Frequently Asked Questions

We believe that the economy, environment and society are inextricably linked and interdependent. In all three areas we want to create value with our products, solutions and technologies. Already in 1994, we pledged our commitment to sustainability and since then, have systematically aligned our activities with the principles of sustainability. We want to further strengthen our position as a pioneer for sustainable solutions. We see sustainability as an integral part of our strategy as well as our targets, steering processes and business models. In doing so, our aim is to be a responsible and attractive partner for our customers, develop new growth areas and lay the foundation for the long-term success of our company. Our approach covers the entire value chain – from the responsible procurement of our raw materials and safety and resource efficiency in production to sustainable solutions for our customers.

Sustainability topics are discussed and managed by the Board of Executive Directors. When making its decisions, the Board of Executive Directors considers the results and recommendations from sustainability evaluations of business processes. It makes decisions with strategic relevance for the Group and monitors the implementation of strategic plans and target achievement. The Supervisory Board is regularly briefed on the development of individual sustainability topics by the Board of Executive Directors. 

In 2023, we updated our materiality analysis from 2022. The results do not only set the framework for reporting, but also help us to better understand the complex and sometimes diverging requirements and expectations that our stakeholders have of us and to define strategically relevant topics for our long-term business success. As part of the update in 2023, we reviewed whether new topics had been identified or the topics from the previous year had significantly changed in priority. We used a big data tool to review the relevance of sustainability topics for various stakeholder groups. We also included the expertise of external stakeholders, with whom we are in constant contact, and of employees in this review.

A sustainability aspect is considered material in the sense of double materiality if it has been classified as having both impact materiality and financial materiality. To assess impact materiality, both actual and potential positive and negative impacts of our company’s activities were considered along the value chain. To this end, the scale, scope and likelihood of occurrence of these impacts were assessed. For the analysis of financial materiality the topics were classified based on their potential financial impacts on BASF. Specifically, we analyzed how each sustainability aspect affects us geographically, for example, whether a local business unit or an entire region is affected, whether it impacts our production, our employees, the achievement of targets we have set for the BASF Group, or our reputation.

Identified key sustainability topics



  • Biodiversity
  • Circularity and resource efficiency
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Process safety1
  • Waste
  • Water and wastewater


  • Diversity, inclusion and equal work
  • Human rights and labor rights
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Product stewardship


  • Business ethics

1 The topic is presented separately here due to its allocation to the “Environmental” category, but it was considered in the materiality analysis as “Process safety, occupational health and safety.”

The topics from 2022 were confirmed, with two adjustments: “Occupational health and safety” was expanded to include “process safety.” “Plastic waste” was integrated into the overarching topic of “circularity and resource efficiency.” Based on this update, 11 topics were identified as material (see list) and confirmed by the BASF Sustainability Reporting and Controlling Committee. At the beginning of 2024, we will review the methodology of our materiality analysis again to ensure that it meets the requirements of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards, for example, in terms of double materiality.

We pursue a holistic sustainability approach that covers the entire value chain – from our suppliers and our own activities to our customers – and contributes to environmental, social and governance key sustainability topics. We have formulated commitments for our conduct and underpinned these with corresponding targets and measures. Based on our corporate strategy, we steer the global sustainability target for climate protection for 2030 via the most important key performance indicator (KPI) absolute CO2 emissions¹. To this end, we have strengthened the necessary steering mechanisms and control systems at Group level, for example with internal reviews. Our transition plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions includes the use of renewable energy, measures to avoid CO2 emissions and circular economy solutions. In addition to our target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050,² we are pursuing further targets for a more sustainable portfolio, for responsible procurement, resource-efficient and safe production, engaged employees and diversity.

Target includes Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions (excluding the sale of energy to third parties) as well as Scope 3.1 emissions. Greenhouse gases according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol are converted into CO2 equivalents (CO2e)

Target includes Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions (excluding the sale of energy to third parties) as well as Scope 3.1 emissions, excluding greenhouse gas emissions from BASF trading business. Greenhouse gases according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol are converted into CO2 equivalents (CO2e).

Since 2007, BASF publishes an integrated report combining economic, environ­mental and social performance. Using specific examples, we illustrate how sustainability contributes to BASF’s success and how we as a company create value for our employees, shareholders, business partners, neighbors and the public.

A significant steering tool for the product portfolio, based on the sustainability performance of our products, is TripleS. In 2022, we updated this method in order to further steer our product portfolio to transformation topics such as climate change and energy, resource efficiency and circular economy. With this update we have integrated the TripleS evaluation even more deeply into the assessment of our R&D development processes, also considering the requirements formulated within the Safe and Sustainable by Design framework by the E.U. Commission. Within the scope of the further development of our method, in 2023 we began to reassess the products in the relevant portfolio1 with regard to their applications and regional aspects. As a result, we categorize our product portfolio into five segments, taking sustainability-related aspects into account: Pioneer, Contributor, Standard, Monitored and Challenged (see graphic). The reassessment will be completed in 2024. We will take regulatory changes into account if they have a material impact on our portfolio and therefore also on our segmentation. The allocations by segment and sales are therefore provisional.

TripleS (Sustainable Solution Steering)a

a Sales shares based on the analysis of the relevant portfolio carried out by the end of 2023.1 The provisional segmentation has not been audited by KPMG. The allocation to the segments is provisional, as the reassessment of our portfolios has not yet been completed.

The new KPI sales of Sustainable-Future Solutions summarizes the total sales of Pioneer and Contributor products. Products allocated to these segments make a positive sustainability contribution in the value chain. For example, polyurethane catalysts, which reduce energy consumption and material use, and high-performance insulation materials, which save energy for end users. In line with our corporate strategy, we have set ourselves the target of making sustainability an even greater part of our innovative power. By 2030, more than 50% of BASF’s sales relevant to TripleS1 are to be attributable to Sustainable-Future Solutions (2023: 41.4%). With TripleS, we are steering our product portfolio and our research and development units toward sustainable solutions. According to our updated methodology, in 2023, around €1 billion of our annual expenditure on research and development contributed to potential Sustainable-Future Solutions.

If, during the reassessment of our portfolio, we identify products with sustainability concerns, we classify them either as “Monitored,” or in case of significant concerns, as “Challenged,” as we did in the past. A description of possible measures is mandatory for both categories. In the case of Challenged products, we develop our own action plans. These include research projects and reformulations to optimize products or replacing the product with an alternative. To systematically align our portfolio with contributions to sustainability, we are generally phasing out all Challenged products within five years of their initial classification.

Of BASF’s €68.9 billion in sales in 2023, €55.5 billion is relevant for the TripleS evaluation. We have analyzed €52.8 billion of this as part of TripleS by the end of 2023.2 The relevant portfolio comprises BASF Group’s sales from sales products to third parties in the business year concerned. This excludes business that is not product-related, such as licenses or services.

1 The definition of the relevant portfolio and further information can be found in the TripleS manual at basf.com/en/sustainable-solution-steering
2 Sum of validated and provisional segmentation

In 2023, we covered 51% of our electricity demand with our own gas and steam turbines in highly efficient combined heat and power plants. Combined heat and power generation reduces the carbon footprint of our energy production and ensures that fuels are used as efficiently as possible: For instance, compared with separate methods of generating steam and electricity, we saved 10.8 million MWh of fossil fuels and avoided 2.2 million metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2023.1 To achieve the highest possible energy yield with the lowest possible greenhouse gas emissions, we continuously optimize our combined heat and power plants. In 2023, internally generated power in the BASF Group had a carbon footprint of around 0.26 metric tons of CO2 per MWh of electricity and was below the national grid factor at most BASF sites.

The Verbund system is also key to carbon-optimized energy supply at our sites. It helps us realize synergies and manage value chains in a resource-efficient way. For example, waste heat from one plant’s production process is used as energy in other plants. The Verbund saved us around 17.3 million MWh in 2023, which translates to 3.5 million metric tons less CO2 released into the atmosphere.1  With combined power and steam generation as well as our continuously optimized Energy Verbund, we were thus able to avoid a total of 5.7  million metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2023. We will continue to invest in the creation and optimization of Verbund structures and drive forward the consolidation of production at highly efficient sites. 

1 Calculation basis: electricity conversion efficiency of conventional power plants: 45%; steam generation efficiency 90%

In 2020, we developed a digital solution to make our product-specific greenhouse gas emissions more transparent and thereby determined the carbon footprints of around 45,000 sales products. These Product Carbon Footprints (PCFs) include all greenhouse gas emissions – from raw materials extraction to the finished product leaving the factory gates (“cradle-to-gate”). PCFs provide us with important information for assessing the climate impact of our products and guidance for implementing mitigation measures so that our customers can benefit from reduced CO2 emissions in the value chain.

The digital methodology we have developed to calculate PCFs meets general life cycle analysis standards such as ISO 14040, ISO 14044 and ISO 14067, as well as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Standard. In 2023, we received certification from TÜV Rheinland, which confirms that our calculation method and reporting fully comply with the requirements of Together for Sustainability (TfS). We make our automated PCF calculation approach available to interested industry players through partnerships. At the same time, we are involved in various initiatives to drive transparency, harmonization and standardization across the industry. This also took place as part of TfS, where we were involved in the creation of a uniform guideline for calculating the carbon footprint of products in the chemical industry. This will enable the climate impact of products to be directly compared and evaluated based on a standardized approach. A digital solution for sharing PCF data between companies is currently in the pilot phase and should be implemented in 2024.

Harmonizing the approaches used to calculate PCFs allows us to better manage greenhouse gas emissions that arise during the extraction of raw materials or the manufacture of precursors.

BASF has participated in the program established by the international organization CDP for reporting on data relevant to climate protection since 2004. CDP represents more than 740 investors with over $136 trillion in assets and more than 330 major organizations with $6.4 trillion in purchasing power.

In February 2024, CDP once again awarded BASF Leadership status in the categories of climate protection, water management and forest protection for the 2023 business year. BASF achieved a rating of A- in each category. In the climate protection category, CDP assesses, among other things, the transparency of emissions reporting, the handling of opportunities and risks arising from climate change, the climate protection strategy and measures to reduce CO2 emissions.

The CDP assessment for sustainable water management takes into account how transparently companies report on their water management activities and how they reduce risks such as water scarcity. BASF continues to implement its sustainable water management target at all relevant production sites. CDP also evaluates the extent to which product developments can contribute to sustainable water management for customers. BASF also participated in the CDP’s “Forests” assessment for the fourth time in 2023. The assessment is based on detailed insights into the palm value chain and on activities that impact ecosystems and natural habitats.

MSCI  ESG  Research awarded BASF an A rating in 2023. The analysts highlighted BASF’s presence in clean technology markets and its clearly defined strategy to reduce CO2 emissions and water consumption.

BASF again achieved Prime status (B-) in the ISS  ESG rating developed by Institutional Shareholder Services, placing it in the top 10% of the companies assessed.

In the Morningstar Sustainalytics1 ESG Risk Ratings, BASF belongs to the best category for “diversified chemicals” with a medium ESG risk and was recognized for its risk management, for example, in the areas of CO2 emissions, wastewater and waste, and occupational health and safety.

BASF is a founding member of the United Nations Global Compact. This means we consistently support the U.N. Global Compact and its 10 principles of responsible business conduct and the Sustainable Development Goals.

1 Morningstar Sustainalytics provides institutional investors and companies with ESG and corporate governance research, ratings and analytics.

Last Update February 23, 2024