The knowledge on our products and their uses as well as the close collaboration with our customers are essential for Product Stewardship at BASF. We have established global standards and have set ourselves targets which go significantly beyond legal requirements.
All our initiatives for a safe use of chemicals are based on comprehensive knowledge of our products. Early on, BASF has defined standards for the complete scientific testing and assessment of our products’ properties. We build on this knowledge with risk assessments which also take the use along the value chain into account. We have set ourselves the target to review - by the year 2020, the risk assessments of all our products we sell worldwide at a volume of more than one ton annually. We will provide transparent information to the public on our progress towards reaching the target in our BASF Integrated Annual Report.
The close cooperation with our customers based on mutual trust is essential for our Product Stewardship initiative. We support them in the safe handling and use of our chemicals. For example, for the herbicide Bentazon® we have developed instructions for water protection in the European Union, which enable our customers to easily and reliably optimize the use considering the respective composition of the ground and the time of application.
For specific chlorformiates which require special precautions for handling, we visit all our new customers before product delivery. We jointly assess the suitability of the production and storage plants and advise them to all safety relevant aspects of these products. Trainings in the safe use are also part of our Product Stewardship initiatives. In addition, we collaborate in industry associations for developing concepts and providing trainings. Within the scope of an Eco-Efficiency Analysis, we can advise our customers on request about economic and ecology aspects. With this tight collaboration, we can live up to our responsibility to advance safe handling of our chemicals.
Comprehensive information for the safe use of our products is stored in our global product databases and always kept up to date. By integrating all regions in the product database, we are able to provide information about our products at any time and around the world. For this purpose, BASF maintains a 24-hour emergency hotline and worldwide emergency call centers to immediately respond to incidents and emergencies. Customers and employees can inform themselves about BASF products and obtain advice around the clock.
Our global product database allows us to provide our customers with safety datasheets in more than 30 languages. In order to assist our customers with the safe handling of our products, we provide safety datasheets for all of our chemical products – even when a safety datasheet for the product is not required by law.
For us, safety and health protection also come first in the use of new technologies. We prepared the Nanotechnology Code of Conduct in cooperation with our experts for occupational medicine and health protection as the foundation for the responsible use of nanomaterials. In order to support an even more comprehensive evaluation of nanomaterials, we have been participating in national and international research projects on the safety of nanomaterials for many years. We make new insights available in dialogue with representatives of politics and science as well as the interested general public.
Our products have to be safe for humans and the environment. Before new chemical substances come to market, we subject them to all necessary environmental and toxicological tests and apply to the appropriate authorities for registration.
We are committed to the ethical principles of animal protection and have set ourselves the goal of developing and using alternative methods to animal studies. To date, very few animal-free alternative methods have been recognized by the authorities. Those available are all used at BASF and we have even helped to develop some of them. For more than 20 years, we have been involved in all relevant research projects to develop alternative and supplementary methods for animal studies and have invested considerable resources. Through a combination of alternative methods and measures taken to improve the significance of studies, we have been able to significantly reduce the number of animals in research testing. More information about alternative methods you can find here.
With our product stewardship initiatives, we go beyond the legal requirements linked to the production, use and marketing of chemicals. Naturally, compliance with all of these various national and international regulations is a permanent obligation and an integral part of our operations. To this end, we can rely on our worldwide network of regulatory experts. The European chemicals regulation REACH, which was introduced in the European Union for the registration, evaluation and approval of substances in the year 2007, can be considered the most comprehensive law on chemicals in the world. Based on the integrated production network and the extensive portfolio of substances at BASF, we expect annual costs of €50 million until implementation is complete in the year 2018. We have developed efficient structures and processes for the implementation throughout the BASF Group in a timely manner, which means we are well prepared to meet the far-reaching requirements.