BASF beats 2020 green goals nine years early

Chemical giant BASF has extended its 2020 emissions and energy efficiency targets, after beating both goals nine years ahead of schedule.

The company’s latest sustainability report shows a 35 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per metric ton of sales product compared to 2002, 10 per cent above its original 2020 ambition.

The company credited the deep cuts on improvements to production processes, while also reporting that its use of combined heat and power technologies helped improve energy efficiency 2.1 per cent over the year. As a result, the company said it has increased the amount of sales products in relation to primary energy demand by 26 per cent against 2002 levels and beaten its 2020 target by one per cent.

The German company now intends to improve the energy efficiency of its production processes 35 per cent by 2020, reduce greenhouse gas emissions per ton of sales product by 40 per cent, and halve the amount of drinking water it uses for production.

“Since BASF operates in an energy-intensive industry, our success depends on securing a long-term, competitive supply of energy and raw materials,” said Margret Suckale, member of BASF’s board of executive directors. “Therefore, we are constantly working on boosting our worldwide energy efficiency.”

BASF is one of the first companies to produce an integrated financial and environmental report and has been doing so since 2007 – a practice that saw it come top of a global ranking of emissions reporting last year.

It shows that while income from operations before depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew 7.7 per cent over the last year to just under €12bn, greenhouse gas emissions remained fairly constant at 25.8 million tonnes.

However, BASF emitted around 61 per cent fewer air pollutants to air and water and decreased emissions of organic substances to water by about 74 per cent, nitrogen by 87 per cent, and heavy metals by around 61 per cent.

These figures exclude the company’s oil and gas business, for which it has also upped the environmental ante. The company said it aims to stop continuous flaring of gas at all its production facilities by the end of the 2012 and bring in sustainable water management systems at sites in areas of water stress.

A programme to install an energy-efficient gas pipeline layout and increase the reuse of waste heat are also intended to cut carbon emissions arising from the transport of natural gas by 10 per cent on 2010 levels by 2020.

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