NOT CURRENT YEAR
BASF produces 112 SIN List substances (including 14 persistent chemicals), with 39 of these officially recognised as chemicals of high concern by the EU. The company has a method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products and includes intrinsic hazards of ingredients in the screening process. BASF also has a timed phase-out strategy for hazardous substances. The company follows several voluntary standards of good conduct, but has, nonetheless, been involved in several environmental violations over the last ten years, including one of the worst egg contamination scandals in Europe when millions of eggs were found to be tainted with a toxic pesticide.
Opportunities for improvement
- A sustainable circular economy needs products that can be safely recycled over and over again. This can only be achieved without hazardous ingredients. We therefore urge the biggest chemical company on the planet to acknowledge its responsibility and dramatically reduce both the volume and the number of hazardous chemicals that the company produces.
- BASF only mentions a few examples of eco-friendly products on its website, but we expect the actual portfolio to be much larger. Anyone who is not yet a customer cannot get a complete picture of BASF’s safer products at the moment, which is a pity. The company should be transparent and showcase its safer products widely.
- BASF needs to minimise air, water and soil pollution from its production facilities globally. How should the company do this? ChemSec believes that a reduction in hazardous chemical production is much more effective than its current measures, which include extensive risk management and training. BASF’s risk-based approach doesn’t pay off. The fact that BASF is among the top 10 worst polluters in the US shows that the company cannot eliminate the harm that its pollution causes to people’s health and the environment.
BASF produces 112 SIN List substances, 39 of which are included on the REACH Candidate List, with ten of them also found on the REACH Authorisation List. The company produces 14 persistent chemicals. Persistent chemicals are particularly problematic since they do not break down, but instead accumulate in humans and the environment. Because of this, persistent chemicals should be of extra concern for investors. Substances that are not considered a problem today could become huge liabilities in the future.
BASF has a method in place to screen and assess the sustainability of its products and includes the intrinsic hazards of ingredients in the screening process. The company does not exclude substances with toxic properties from its new products or follow the principles of green chemistry. It does, however, make use of the GreenScreen assessment tool and actively markets safer alternatives on its website.
The German company has a timed phase-out strategy for hazardous substances and shares chemical safety information on its website. BASF is a member of Responsible Care and follows voluntary standards such as a Code of Conduct and a Supplier Code of Conduct.
BASF is on the list of the top 10 polluting companies in the world according to an index on air, water and greenhouse gas pollution released in 2019 by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts. A couple of years ago, BASF was responsible for contaminating eggs in the Netherlands with a toxic pesticide, and for the exposure of workers to hazardous pesticides in Brazil. The company was also among the major brands found to have broken the EU chemical safety regulation, REACH, in 2019. BASF was also fined 5.3 million USD for 60 environmental violations between 2010 and 2019.Download detailed information on controversies (PDF, 118 KB)