Responsible sourcing:
We care about sustainable supply chains

Sustainability begins at the source and carries through along the entire value chain. For this reason, responsible sourcing is a key element of our sustainability strategy. BASF sources a wide range of raw materials, technical goods and services. Our suppliers are an important part of our value chain. Together with our suppliers we want to increase the share of renewable ingredients in our portfolio, but also to improve sustainability in the supply chain and minimize risks. We are engaged in a range of initiatives to foster sustainable farm practices and enhance the wellbeing of farmers and workers.

Sustainable palm oil

Palm oil, palm kernel oil and their respective derivatives are valuable raw materials for home and personal care ingredients. However, oil palm plantations can contribute significantly to deforestation and loss of biodiversity. The draining of peat soils to grow palm is a further factor in climate change. These are some of the reasons why BASF became a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2004. Since then, we have actively participated in consultations within the organization.

The RSPO is a multi-stakeholder forum with the aim to “make sustainable palm oil the norm.” It’s more than 5,000 members are from the 7 sectors of the palm oil industry: oil palm producers, processors and traders, consumer goods manufacturer, retailers, banks and investors, and environmental and social non-governmental organizations, to develop and implement global standards for sustainable oil palm.

The BASF Palm Dialog, established in 2016, is a platform to discuss topics relevant for the industry with representatives from the entire supply chain. During the past years we have discussed solutions and possible pathways forward with participants from industry, retail, associations and NGOs.

Palm kernel oil and to a lesser extent palm oil are some of our most important renewable raw materials. We mainly use these raw materials to produce ingredients for the cosmetics, detergent, cleaner and food industries. Oil palms have the highest yield per hectare compared to other oil producing crops, hence palm oil needs significantly less land to grow the amounts of raw materials needed. Oil palm products also reduce poverty as they provide income for millions of farmers and their families. And with its unique chemical properties, palm kernel oil is especially difficult to substitute. We aim to ensure that palm-based raw materials come from certified sustainable sources.

To this end, we have endorsed the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2004 and we consider RSPO to be a standardized implementation of a strong No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy. We purchased 242,946 metric tons of palm oil and palm kernel oil in 2021.

We again met our own voluntary commitment to source only RSPO-certified palm oil and palm kernel oil. This avoided more than 330,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions compared with the procurement of conventional palm oil and palm kernel oil. By 2025, we aim to extend our voluntary commitment to sustainable procurement to the main intermediate products based on palm oil and palm kernel oil. We were able to trace 96% of our global palm footprint to oil mill level as of the end of 2021.

In addition, we continued to drive forward the RSPO supply chain certification of our sites for cosmetic ingredients. At the end of 2021, 26 production sites worldwide were certified by the RSPO. In line with raised awareness for sustainability, we continue to see growing demand for certified palm-based products from our customers. BASF offers a very broad range of ingredients based on RSPO-certified sustainable palm (kernel) oil in accordance with its principles and criteria.

Since launching certified ingredients in 2012, BASF has been continuously moving towards a comprehensive global product range that will allow consumer goods manufacturers to develop value adding formulations that meet increasing demand for ingredients that are certified sustainable. The annual BASF Palm Progress Report reports on our measures and progress towards more sustainability and transparency in the value chain. Find out more about our entire sustainable palm strategy: Palm-Dialog

Sustainable coconut oil

Coconut oil is an important feedstock for the chemical industry. BASF uses coconut oil to produce ingredients for cosmetic products, detergents and cleaning agents as well as food applications.

With the certification of BASF’s production site in Cassina Rizzardi, Italy, BASF is the first chemical company offering certified sustainable personal care ingredients based on coconut oil. This is the next important step to ensure that its renewable-based products are made from sustainably sourced raw materials. The company was certified according to the Rainforest Alliance Mass Balance Coconut certification scheme. Mass balance (MB) is a supply chain model that fosters the physical flow of certified raw materials within the supply chains, while the farmers benefit from selling Rainforest Alliance Certified coconuts and copra.

As part of our sustainability strategy, BASF cooperated with Cargill, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) in a development partnership under the develoPPP.de program commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

BASF has begun purchasing certified sustainable coconut oil, whose origin can be traced back to Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms in General Santos in the Philippines. The alliance introduced certified sustainable coconut oil in 2018.

Alongside establishing a certified environmentally compatible coconut oil supply chain, a main goal of the partnership is to improve the lives of coconut smallholder farmers in selected regions of the Philippines and Indonesia by working with them and teaching them better agricultural practices.

In addition, consumers are increasingly aware of environmental issues associated with coconut farming, and favor products based on sustainably sourced feedstocks. Find out more about our entire sustainable coconut oil strategy.

Find out more about our entire sustainable coconut oil strategy.

Sustainable castor oil

Castor oil, derived from the castor bean, is an essential ingredient in a wide array of formulations. The oil and its derivatives are used as raw material in the production of, for example, plastics, coatings and paints, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. As is the case with many crops, there are sustainability issues surrounding some types of castor bean farming. Up to now, however, there have been no globally defined and recognized standards for certification. In response, we launched the Sustainable Castor Initiative “Pragati” in 2016 together with the companies Arkema, Jayant Agro and the non-governmental organization Solidaridad.

The project aims to improve the economic situation of castor farmers in India and at the same time raise awareness for sustainable farming. India accounts for around 80% of the castor beans grown worldwide, mostly in smallholder structures. Farmers are trained on the basis of the specially developed sustainability code “Sustainable Castor Caring for Environmental and Social Standards” (SuCCESS) in areas such as cultivation methods, efficient water use, health and the safe use of crop protection products. Since the start of the project, more than 5800 smallholders and over 13300 hectares of land have been certified for sustainable castor cultivation.

In 2019, the founders of the Pragati initiative launched the Sustainable Castor Association (SCA), which has developed a sustainability code for the wider supply chain in addition to SuCCESS. This makes it possible to further process the castor beans obtained from the program into certified castor oil and derivatives and to bring them into the downstream supply chain. Following successful auditing of our supply chain by an independent certification body, we were able to source certified sustainable castor oil from the program for the first time in 2021. Find out more about our entire sustainable castor oil strategy.

Find out more about our entire sustainable castor oil strategy.

Sustainable rambutan

In response to the increasing consumer demand for sustainably sourced, natural cosmetics and in line with BASF’s commitment to sustainability goals, the company’s Care Chemicals Division launched the Rambutan Program in 2014. Its objective: to explore benefits and applications of the healthy super-fruit, its husk and kernel as well as other parts of the tree. The result has been a wide array of renewable, natural ingredients

The project, based in Vietnam, was preceded by research into the potential personal care benefits of extracts derived from different parts of the rambutan tree and its fruit. This was to a large extent made possible by BASF’s interdisciplinary innovation platforms for active ingredients, one of which focuses on the extraction of valuable substances from plant material.

Rambutan (nephelium lappaceum), which is native to the humid tropics of Southeast Asia, is closely related to the lychee and mainly cultivated for its fruit. It has also been valued traditionally across Asia for multiple health benefits.

For example, the fruit has long been used to treat dysentery and fever. In addition, a poultice made of the leaves has been used to treat headaches, while a decoction of the bark is applied for tongue disease and mashed roasted seeds are used to control blood sugar levels. The program respects the needs and interests of local ecosystems as well as smallholders and workers. It helps protect biodiversity, while enhancing conditions for local populations.

Find out more about our sustainable rambutan strategy.