We care about shifting from fossil to renewable resources

The transition to renewable feedstocks and eco-friendly processes is a cornerstone of our sustainability strategy. From biobased feedstocks and biodegradable formulations to our comprehensive Biomass Balance concept, BASF’s Care Chemicals Division is firmly committed to personal care, home care, industrial and institutional (I&I) cleaning and industrial formulations that fulfill the need for environmentally friendly solutions and outstanding performance.

That means, above all, that we focus on renewable feedstocks, as these resonate down the entire value chain. At the same time, we concentrate not only on raw materials, but also on processes that have minimal or even positive impact on the environment. Here, our involvement ranges from the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to Circular Economy initiatives.

In addition, these solutions speak to a large and growing market trend that sees consumers demanding responsible and gentle products based on natural ingredients. Join us in exploring the many ways to meet environmental and consumer needs – and grow your business.

Renewable feedstocks for home care, I&I as well as industrial formulations

Surfactants are used in almost every industry, from asphalt manufacturing to carpet fibers, from pulp and paper production to leather processing. They also play a key role in the performance of detergents and other cleaning products. To meet the growing need for sustainable solutions, BASF Home Care, I&I as well as Industrial Formulators business has launched a program of bio-based surfactants, including a significantly expanded portfolio of palm-based surfactants with RSPO certification: The businesses now offer its customers around 150 surfactants certified according to the RSPO "Mass Balance" standard.

BASF’s Biomass Balance Approach ensures that 100% of our EcoBalanced products’ feedstock is being replaced by renewable raw materials at an early stage of the value chain according to the mass balance approach. With our drop-in solutions, detergents and cleaners maintain their identical product quality and performance while helping to conserve finite fossil resources and significantly reduce CO2 emissions.

Read more performance and sustainability in balance

BASF’s biomass balance approach contributes to the use of renewable raw materials in BASF's integrated production system and can be applied to the majority of BASF's product portfolio.

Read more about BASF’s biomass balance approach

Bio-based Surfactants

In the home care and I&I as well as industrial applications industry we can observe a fast-growing number of product claims based on the content of renewable raw materials, as they are often perceived as more natural and having a positive environmental impact. 30% of global respondents are willing to pay a premium for products which deliver on social responsibility claims (Source: Nielsen).

Renewable feedstocks for personal care applications

Natural and renewable ingredients are particularly important in personal care products that serve the needs and wishes of today’s environmentally conscious consumers. Nature-based solutions with ecolabels and verifiable benefits also serve the vast and growing market for gentle and minimalistic hair- and skincare products. BASF’s Care Chemicals Division enables you to profit from these trends, with high-performance, renewably sourced ingredients based on feedstocks like sustainable argan oil, derivatives of Asia’s super-fruit rambutan or certified sustainable palm (kernel) oil.

Made from renewable feedstocks such as vegetable oil and starch, APGs have an excellent ecological and toxicological profile, and are classified as non-harmful to the environment and as substances with a high margin of safety even under daily use conditions. Accordingly, APGs meet EU standards introduced in 2021 for bio-based surfactants. They degrade without forming recalcitrant metabolites and are ultimately biodegradable under aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

APGs also have the qualities today’s and tomorrow’s consumers want in personal care products. These plant-derived surfactants give skincare products the mildness and look & feel people love. They enhance the efficacy of sunscreens and give shampoos the rich and dense foaming qualities consumers want. Our APGs even improve the appeal of oral hygiene products.

About the original APG® from BASF

In order to protect our planet and its resources while having a positive impact along our bioactive ingredients value chain, we are aligning our actions towards more sustainable practices. Within the initiative “We are responsibly active” BASF launched a program to protect natural resources, reduce its climate impact and empower and respect people along the value chain. In the past few years, this initiative has already led to more than 20% of energy savings and a portfolio of 40 actives from 100% natural origin.

Learn more about Responsibly Active program


In an ambitious sustainable sourcing project initiated in 2014, BASF is utilizing organically farmed rambutan fruit and by-products as feedstocks for actives. The program respects the needs and interests of local ecosystems as well as smallholders and workers.

Using farming practices that have undergone an NGO sustainability assessment, our partners in Vietnam cultivate Java-variety rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) in the country’s first rambutan plantation to be independently certified by Ecocert.

Find more about the Rambutan program

Palm kernel oil and its primary derivatives are among BASF’s key renewable raw materials. They are mainly used to produce ingredients for the cosmetics, detergent and cleaner industries, as well as in human nutrition. As founding a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), we see it as our responsibility to work intensively with the companies we buy our raw materials from, to engage more closely with the palm supply chain from the smallholder to the end consumer, and to address the consequences of using and selling products based on palm oil and palm kernel oil.

BASF’s Argan Program began in 2005, when we entered a collaboration with Targanine, a network of six oil processing cooperatives from the region of Agadir in southern Morocco.

BASF’s Care Chemicals Division derives multiple ingredients from our Argan Program. In addition to Fair Trade certified argan oil, other parts of the argan tree – previously not valorized for cosmetic applications – have been used to develop new actives, including an anti-aging extract from the leaves of the argan tree and an anti-aging active ingredient based on argan pulp. All are certified as organically cultivated. Argan oil, pulp and leaves are certified organic. The program benefits biodiversity and sustainable land use as well as the socioeconomic wellbeing women from rural communities – around 1,000 in total as of 2020.

Find out more about our renewables for personal care.

Sustainably sourced renewable raw materials are used as well in our biodegradable and biobased polymer solutions as offered by the newest members of our biopolymer portfolio. With our new Verdessence™ product line, our commitment to sustainability brings you those biopolymer solutions for personal care, in line with the latest trends and designed to help you create even the most demanding cosmetic applications.

Find more about Verdessence™

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