BASF recently published its Greater China Report for the 13th consecutive year, presenting the company’s performances across the three dimensions of sustainability – economy, environment and society – in Greater China.
“In 2020, BASF demonstrated its resilience by adopting measures to protect the health and safety of our employees, safeguard business operations and ensure reliable deliveries to our customers,” said Dr. Stephan Kothrade, President and Chairman of BASF Greater China. “With sales of approximately €8.5 billion to customers in Greater China (2019: €7.4 billion), we have overcome challenges during the pandemic and emerged stronger than ever.”
Continuous strong investments to empower future growth
Currently, Greater China is BASF’s second largest market after the United States. In the past year, BASF continued to expand local production capacities and Research & Development (R&D) competencies to better support customers in the fast-growing Chinese market.
For instance, BASF started to construct the first plants of BASF Zhanjiang Verbund site in Guangdong, which will become its world’s third-largest Verbund site upon completion by 2030 with a US$10 billion investment. Together with its partner Sinopec, BASF doubled the production capacity of neopentylglycol (NPG) at its 50-50 joint venture Verbund site in Nanjing to meet the growing needs of environmentally-friendly powder coatings.
At BASF Innovation Campus Shanghai, the company’s largest R&D hub in Asia Pacific, a biodegradability lab was inaugurated in 2020 to strengthen local expertise for biodegradable products and support the global multidisciplinary R&D Verbund. The company also boosted its academic partnership by establishing a sounding board of the Network for Asian Open Research (NAO) and signing a strategic partnership agreement with the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS).
Reduce emissions while increasing production output
BASF made progress towards its goal of reducing energy consumption per ton of product owing to comprehensive energy efficiency measures at plants. The company continued to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations in Greater China for the fourth year to 1.101 million metric tons (2019: 1.109 million metric tons), despite growth in production volumes. This reduction was achieved by optimizing efficiency through digitalization and new technologies at plants and increasing the share of renewables in the energy supply. For example, a site in Guangdong upgraded its thermal oxidation furnace feeding control system to reduce diesel oil consumption. In addition, we started up photovoltaic plants with a nameplate capacity of around 1,300 kWp (kilowatt peak) at the Caojing and Pudong sites in Shanghai.
In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, BASF measures emissions of other air pollutants, including inorganic compounds like carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ammonia, as well as dust or non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC). In 2020, emissions to air from BASF’s chemical operations in Greater China decreased 16% from the previous year, totaling 252 metric tons (2019: 299 metric tons). It was largely attributed to new investments made at several production sites involving the treatment process of NMVOCs.
Digitalization creates new impetus along the entire value chain
Digitalization has been an integral part of BASF’s business that creates ample opportunities along the entire value chain, including research, production, supply chain and new business models. For example, the increasing use of digital technologies in chemical manufacturing is helping the company to drive safety, quality and efficiency improvements. During the Covid-19 pandemic, an operator from a BASF plant wore the augmented reality HoloLens glasses to have a safety inspection and regular maintenance.
Promoting health protection and science education
The global pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live and work. Under the global “Helping Hands” program, BASF donated a total of RMB 2,100,000 as well as medical supplies valued at over RMB 650,000 in Shanghai, Zhanjiang, Chongqing and Nanjing to support its communities and neighbors. In addition, BASF China purchased and donated more than 100 million protective masks to Germany.
In 2020, BASF brought a number of activities to create opportunities for people to explore the world of chemistry. For example, a two-month exhibition themed “Smart Science, Better Life” was staged at Hengshan Lane, an urban public walkway at the center of downtown Shanghai. The company developed the Kids’ Lab Community, a mini program for conducting chemical classes and experiments online.
BASF is one of the first multinational companies to publish a comprehensive local annual report, starting from 2008, to enhance transparent communication and engagement with various stakeholders.