More than one billion people have escaped from extreme poverty since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, four billion people – the majority of the world’s population – still live on low incomes. Furthermore, they will account for the largest share of the global population growth by 2050. Worldwide, they strive to improve their quality of life. They aim to obtain better employment and to afford better food, housing, and hygiene – for themselves as well as for future generations.
All sectors of society can empower low-income people to achieve their aims. This includes the state and civil society, but also the corporate sector as part of society. By integrating them into their value chains as customers, distributors, and suppliers, companies can create a positive impact on their lives. Opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship will improve their livelihoods. Better access to affordable products will meet their basic needs. For companies, these are also opportunities for innovation and growth.
As a globally operating chemical company, BASF is well positioned to fulfill this role. Our broad market access and the development of our portfolio towards downstream industries give us the chance to create a positive impact on the daily lives of millions of low-income people throughout the world. By taking this chance, we also create opportunities to develop new business and to strengthen our supply chain. This contributes to our long-term success.
Over the past decade, BASF has earned a track record of larger projects that succeeded in creating a positive social impact, while creating value for our business. The close cooperation with civil society, the public sector, and partners along our value chain have been key to fostering success.
The projects have provided a rich learning experience that have enabled us to take the next step with our corporate program Starting Ventures. Through innovative business models and cross-sector partnerships, the projects develop business solutions that address people with low incomes throughout the world. Starting Ventures thereby contributes to our long-term success, while empowering people with low incomes to achieve a better quality of life.
The corporate program Starting Ventures provides resources to our business units to explore these new means of entrepreneurship. Furthermore, the program facilitates sharing of experience and expertise across the entire organization. The selection of project ideas by a central steering committee is based on criteria in three areas: social impact, innovative business models, and business potential. The UN Sustainable Developments Goals serve as the basis for the criteria for social impact.
Starting Ventures is our way to include people in the economy for mutual benefit, thereby creating long-term business value and positive social impact. Both of these goals will consequently reinforce each other and enable us to continuously scale up our activities: the higher the contribution to our long-term success, the higher our positive impact on society.