxide (N2O) reporting from one site.
- Energy consumption stable despite high production levels
- Improvement measures for energy efficiency
In 2017, energy consumption at BASF in Greater China remained stable despite high production levels. Electricity consumption decreased to 706,897 megawatt hours (MWh) (2016: 733,384 MWh) and fuel consumption for central energy supply totaled 892,587 MWh (2016: 890,191 MWh). Steam consumption increased slightly, to 3,272,701 metric tons (2016: 3,266,606 metric tons).
Various BASF sites in Greater China undertook efforts to improve energy efficiency in 2017. In Shanghai, one site optimized its spray dryer to save natural gas consumption, while another site renovated the insulation of its chilling system to reduce electricity consumption. Several sites in Greater China also made considerable progress in recycling residual heat and saving steam. Through optimization of the fluid bed dryer process, one site in Jiangsu reduced the consumption of liquefied petroleum gas. In Taiwan, one site further optimized its cooling, chilling and compressed air supply system to reduce electricity consumption, and fine-tuned its boiler control to save natural gas consumption. Meanwhile, several sites in Guangdong, Xinjiang and Shanghai upgraded their lighting, pumps, motors, air compressors with low energy consumption models.
In an energy-intensive industry, BASF has set the goal of introducing certified energy management systems (DIN EN ISO 50001) at all relevant production sites by 2020. Since starting in 2016, several sites in Greater China have already been ISO 50001 certified. All energy efficiency measures are recorded and analyzed in a global database and made available as best practices for other sites worldwide.
In Greater China, BASF is committed to continuously reducing carbon emissions through advanced technology and improvements in production process and energy optimization. Six BASF sites in Shanghai have been actively participating in the pilot carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS) and completed their obligations by surrendering their 2016 certificates. We also worked closely with industry associations such as the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF) and the Association of International Chemical Manufacturers (AICM) to conduct dialog with authorities and prepare for the upcoming national ETS.
- Additional tools complement the Responsible Care system
- Supporting Chinese chemical societies in the promotion of Responsible Care
Comprising the global rules, standards and procedures for safety, security, health and environmental protection, BASF continues to improve its Responsible Care Management System by regular audits, updates of policies and requirements, assessment of potential risks, and promoting Responsible Care among its value chain partners in Greater China.
In addition, BASF has introduced tools to its value chain partners to further extend the standards. These include self-assessment for continuous improvement, gate checks for all trucks before entering chemical production and storage facilities, and the Road Safety & Quality Assessment System for safe management of logistics transport service providers.
BASF actively supports Chinese chemical associations in promoting Responsible Care. As an active member of the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF) since 2013, we have contributed to regulatory advocacy, communication and emergency response, while furthering our cooperation with China’s Transport Accident Information and Emergency Response System. In 2017, as the leading member of emergency working group of the CPCIF Responsible Care committee, BASF organized an emergency response workshop in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province and at the annual conference of CPCIF’s Responsible Care committee. BASF also chaired the emergency response sub-committee of AICM, helping to upgrade AICM’s questionnaire and assessment database, which were completed in 2017. In partnership with the Ministry of Emergency Management of the People’s Republic of China (MEM) and as a member of the Shanghai Municipal Dangerous Goods Chemical Rescue team, BASF is contributing to the establishment of the International Organization of Emergency Rescue for Dangerous Chemical Accidents and assigned an expert to support the training program for dangerous goods chemical rescue held by MEM in 2017. To promote safety in storage and transportation of dangerous goods, BASF shared best practices at the Global Summit on Chemical Safety and Security (CHEMSS) in Shanghai as well as in various forums. BASF top management played an active role at CHEMSS in September 2017 in Shanghai, sharing information on BASF’s safety practices to help ensure safety performance not only at BASF but in the chemical industry as a whole, especially in China.
BASF provided support to the Ministry of Transport for the revision and upgrade of JT/T 671 “Regulations concerning road transportation of dangerous goods” in 2017. We have also been working with the National Road Transport Service Alliance for Dangerous Goods and other companies to develop the new “Chemical road transportation safety assessment system” in China since 2017, based on guidelines of the European Chemical Industry Council as well as Chinese standards and regulatory requirements.
These efforts have been recognized throughout the country. BASF Crop Protection (Jiangsu) Co. Ltd. was honored as a Green Credit Company in 2017 by the local government. Several sites in Shanghai received the Award of Advanced Enterprise for outstanding performance in safety, environment, fire-fighting and security. For its overall performance in promoting Responsible Care, BASF was acknowledged by AICM as the winner of the 2017 AICM Responsible Care Chairman Award.
In Taiwan, the BASF site in Kuanyin was awarded by the local labor bureau for its achievement in promoting Responsible Care.