Applicable SDG: SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
At BASF, we pursue open innovation. By partnering with other innovative companies, organisations, government and academic institutions we bundle different competences, develop best practices and work on sustainable products and solutions in which chemistry plays a key role. This multi-stakeholder approach allows us to lead the charge together with other organisations in addressing sustainability challenges in Canada.
Relevance to the purpose of the company
Through our innovative partnerships we are able to truly live BASF’s corporate purpose, ‘We Create Chemistry for a Sustainable Future’. This allows BASF Canada’s activities to generate positive national and regional impacts, with the aim to generate global impacts.
Our commitment to innovation and SDG 9 and 17, has demonstrated the ability for a large enterprise to effectively work in tandem with the Canadian startups ecosystem to design rapid solutions to sustainability challenges. The startups with whom we partner with are a unique source of business ideas, providing alternative approaches and new technologies. BASF can provide startups the benefit of our customer network, as well as supporting scalability of their disruptive solutions, vetting compelling value propositions and new business models, and manufacturing know-how.
An example is our environmental partnership with Bullfrog Power and our commitment to SDGs 7, 13 and 17, where Bullfrog provides various sites across Canada with renewable energy and supporting our objective to address climate change and maintain carbon neutrality until 2030. This year we updated our renewable energy purchase and allocation, reducing our emissions in Canada by 50%. In addition, we are leveraging the partnership to creatively address and create awareness on circular economy topics, and further support an innovative approach to growing Canada’s renewable energy industry.
On BASF’s commitment to the SDGs in particular SDG 5 and 17, we point to our partnership with the Global Compact Network Canada, of which BASF is a visionary supporter. Though this, we are able to leverage GCNC’s network to partner on a number of activities to address SDGs topics relevant to our business. This includes putting a spotlight on our customers’ sustainability initiatives through co-hosted webinars, co-chairing a Working Group on Enabling Plastics Circularity with GCNC together with major plastics value chain stakeholders, and enhancing the capacity of BASF’s customers to align their corporate strategy with the SDGs (for example through inviting 9 of our customers to an SDG mapping workshop).
Through our partnership with the sustainability constellation GLOBE-Excel-DELPHI and CBSR, BASF Canada has leveraged the collective knowledge, expertise and galvanize the inputs of a multitude of stakeholders in the business world, civil society and government.
Through our commitment to SDG 12 and 17, BASF Canada’s partnership with McMaster University as an industry advisor to the first Circular Economy Certificate course in Canada has allowed more than 10 BASF employees to benefit from a training course aimed at creating ‘circularity champions’ within the business world.
Through this multi-stakeholder partnership approach which integrates SDG 17 into all that we do, solutions to address major sustainability challenges can live outside of BASF’s business interests and model and leverages the strength of our extensive network of partners.
Identification of the associated opportunity/risk
BASF’s approach to partnerships provides an opportunity for diverse stakeholders from the private and public sector to contribute their ideas, insights and expertise to sustainability projects. Organisations, that may not have otherwise come together, do so under BASF’s multi stakeholder partnership approach, allowing an open and collaborative forum to address some of Canada’s most pressing sustainability challenges.
For example, our multi-stakeholder project reciChain has provided a unique opportunity for 12 stakeholders to collaborate on a pilot aimed at addressing the plastic waste issue in Canada. Stakeholders are fully committed to the project and aligned on objectives. A risk of the multi stakeholder consortium approach has been that many stakeholders have multiple projects and priorities, thereby limiting their capacity to participate in project calls. To mitigate this risk, BASF leveraged digital project management tools (for the example, the “Monday tool”) to track project milestones and ensure all stakeholders are fully aware of the project expectations, roles and responsibilities. The result achieved to date has been a successful completion on two phases of a highly complex physical pilot in Vancouver, B.C., planned 100% virtually throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Value Balancing Alliance (VBA) is another example of a multi-stakeholder partnership opportunity. We are currently conducting outreach to companies from a variety of sectors in Canada to onboard them as consortium members, in collaboration with two other organisations: GIST (a global consultant) and Capitals Coalition (a global not-for-profit), in alignment with the Value Balancing Alliance global chapter. By establishing a Canadian chapter, BASF is providing Canadian companies with a unique opportunity to be part of a forward-looking initiative that will change the face of integrated financial and sustainability reporting. One risk with this initiative is duplicating efforts of other organisations that are pursuing a similar
objective. This risk has been managed by ensuring collaboration between organisations developing similar initiatives to ensure that there is a convergence of impact valuation methodologies, rather than creating competing metrics and reporting standards. A concrete example of this is having drafted ‘common statements’ which explicitly endorse each other’s initiatives and describe how we will collaborate.
As described above, both our reciChain project and Value Balancing Alliance projects include partner organisations from both the public, private and civil society sectors.
reciChain partnerships – 12-organisations
We are collaborating with 12 stakeholders ranging from public entities (municipal government), private organizations, technology providers and corporations along the plastics value chain, including: Security Matters Ltd., Deloitte, Save-on-Foods, London Drugs, Recycle BC, V.I.P. Soap, Nova Chemicals, ReturnIt, Merlin Plastics, and Trinamix (a BASF technology team).
VBA partnerships – 4 organisations currently – expanding rapidly
For VBA, we collaborate with the Capitals Coalition, GIST, Deloitte, and we are rapidly gaining interest from financial institutions, industry associations, energy sector companies, manufacturing companies and other sustainability multi-stakeholder groups.
Rapid Response Platform – leveraging public and private sector partnerships During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, BASF partnered with a technology provider called Bulky to develop the Rapid Response platform, an innovative and leading matchmaking platform for COVID-19 related supplies, such as input materials and end products for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This platform received overwhelming support from government (both federal and provincial) industry, associations, small and medium businesses, large businesses and health institutions across Canada. RRP has filled a gap that public institutions did not have the capacity to address, as described further below.
Other circularity partnership initiatives are described below in the working groups section. Clarity of the initiative/program
There is a major need and opportunity, to improve recycling to capture the $7.8 billion of total trapped value from non-recycled recyclables in Canada. To tackle this, BASF introduced reciChain, a proof-of-circularity plastic pilot project which aims to incentivise the use of recycled material, improve the identification of plastic types by package/layer, enhance the sorting of plastics by material type and build circularity to involve the entire value chain.
reciChain was formally launched in February 2020 at the GLOBE 2020 conference where BASF convened 11 other stakeholders in Canada’s most progressive extended producer responsibility jurisdiction, Vancouver B.C. Deloitte serves as a strategic advisor on the ground in Vancouver for the reciChain project.
BASF Canada has also partnered with Security Matters Ltd (SMX), a track-and-trace technology provider, to introduce a digitally enabled marker and blockchain technology to track a number of data points associated with plastics along the value chain, including type of plastic material, percentage of recycled content, manufacturer, and integrated into that is the ability for the marker to read loop-counts on plastic material.
As plastic material moves along the value chain, the reciChain stakeholders could conceivably generate a plastic credit for each transaction that takes place along the value chain, and this credit would increase in value with each additional loop that the plastic material has undergone. In the future when the pilot is commercial, this credit could then be used to offset EPR fees. The traceability component also allows brand owners to demonstrate how they are meeting their diversion-to-landfill targets and producers to meet their recycled content targets
Due to the blockchain component, reciChain is designed to allow safe and compliant data sharing throughout the value chain, ensuring data integrity and verification of transactions.
Together with our partners, reciChain has garnered extensive interest from governments, brand owners, industry associations and other circular economy initiatives in Canada – including the Circular Plastics Taskforce in Quebec who became a formal observer to the pilot and are exploring bringing reciChain into their trials at the material recovery facility level.
Having successfully completed two phases of the pilot this year, BASF is currently in discussions with several plastic value chain stakeholders to scale the pilot to other jurisdictions. For example, we have received widespread interest on this pilot from the Alberta, BC and Quebec government. We have also received initial interest from a variety of companies such as Nestle, Kraft Heinz, PepsiCo, and others who are interested in learning more about the technology and how it could potentially apply to their recycled content and diversion-from-landfill targets. The pilot has also allowed us to provide real-time insights to our plastics circularity group that we co-chair with GCNC.
Value Balancing Alliance
BASF aims to pilot a methodology for impact valuation to integrate environmental and social impacts into financial reporting and accounting principles. BASF partnered with GIST that has developed a tool called i360X allowing companies to register extensive data on their environmental and social impacts of their operations, including a SDG-benchmarking feature. There is also a potential to partner with blockchain technology providers to further enhance the innovative impact of integrated financial reporting in Canada.
Rapid Response Platform
BASF supported a start-up technology company called Bulky to build an instant visibility matching platform aimed at quickly addressing supply shortages of PPE and critical COVID-19 related products and challenges in the national supply chain. This BASF-supported innovation combined our ability as a large organization to pivot and demonstrate agility during an extremely challenging pandemic situation and partner with a start-up technology provider to address Canada’s acute health needs.
Scale of the initiative/program
reciChain is a provincial pilot with aim to scale nationally and eventually regionally and globally. Value Balancing Alliance is currently national with aim to scale across global chapters. Rapid Response Platform started out national, is expanding regionally and has the potential to scale globally.
Bullfrog Power Partnership Impact and Results
The key impacts achieved in 2019 through our partnership with Bullfrog included:
A total of 8 of BASF’s Canadian facilities are powered by renewable energy. The renewable energy commitment resulted in inequivalent of taking nearly 1,305 cars off the road for the year.
BASF has avoided 6,185 tonnes of CO2 emissions through this partnership since 2018. Our agreement with Bullfrog Power ensures that 100 percent renewable electricity is put onto the grid to match the amount of conventional electricity being used at BASF’s facilities. Across Canada, Bullfrog’s renewable electricity comes from a blend of wind and low-impact hydropower sourced from new Canadian renewable energy facilities.
In 2020, at BASF Canada we updated our renewable energy purchase from Bullfrog Power to further enhance its impact. By allocating our renewable electricity purchase to BASF facilities located in provinces with the most carbon-intensive energy grids, we are ensuring that our commitment to renewable energy has an even greater impact, and we are reducing our emissions by over 50%.
The partnership with Bullfrog power extends beyond just the purchase of renewable energy for our sites. Together with Bullfrog power, we have launched a number of sustainability activities
that include thought leadership activities in the form of co-authored articles that have been picked up by mainstream media (see samples below), and employee-level sustainability education activities that increase awareness about climate change including a video circulated to all BASF’s sites, and a climate awareness workshop held at our agriculture business headquarters in Calgary. Finally, BASF and Bullfrog are also co-producing a documentary focused on circular economy, which is set to be released in early 2021.
In addition, we are also part of Bullfrog’s support of community-owned renewable energy projects across Canada. This includes a project in the Hiawatha First Nation, where BASF partnered with Bullfrog Power to support a 22-kilowatt solar array on the community’s Old Railroad Stop building, generating $154,000 in community energy savings over 25 years.
reciChain multi-stakeholder consortium impact and results
BASF Canada has taken the lead as the first chemical company to launch a pioneer pilot project that will allow us to move from concepts and policy dialogue to tangible solutions in making advances in plastic circularity possible across Canada,
The launch of our reciChain pilot program has proven to be an impactful step towards partnering with various stakeholders to enable a circular economy for plastics and support SDG 12 and 17. Moreover, reciChain will allow us to extend the lifecycle of plastics, incentivize design for recycling, reduce waste and enhance resource efficiency in Canada.
Since the launch the pilot, BASF has onboarded 11 stakeholders to formerly commit and actively participate in the reciChain pilot. These stakeholders are involved across the plastics value chain ensuring that there is collaboration and transparency across the project and offering in-kind contributions to enable the feasibility of the pilot, such as plastic material lab testing, providing technical expertise, as well as making available their operations and manufacturing lines for the physical trials.
Since the launch of the pilot 2 product loops have been identified and have been tested. The 2 product loops focus on flexible and rigid plastics that are commonly found in waste streams.
Value Balancing Alliance (VBA) multi-stakeholder consortium impacts and results
To give visibility to the launch of the Canadian chapter of VBA, BASF Canada hosted an introductory webinar in the Spring, along with a multi-stakeholder roundtable with over 20 stakeholders in the late summer to share best practices and ideas on how best to adapt VBA European model to Canadian organizations.
During the roundtable BASF provided stakeholders the opportunity to further discuss how best to attach a monetary value to sustainability indicators and integrate this into traditional financial reporting frameworks. The roundtable was also used to establish and discuss the governance structure.
To date, BASF Canada has already connected with over 20 stakeholders in various industries including organizations in the financial sector, banks, civil society organizations and we will be working with government and additional industry stakeholders to further expand VBA and ensure collaboration and transparency throughout the project.
In addition to the VBA framework, the project will also include the I360x platform designed by GIST. The digital platform will allow organizations to track their environmental, social and economic impact and measure the impact across each of the SDGs. This will allow organizations to better understand which SDGs they are contributing to through their operations, and also identifying those SDGs that are challenged.
Rapid Response Platform (RRP) partnership impact and results
RRP has been a collaborative response to addressing PPE material shortages during COVID 19. Since the launch of the platform in May 2020, there have been:
– Over 20 industry stakeholders have joined forces to support this platform – Over 40,000 matches made
– 3587 new accounts created
– Average of 841 daily active users
The government of Canada has expressed strong for this initiative and has granted funding for the platform, lauding the innovative and agile approach it has taken during a global pandemic
o NGEN Contract: $210,000 for two phases
o Innovative Solutions Canada – $222,000 for first phase
o Contract with CME to build a platform
Hand Sanitizer Production – collaboration with government and health institutions Impact and Results
BASF’s response to COVID-19 extends beyond supporting industry to develop disruptive and innovative technology. We have demonstrated our commitment to SDG 17 through also partnering with the government. Through our BASF Canada giving strategy we have donated over $130,000 of Sanitizer, Dimachem Supplies (hand soap, disinfectant & hand sanitizer) and PPE (N95 masks, Tyvek Suits, Face Shields, Gloves).
Through our production of hand sanitizer, we have been able to support our local communities in a time of need, as well as maintaining the safety of our employees and ensuring that BASF Canada stays committed to Responsible Care and overall community giving strategy.
At BASF Canada we believe that internal communications is a key driver to successful employee engagement. That is why we keep our colleagues informed about all the initiatives, projects and partnerships that we are involved in.
Over the past year we have been internally connecting with colleagues to advance our commitment to the various SDGs. As a Visionary member of the GCNC, we are actively exploring opportunities to collaborate on activities.
An example of this was in September of 2019 where we invited a colleague from of our Agriculture Solutions business to serve on a thought leadership panel at the Making Global Goals Local Business event. This was an opportunity to provide more perspective and insight on the Agriculture sector and how the industry as a whole is adopting SDGs, particularly around SDG 2. In addition, to inviting colleagues to the panel, we also invited our head of distribution to propose customers who would be interested in attending the event which led to inviting our customers Quadra, and Azelis to not only attend the event but also participate in our live lounge interview series which explored how their organizatios are setting their strategy to achieve the SDGs. Participants of the interview series included: Quadra, Ikea, Scotia Bank, Deloitte, B Lab and UNGC. We also leverage other internal channels and events to raise awareness in our partnerships, including a virtual Town Hall where we invited Bulky to talk about the Rapid Response Platform and featured reciChain, our signature project on circular economy.
Our customers are another key outlet in which we are internally building awareness of the SDGs. During the GCNC awards gala we connected with our colleague to invite our customers Apollo and Woodbridge for an opportunity to showcase not only how we are committed to the SDGs but how that extends into our value chain. Through this event, we were able to introduce Apollo to GCNC and recruit them to join as a member.
In October 2020, we have also leveraged our partnership with GCNC to invite 9 customers to an SDG workshop. The SDG workshop facilitated by GCNC, allowed an opportunity for our customers to understand the risk and opportunities of implementing a strategy for the SDGs within their organization. The workshop also provided customers with tools and resources to better navigate the SDGs.
BASF Canada embeds our commitment to reaching the SDGs within our overall sustainability strategy. We regularly share our progress and activities through webinars, info sessions, town halls, as well as communicating in our internal newsletter. We regularly connect with our regional and global colleagues to explore new ways to promote SDGs within BASF.
Through our activities with sustainability partners like Bullfrog Power we collaborate on various projects and activities to advance SDGs. This includes employee learning sessions on topics like climate change, interview panels about sustainable innovation as well as a documentary series on circular economy and promoting responsible consumption and production.
Outside Counsel Diversity and Inclusion Initiative
On SDG 5 in 2020, BASF Canada continued our commitment to support diversity and inclusion not only in our internal operations, but across our value chain. More specifically, in 2018, BASF Canada launched the Outside Counsel Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. This initiative was designed to establish the expectations of external law firms to ensure that a diverse workforce is consistently represented on projects and files for BASF Canada.
Through a voluntary survey, the firm’s diversity and inclusion progress is measured and a scorecard is generated to track the organizations commitments and benchmark their results to identify areas of improvement.
The final scorecard, which is analyzed through a third-party consulting agency, measures 19 diversity metrics that looks at combination of representation of aboriginal peoples, LGBQT, visible minority and representation by gender across the following categories: the firm’s leadership, total headcount, and the work performed for BASF Canada. The BASF Legal Diversity Factor Score is calculated based on the points assigned for each of the above categories.
At BASF Canada we are constantly building awareness of the SDGs externally with our customers, partners and external stakeholder.
One example is through our news releases which raise awareness about our initiatives and partnerships. The most recent ones positioning the reciChain project as a multi-stakeholder consortium that requires input from stakeholders across the value chain to ensure maximum success. This is a direct example of working with public and private entities to achieve a mutual goal of proving circularity in plastic.
Through the publications of several thought leadership articles we are providing updates on our sustainability strategy and how we are progressing the SDGs across the business as well as inspiring customers and partners within our industry to design and commit their strategy to progressing the SDGs. We are particularly putting a focus on female thought leaders within BASF, as a commitment to SDG 5.
In 2020 we asked Irene Yang, Director, Business Development & Innovation at BASF Canada, to author a thought leadership article titled, “Corporations and startups: the ultimate match.” The article spoke to how large companies, like BASF, need to collaborate with startups to implement and execute sustainability strategies. The article was an opportunity to position SDG 17 as a potential solution to solving sustainability challenges that companies face. Published in the GCNC newsletter and on the GCNC website, it has received 183 unique page view.
Other thought leadership articles published in major media outlets have included one on Canada’s ability to lead in the global electric-car battery market, how to approach the post pandemic economy through leading strategic sustainability recovery, and how financial statements of large enterprises need to reflect positive contributions toward societal impact as opposed to only reporting on the bottom line. Links to these articles and more can be found in the attached document.
Another area of focus for externally building awareness of the SDGs is engaging in roundtables to share best practices. Throughout 2020 we have participated in multiple roundtables and webinars and share our success in how we are addressing sustainability topics that effect our business, our customers and the communities we operate in.
– GCNC Sustainability Spotlight Webinar
– GCNC: Leadership from the Top: How Senior Canadian Business Leaders Are Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis
– EXCEL Partnership Virtual Roundtable: Setting and Meeting Long-Term Sustainability Targets
– Canadian Business for Social Responsibility: COVID-19 best practices – Chemistry Industry Association of Canada: (CIAC): BASF Canada’s approach to COVID-19
– Toronto Innovation Day
– Valuing Nature with Impact Measurement and Green Accounting
Rapid Response Platform
We continue to support RRP as a direct response to supporting industry with supply and demand of PPE. As the Canadian government begin planning the recovery phase, we are ensuring that BASF Canada is supporting through donations of hand sanitizer and other critical supplies to ensure business continuity across industries. Rapid Response Platform has been awarded a significant grant from the Canadian government through NGEN, thus demonstrating the outstanding innovation of the platform.
Webinars and virtual events
We will continue to share best practices and provide insight on how best to position sustainability as an opportunity for post COVID-19 recovery. An example of this is through the Canadian Businesses for Social Responsibility: How to do business like a Canadian in a crisis webinar. In this webinar, BASF Canada shared our strategy and approach around how our organization is committed to our strategy in response to COVID-19. One of the key points highlighted was to ensure that BASF Canada remains agile and quick to pivot during times of emergencies like pandemics and natural disasters. This allow us to respond to natural shocks that can potentially present vulnerabilities within our supply chain. Another area of focus is to ensure that we have adequate safeguards in place that proactively prepares us for future events.
Long term plans
Our long-term plans to support our commitment to the various SDGs includes expanding our existing projects that are already working towards achieving our SDG goals but also extends to projects that are still in development.
As mentioned, reciChain is rapidly gaining interest from stakeholders across Canada to scale this pilot to other jurisdictions and achieve semi-commercial pilots that can then be scaled regionally and in time, globally. This aligns with Canada action plans on keeping plastic in the economy and out of the landfill, as outlined by Environment and Climate Change Canada in the proposed legislation on single use plastics. The COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted the in-person execution of the project but through the use of technology and other creative tools, we continue to expand the number of stakeholders involved in the project.
As the Canadian government begins to plan for economic recovery, there will be a priority around green recovery with a focus on low carbon growth. VBA as a framework will allow for organizations and investors to effectively measure the monetary impact on the environment, society and the economy. Through VBA, BASF Canada and other stakeholders will continue to leverage the consortium-based approach to share best practices from the VBA chapter in Europe, as well as best practices from organizations operating in Canada to expand VBA to Canada and use it as a framework to support decisions around economic recovery. Despite the many economic disruptions of COVID-19, we will continue to expand VBA in Canada.
In continuing our efforts to further expand the circular economy of plastics, we are participating in various plastics working group in the different provinces and jurisdictions in Canada. This is another outlet to participate in advancing circularity of plastics in Canada and partnering with public and private stakeholders. This allows us to provide insight, and support governments who are design policy to support circularity. Through these working groups we are directly supporting SDG 17 to further expand on existing and new partnerships with various stakeholders. Examples of plastics working groups and circularity initiatives we are participating in include:
– Alberta Plastics Alliance – BASF Canada is a member
– Alliance to End Plastic Waste North American Regional Taskforce – BASF Canada appointed to represent BASF as a region on the Alliance
– Circular Economy Leadership Coalition – BASF Canada is not a member but has been asked to contribute to a consultation for the potential development of a Plastics Pact
– Circular Plastics Taskforce – BASF Canada is an associate member and has included CPT as an observer to reciChain project
– Ellen McArthur Foundation – has approached BASF Canada with an interest in supporting reciChain as a best practice circularity project
– McMaster Circular Economy Certificate Course: BASF Canada serves as a lead industry advisor to the course
– National Zero Waste Council of Canada – BASF Canada is a Board Member – Plastics Division (merger of Chemistry Industry Association and Canadian Plastics Industry Association) – BASF Canada serves on the Leadership Council – UN Global Compact Network Canada Enabling Circular Economy for Plastics Group – BASF established and launched this group and chairs this group alongside GCNC – reciChain consortium: BASF Canada’s pilot which includes several plastics value chain stakeholders including Deloitte, SMX, and BASF’s TrinamiX technology partner
– BASF-Bullfrog Power co-production of Circular Economy documentary (set to be released 2021)
Sustainable Solutions Steering
At BASF, we have assessed our portfolio of over 60,000 products and identified those that provide the highest contribution to sustainability in the value chain. These products, which have been categorized as Accelerators, contribute to different parts of sustainability. Examples of indicators include climate change, resource efficiency, preventing hunger or poverty, among others. In addition to this, BASF has mapped the products within our portfolio to the SDGs to further identify how they contribute to sustainability and advancing the SDGs. As we continue to assess our products in the long term, we are working to further develop a compressive mapping of the SDGs for our products.
Incentivizing and stimulating the innovative ecosystem in Canada
Through our recently established partnership with Plug and Play, innovation platform that brings together startups and world’s largest corporations, we are aiming to be able to find opportunities to work with startups to test solutions in sectors such as supply chain, food, materials, energy, mining and automotive, increasing our innovation efforts with our
strategic customers in Canada, many of whom are at the early stages of determining how to partner with startups.
Expanding our Partnerships
As we continue to progress on our projects, we are constantly considering new ways to expand the scope of these projects to further advance SDG 17. For reciChain, we are looking to expand the scope of the project to include new stakeholders in different jurisdictions across Canada. Currently, the pilot is being tested in Vancouver, BC but we are working to expand the project to Quebec with the intent to expand circularity nationally with other plastics value chain stakeholders.