July 18, 2019

Driving sustainable development: BASF at Sustainability Week 2019 in South Africa

July 18, 2019

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Sustainability issues are becoming increasingly prominent across Africa and in particular the issue of waste management. More and more countries in Africa are moving away from, and in some cases even banning, single-use plastics. The annual Sustainability Week Conference in Pretoria, South Africa, seeks to leverage sustainable development opportunities by bringing together thought leaders, industry experts, government authorities and civil society, who all converge on the conference to share ideas and best practices regarding the environment and how cooperation can be managed to ensure its sustainability for generations to come.

BASF played a leading role during this year’s Sustainability Week, June 24–26, sharing knowledge and experiences as well as gain inspiration and find new partners for driving sustainable development projects in Africa. As a founding member of the Global Alliance to End Plastic Waste, BASF is committed to using its technological and research expertise to find the right solutions to reuse plastic waste. 

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(f.l.t.r.) From BASF: Michael Gotsche, Vice President Market Area Africa; Linda Brown, Head of Communications and Transformation, Africa; Aaron Fenu, Sustainability Coordinator Market Area Africa and Niall Wilkins, Corporate Affairs Manager Southern Africa, at the BASF stand during Sustainability Week.

This commitment was an integral part of the panel discussion by Michael Gotsche, Vice President Market Area Africa, BASF, who discussed the topic of “zero waste” on June 26. His presentation focused on BASF’s most current projects on the African continent. Among them: Waste to Chemical Nigeria, a project which will leverage on a cost-effective pyrolysis technology in Nigeria to convert plastic waste into useable and safe oil feed.

Following the presentation, panelists formed breakaway groups working together to answer the leading question “How do we develop a secondary resource market”. The overwhelming takeaway was that the support of government and correct policy formulation that supports this circular economy is critical. Business, government and civil society must continue to work together to ensure a sustainable future.  

Joining forces for a sustainable future

As one of the sponsors, BASF wants to create synergies from the meaningful discussions and exchanges at the Sustainability Week: “We are strongly involved in business development projects in Africa and we want to find more partners to advance our ideas,” says Gotsche. He is convinced that changes towards a more sustainable future are only possible by closely working together: “When we address sustainability for African countries, we have to link the three aspects of economy, ecology and society to make projects viable and successful.” The conference offers this platform for the stakeholders from different industries and organizations. 

BASF through its participation and support of conferences like Sustainability Week continues to seek ways to work with companies, governments and civil society to help reduce the amount of waste from single-use plastic that harms the environment and rather create a sustainable circular economy where the plastic is repurposed for further use. 

Birgit Hellmann
Global Sustainability Communications
Last Update July 18, 2019