BASF Canada Inc. – 2019 SDG Leadership Awards

BASF Canada Inc.


Industry: Manufacturing

Primary SDG Focus

Secondary SDG Focus

How was your primary SDG focus identified and prioritized in the company’s value chain?

Through science and innovation-driven thinking, BASF enables customers from every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. We take pride in successfully combining economic success with environmental protection strategies and social responsibility.

Through our partnerships in Canada we contribute to a world that provides a viable future with an enhanced quality of life for everyone.

As a member of the Chemical Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), we are committed to our communities through Responsible Care, a voluntary worldwide-initiative launched in 1985 by the CIAC. Through this initiative, the company participates in a third party re-verification that assesses operations, product stewardship and environmental, health and safety performance from a sustainability perspective.

In 2018 BASF and Bullfrog Power, Canada’s leading renewable energy provider, formed an environmental partnership by which BASF has chosen to use renewable electricity for its Canadian corporate headquarters, and production facilities. The renewable energy commitment will reduce BASF’s CO2 emissions footprint by approximately 1,520 tonnes annually—an amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to taking nearly 325 cars off the road for a year.

BASF is also a member of Together for Sustainability (TfS), a joint initiative of chemical companies for sustainable supply chains that implements global programs to asses, audit, and improve sustainability practices within supply chains.

As a member of the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council BASF engages in business relationships that drive growth of Canadian supply chains through the inclusion of aboriginal and minority suppliers.

How was your primary SDG integrated and anchored throughout your business?

BASF wants to contribute to a world that provides a viable future with an enhanced quality of life for everyone. Through the partnership with Bullfrog Power, BASF is reducing its environmental impact, supporting innovative approaches to growing Canada’s renewable energy industry, and is taking a proactive approach to addressing climate change—by committing to renewable electricity at its Canadian sites and also helping to support community renewable energy projects across Canada, including a collaborative initiative with the Hiawatha First Nations.

In October 2018, the Hiawatha First Nation celebrated the launch of a new solar installation. The installation was made possible through support from BASF and Bullfrog Power and will generate enough carbon-free energy to meet approximately 14% of the building’s overall electricity requirements annually. In addition to providing environmental benefits, the solar project is expected to save the Hiawatha community approximately $154,000 in energy costs over the next 25 years.

BASF is optimistic about the future, recognizing that today’s students will be the innovators and leaders of tomorrow. Together with Earth Rangers, BASF Kids’ Lab program has reached over 5,500 students in schools and Indigenous communities across Canada. The program reinforces the company’s commitment to STEM education and enables youth to experience the wonders of chemistry through safe and engaging experiments.

Engaging with the communities where we live and work is a high priority for BASF; and the company’s commitment is underscored through a variety of initiatives including open houses, quarterly community outreach reporting and check-ins with sites across Canada.

Did you employ any innovative approaches in your efforts to implement the goal?


BASF actively engages in innovative partnerships at a regional and global level.

AEPW: In 2019, BASF co-founded the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), a global alliance of nearly 30 companies to advance solutions that reduce and eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean. AEPW has committed over $1.0 billion with the goal of investing $1.5 billion over the next five years to help end plastic waste in the environment. New solutions will be developed and brought to scale that will minimize and manage plastic waste—including the promotion of solutions for used plastics to enable a circular economy.

Starting Ventures: Through the Starting Ventures Program, BASF provides funding to partner with customers and non-profit organizations to develop innovative solutions that empower people to achieve a better quality of life. The unique program demonstrates how BASF contributes to the UN SDGs and is centered around the following focus areas: social impact, innovative business models, and business potential.

INDSPIRE: In partnership with INDSPIRE, an Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of indigenous youth, BASF contributes to the talent pool through the establishment of student awards that help youth build better futures.

Were any partnerships leveraged or created?

BASF works in collaboration with universities and government to promote Canadian research and innovation opportunitiesat the following institutions:

  • Western University
  • The University of Toronto
  • The University of Guelph
  • The University of Saskatchewan
  • The University of Alberta
  • UBC
  • McMaster
  • The University of Ottawa

Through our partnership and membership in a variety of organizations, we strive to be a leader of corporate sustainability in Canada:

  • Bullfrog Power
  • Excel Partnership
  • National Zero Waste Council
  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development Foundation
  • Ellen McArthur Foundation
  • Network for Business Sustainability

Additional multi-stakeholder initiatives and industry associations include:

  • Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW)
  • Carbon Impact Initiative
  • Global Reporting Initiative
  • UN Global Compact
  • Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC)
  • Clean Farms
  • Compost Council of Canada
  • Crop Life Canada
  • Canadian Plastic Industry Association (CPIA)

What communications strategy did you employ to share the initiative with your stakeholders?

BASF has pro-actively established itself as a thought leader through engagement in a variety of sustainability forums including: Sustainable Brands, GLOBE, the SDG Business Forum, UNGC Leader Summit, Greener Horizons, G7, and  Environment, Energy, and Oceans Ministerial meetings.

By establishing a dialogue and engaging in transparent conversations about global challenges, BASF is engaged with the Ministry of Innovation, and continues to leverage all opportunities to champion the SDGs and engage with diverse audiences across Canada.

At GLOBE Forum 2018, BASF lead conversations on topics ranging from digitalization to ESG; engaging with 2,000+ global sustainability, government and business leaders. BASF Canada leveraged its commitment to STEM education and its 5-year partnership with Earth Rangers through an interactive chemistry session with youth from the Greater Vancouver area.

As the Lead sponsor of the Canadian SDG Business Forum, BASF took an active role in voicing its commitment to the SDGs. Leaders from across the country engaged in multi-stakeholder dialogues, catalyzed new partnerships, and explored solutions to accelerate the SDGs. Marcelo Lu, President of BASF Canada, shared BASF’s “With optimism into the future” video during his opening remarks—underscoring the company’s forward-thinking approach to addressing global challenges.

At the Atlantic Summit on Infrastructure and Transportation (Washington, DC), BASF highlighted its commitment to innovation, through live-streamed discussions on the future of e-mobility, as well as advanced battery research for electro-mobility, recycling of lithium battery components and innovation opportunities related to the high demand from automotive OEMs and battery OEM’s for new technologies.

How were KPIs and the levels of success outlined and defined?

BASF’s business activities positively impact society and the environment, focusing on four areas selected to further drive and communicate this: Climate Protection, Sustainable Product Portfolio, Responsible Procurement and Engaged Employees.

  • We want to protect the climate. We aim to grow CO2-neutrally until 2030.We want to steer our portfolio towards sustainable solutions to help our customers differentiate in the markets.
  • We aim for €22 billion in Accelerator sales by 2025. We will deeply integrate Sustainable Solution Steering into the R&D pipeline, in business strategies as well as in merger and acquisition projects.
  • We source responsibly. In Procurement, we will cover 90% of our relevant spend with our sustainability evaluations, and 80% of our suppliers will improve their sustainability performance upon reevaluation by 2025. For implementation, we will enhance our evaluation processes and the interaction with our partners in the next years.

BASF brings together diverse teams drawing on a variety of strengths to support business growth.  Since 2015, BASF has set itself global goals for increasing the percentage of women in leadership positions. In 2017 the global proportion of female leaders with disciplinary responsibility was 20.5%. We aim to increase this ratio to 22–24% worldwide by 2021.

Safety for people and the environment as well as water management is a top priority for our operations and business conduct. Through our Sustainable Solution Steering Methodology, we are able to look at the entire value chain to assess the overall environmental, societal, and economic contributions of BASF products.

What were some key lessons learned?

Some of the key lessons learned for BASF include incorporating sustainability targets into business targets, which is reflected in the new corporate strategy that was recently announced.

As sustainability becomes more top of mind with our stakeholders, we have set ourselves new targets so that our customers, investors, employees and other stakeholders can monitor our progress.

BASF recognizes a need for more ambitious sustainability and environmental goals. Our drivers are reflected in financial and non-financial targets. We have selected key areas in which we will make substantial progress and leverage our positive impact:

  • C02 neutral growth until 2030 –To achieve this, BASF will improve the management, efficiency and integration of its plants and, wherever possible, will purchase a greater share of electricity from renewable energy sources.
  • Increasing accelerator product sales to 22 billion euros by 2025
  • Chemical Recycling of Plastic Waste (ChemCycling): Plastic waste will be transformed into a raw material using thermochemical processes. The raw material can be fed into the Verbund to create new chemical products with excellent product performance based on recycled plastic waste.
  • Low-emission mobility – Light weighting solutions contribute to lower emissions for BASF’s automotive clients. The company continues to address challenges in this sector by exploring how to leverage the understanding of customer needs to achieve their sustainability targets but also to create a demand for products.

What were the key impacts and results?

As a result of the new environmental partnership with Bullfrog Power, BASF is reducing its environmental impact and supporting an innovative approach to growing Canada’s renewable energy industry. BASF has committed to using renewable electricity for its Canadian corporate headquarters, and production facilities and wants to contribute to a world that provides a viable future with enhanced quality of life for everyone. The renewable energy commitment will reduce BASF’s CO2 emissions footprint by approximately 1,520 tonnes annually—an amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to taking nearly 325 cars off the road for a year.

Through collaboration with Bullfrog Power, BASF was able to integrate renewable energy into the landscape of the Hiawatha First Nations by supporting the 22-kilowatt (kW) installation and working collaboratively withthe community; helping them craft their own vision for environmental sustainability. The project is expected to generate significant savingsof approximately $154,000 in energy costs over the next 25 years.

Media outreach efforts for this initiative generated 2,913,800+ impressions, caught the attention Minister Navdeep Bains, who wrote a congratulatory letter to BASF, Bullfrog, and the Hiawatha Community for the success of the solar panel launch.

  • Link to Hiawatha/BASF news release

Additional notable accomplishments: