Where we are: The 2020 BASF corporate carbon footprint

BASF has published a comprehensive corporate carbon footprint since 2008, the only industrial enterprise worldwide to do so. The annually updated balance gives us pointers on where the influencing factors for preventing greenhouse gas emissions are. So we can check whether we are on the right track for meeting our goals to reduce greenhouse gases.

We consider the whole BASF value chain and determine how many emissions are produced by which activity, from the supply of raw materials and precursors via our own production and the use of the end products we produce through to disposal of all our products at the end of their life. The analysis strictly adheres to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol standards and the standard for the chemical industry specific to the sector published in 2013; we were closely involved in the development of this.

Greenhouse gas emissions along the BASF value chain

Balancing sets out three emission ranges (scopes):

  • Scope 1 records direct CO2 emissions. They come from emission sources at BASF sites and include for example our own production plants and plants for generating power and steam.
  • Scope 2 relates to indirect CO2 emissions produced by our suppliers in generating energy that we then purchase for our production.
  • Scope 3 comprises all other CO2 emissions produced along the value chain (e.g. with suppliers, in the use phase of the products, in disposal and in transport). These emissions are recorded in 15 different categories.

The figure below summarizes the emissions along the value chain for 2020 – emissions are given in million metric tons of CO2 equivalents, categories within Scope 3 are shown in parentheses. Emissions in BASF production include Scope 1 and Scope 2 (market-based approach).

Greenhouse gas emissions along the BASF value chain in 2020a,b


a According to Greenhouse Gas Protocol; Scope 1, 2 and 3; categories within Scope 3 are shown in parentheses. For more information on Scope 3 emissions reporting, see
b Emissions figures do not yet include the polyamide business acquired from Solvay.

Greenhouse gas emissions in BASF production (GHG Protocol Scopes 1 & 2)

In accordance with the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting Standard, we report Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions separately. Regarding Scope 1 emissions resulting from the generation of energy, we also differentiate between emissions from energy production for our own consumption and emissions from energy production for sale to third parties. For Scope 2, we consider the location-based approach as well as the market-based approach. We report on all emissions from our fully consolidated companies’ production sites worldwide. The emissions of consolidated joint operations are included pro rata, based on our stake.

BASF Group’s greenhouse gas emissions according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocola

Million metric tons of CO2 equivalents

BASF operations 2020 2019 2018 (baseline)

Scope 1b


CO2 (carbon dioxide)

16.860 15.855 17.025

N2O (nitrous oxide)

0.609 0.598 0.677

CH4 (methane)

0.025 0.023c 0.027

HFC (hydrofluorocarbons)

0.032 0.082 0.091

Scope 2d



3.279 3.519 4.067
Total 20.805 20.077c 21.887
Offsetting 0 0 0
Total after offsetting 20.805 20.077c 21.887
Sale of energy to third parties (Scope 1)e      


0.869 0.779c 0.773
Total 21.674 20.856c 22.660
Use of biomassf      


0.024  0.004 n/a

a BASF reports separately on direct and indirect emissions from the purchase of energy. Scope 1 emissions encompass both direct emissions from production and generation of steam and electricity, as well as direct emissions from the generation of steam and electricity for sale. Scope 2 emissions comprise indirect emissions from the purchase of energy for BASF’s use.

b Emissions of N2O, CH4 and HFC have been translated into CO2 emissions using the Global Warming Potential, or GWP, factor. GWP factors are based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007, errata table 2012. HFC (hydrofluorocarbons) are calculated using the GWP factors of the individual components.

c The comparative figure for 2019 has been adjusted to reflect updated data.

d Market-based approach. Under the location-based approach, Scope 2 emissions were 3.552 million metric tons of CO2 in 2019 and 3.362 million metric tons of CO2 in 2020.

e Includes sales to BASF Group companies; as a result, emissions reported under Scope 2 can be considered twice in some cases.

f Emissions are reported separately from Scope 1 and Scope 2 in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the value chain (GHG Protocol Scope 3)

Our list of Scope 3 emissions is based on the GHG Protocol Scope 3 Standard (Corporate Value Chain Accounting and Reporting Standard). We have checked all 15 categories in this standard for relevance and report the emissions for the 12 relevant categories.


Our Group companies are then consolidated just as in our financial reporting, the exception being the determination of emissions in Scope 3 categories 3, 5 and 9, where we have adopted the same approach as in the reporting for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

Overview of Scope 3 emissions by the BASF Group for 2020 (in accordance with the GHG Protocol)

No. Category GHG Emissions
[CO2 equivalents in millions of tons]
1 Purchased goods and services 47.8
2 Capital goods 1.7
3 Fuel- and energy-related activities 3.1
4 Upstream transportation and distribution 2.5
5 Waste generated in operations 1.3
6 Business travel <0.1
7 Employee commuting 0.1
8 Upstream leased assets 0.2
9 Downstream transportation and distribution 1.2
10 Processing of Sold Products Undetermined1
11 Use of sold products 6.0
12 End-of-life treatment of sold products 23.9
13 Downstream leased assets <0.12
14 Franchises Not relevant3
15 Investments 3.4

1 For a chemicals company at the beginning of the value chain, such as BASF, the effort to determine Scope 3 emissions from the further processing of our products (Category 11 Processing of Sold Products) is not reasonable.
2 Expert estimate. The activities of BASF as a lessee account for less than 20% of our activities in the area of Leased Assets Upstream (Category 8).
3 BASF does not engage in franchising activities.

We have summarized the procedure and assumptions in the calculation of emissions in the named categories in our emission report based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standards template.