BASF receives German Business Award for the Environment
BDI pays tribute to environmental commitment.
BASF has been honored with this year’s BDI Environment Award in the category “Partnerships for Sustainable Development.” The company was awarded the most prestigious national business award for the environment by the Federation of German Industries (BDI) in Berlin today (June 20, 2006) for the project “Partners for Sustainable Development,” a public private partnership involving UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization), UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) and BASF in Africa.
“Our commitment to sustainable development and eco-efficient products must not be limited to the industrialized countries,” said Ernst Schwanhold, head of BASF’s competence center Environment, Safety & Energy. “We need to extend it to developing countries where the potential for improving environmental protection is often greatest. That is why we are so delighted to receive this important award. It bears testimony to the years of successful cooperation between UNIDO, UNEP and BASF.”
BASF and its partners started teaching eco-efficient production management to African textile and leather manufacturers in 2002. The company runs workshops for textile finishers and manufacturers of ready-mades that show how the eco-efficiency analysis can be used to develop production processes that are cost-effective while minimizing the burden on the environment. “With this knowledge transfer BASF is helping to boost awareness of potential ecological and economic improvements and is speeding up the process of transition toward sustainable development,” the BDI’s expert selection committee noted.
Together with the project partners, BASF developed a computer program for the African textiles industry based on its eco-efficiency analysis. The “Eco-efficiency Manager” shows how to enhance the cost-effectiveness and environmental compatibility of work processes, thereby helping businesses to independently calculate and compare the cost and environmental impact of their production processes. The businesses are supported in their efforts by National Cleaner Production Centers (NCPCs) set up by UNIDO and UNEP. NCPC experts provide local support in environmental issues. BASF provides the Eco-efficiency Manager to UNIDO and NCPCs free of charge. Employees at these organizations were also taught how to use the new software in a number of training sessions.
The initiative is a success: The businesses that have taken part since the pilot project was first launched in Morocco in 2002 have improved their production processes and increased the environmental compatibility and cost effectiveness of their operations. The project has since been extended to include other African countries, and NCPCs in the various countries now provide training and advice without outside help. BASF’s Eco-efficiency Manager is an important element in this process.
The eco-efficiency analysis was developed at BASF in 1996. The method looks at the entire lifecycle of a product: from the extraction of raw materials and the energy used during production through to recycling or disposal after use. The goal of the eco-efficiency analysis is to identify the best possible, cost-effective products that also have a good environmental performance. To do this, products and processes are analyzed and compared with one another. If the analysis indicates that a product is not eco-efficient, we look for alternative solutions. The eco-efficiency analysis is currently being expanded to include social criteria. BASF has carried out more than 250 eco-efficiency analyses for our customers and many of them have been reviewed by independent third parties.
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