Quantifying Sustainability

Sustainable development has been defined as the balance of economic success, ecological protection and social responsibility. To effectively manage sustainability, a company must be able to measure or otherwise quantify sustainability in each of these pillars.

Many shoppers know the feeling: "I want to buy a decent product that's good quality, worth the money, and manufactured in an environmentally and socially compatible way." But finding such a product is not generally easy. Glass or plastic? Petrol or bio-diesel? Chemical or fermentation processing? The results are sometimes surprising.

Though a number of different measurement and valuation methods exist, most of them are focused exclusively on ecological aspects, i.e. impact on climate, forest decline or water. However, methods developed on that basis reflect only a small part of what sustainability is all about: balancing environment, society and economics. The aim of BASF´s analysis methods is therefore to quantify corresponding aspects.