December 11, 2017
How can we assess the contribution of businesses to society? And what kind of impact is linked with the products of a company? BASF was represented in various Sustainable Brands conferences this fall, giving an answer to these questions and discussing how to measure a company’s real contribution to a sustainable future.
The Sustainable Brands New Metrics conference in Philadelphia in November had its focus on valuing entirely new forms of social and environmental business impact with new metrics. Around 75 experts from different companies shared their knowledge and experience. Christian Heller, Senior Manager Corporate Sustainability Strategy at BASF, joined the Conference and shed light on how BASF developed an approach to measure the value propositions of business activities along the entire value chain: BASF’s Value-to-Society.
The decision to develop a corporate-wide approach to measure and value the ‘real’ value contribution of BASF to society was driven by the company’s corporate strategy and purpose: “We create chemistry for a sustainable future.”
“This approach has the potential to transform the way corporations assess their impacts on society and will influence the way they are running their businesses in the future,” states Christian Heller. It represents BASF’s first assessment of financial and pre-financial impacts of its business activities along the value chain including all three pillars of sustainability in a common unit: euro. By measuring the impact on the health and well-being of people, the results reflect the ‘real’ value contribution of BASF’s business activities: the benefits and costs created for society.
BASF also took part in the Sustainable Brands Conference in Copenhagen. This three-day event was filled with several discussions about how innovation and chemistry can enable a more sustainable future.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Living the good life” and Dirk Voeste, Vice President Sustainability Strategy at BASF, spoke about the Value-to-Society approach and how it can contribute to the wellbeing of the people. For example, with this approach BASF can calculate its impacts on society of a newly constructed production plant by applying different scenarios. Depending on the location, such an investment would create different impacts, for example by adding value through employment or contracted local construction services – and thereby contributing to a better quality of life.
The Value-to-Society approach creates a more comprehensive picture of BASF’s impacts along the value chain and demonstrates how chemistry is enabling sustainable growth. Managing and improving its impact is key to keeping and strengthening BASF’s license to operate and to fostering its license to grow. BASF provides its approach and learnings to current debates on the monetary value of the economic, environmental and social impact of business decisions. The company also shares its experience in networks and conferences like Sustainable Brands to support transparency and to contribute to the continued standardization and operationalization of impact valuation.