Shaping the Future – Sustainable Development at BASF
* Voscherau: “Corporate Social Responsibility is the basis for our long-term success.”
03/22/06, The world is constantly changing: Growing globalization, increasingly scarce natural resources, climatic change and the reform of the social security systems in many industrialized countries. At a press conference in Frankfurt today (March 22), BASF explained how it is meeting these challenges and is helping to actively shape the future.
By exercising corporate social responsibility in its areas of influence, BASF contributes toward sustainable social development. “CSR is our strategy for integrating social and ecological issues in business processes and hence contributing to economic success in the long term,” said Eggert Voscherau, Vice Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF Aktiengesellschaft and head of BASF’s Sustainability Council.
“We want to actively help shape CSR on a national and international level,“ said Voscherau. “Therefore, we are supporting the a CSR Alliance between European industry and the EU Commission, which will be presented in Brussels today.” The goal of this partnership is to promote the CSR activities of European businesses and clearly identify their contribution both to sustainable development and to European competitiveness.
Making customers more successful through CSR
CSR influences BASF’s business operations on three levels: it minimizes risk, boosts business and helps generate new business. “Sustainable development is a basic requirement for long-term success for us and for our customers,” explained Voscherau. With its Expert Services Sustainability, BASF has bundled its expertise in the areas of energy, health, sustainable development, product stewardship, safety and environment. This expertise is offered to customers according to their specific needs. The services range from waste disposal consulting, to eco-efficiency analysis, to transport safety training.
Resource-saving energy management
“The industrialized world and emerging economies continue to be vulnerable to the slightest imbalance in the energy sector. Therefore, we need sustainable energy management,” said Ernst Schwanhold, head of the Environment, Safety and Energy competence center at BASF. An intelligent energy mix, efficient energy use, and a truly global climate protection policy are the main components of sustainable energy management according to Schwanhold.
BASF’s research in the area of regenerative energy is part of one of its five key research growth clusters. By 2008, we will have devoted €90 million to the promotion of technologies and materials in the areas of energy sources, energy storage and energy conversion.
“Regenerative energies need to be viable without subsidies after a certain period of initial funding,” said Schwanhold. “Energy research can be an important catalyst in the development of competitive regenerative energies.”
In addition, BASF is involved in using primary energy more efficiently, in its own production and also in the public areas of housing and transportation. “Through thermal insulation and phase change material, the use of heating oil can be reduced to 3 liters per year per square meter in apartments. Similar energy savings can be achieved by the use of plastics in the automotive industry,” said Schwanhold.
One of the central social developments that BASF has to actively address is demographic change. A key area is how to respond to an aging workforce. “The situation in our company will be an entirely different one by the year 2020,” said Hans-Carsten Hansen, head of the Human Resources competence center at BASF. “Whereas now we have few older employees, the over-50 population will become the majority for a time.” BASF has already begun to implement measures to respond to this development. These include career development for all ages, a focus on facilitating expert careers as well as increased job rotation, preventive health protection and adjusted working hours.
A further challenge in the area of human resource for BASF is that the need for replacement staff is going to decline in the medium term, and then rise rapidly just a few years later. The reason is the compressed age structure in conjunction with expiration of legislation on early retirement. However, BASF will continue its sustainable staffing policy and will continue to provide training to young people at the Ludwigshafen site on an ongoing basis.
BASF is also working on solutions for the increasing competition in labor markets after 2015, which will also involve tougher competition for qualified women. The company’s “Children are the Future” program already in place today helps to enhance career-family compatibility. Other measures include a part-time work campaign, daycare centers, childcare offerings, vacation programs and parent networks, explained Hansen.
Note to editors:
Photos from the press conference will be available today at 2 p.m. on the Internet at corporate.basf.com/pressphotos under the keyword “BASF Aktiengesellschaft” topic “CSR Press Conference”
Further information about the CSR alliance between the EU Commission and European industry can be found under europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/csr/policy.htm.
BASF’s new Corporate Report is available on the Internet at corporate.basf.com/corporate-report. Printed copies can be ordered at corporate.basf.com/mediaorders or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com. This year, 33,600 copies of the report have been published in English and 57,000 in German. From March 27 through April 29, the Corporate Report will also be provided in Germany’s high-speed ICE trains, enabling travelers to find out more about The Chemical Company.
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