Real Leaders

Creating Value for Society and The Environment

For many years, people lived by the motto: “The bigger the better.” For many people, shopping for the latest trends equals having a good life.

Increasingly, the meaning of “the good life” is changing. Consumers want to know the impact of the goods they purchase on our planet and ourselves. Our conscious actions as consumers will make a difference and it’s growing each day.

With the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 there has been an increased focus on how to achieve a better life for everyone. BASF is one such company that actively contributes to these goals. As Vice President of Sustainability at BASF, I help drive sustainable innovations that offer solutions to the SDGs.

We support the well-being of people through many projects around the world. For example, we started a food fortification program to tackle malnutrition in Africa, which ensures better access to healthy food. In Chile, we offer young unemployed men vocational training on automotive repainting to enhance employment opportunities. 

In 2050, nearly ten billion people will exist on earth. While the world’s population and its demands keep growing, the planet’s resources are finite. Population growth is associated with huge global challenges. Challenges that also offer opportunities for business – to contribute and grow. For the chemical industry, in particular, there are many new opportunities. Through research and innovation, we support our customers in many industries, helping them meet societal challenges today and in the future.

Many companies and brands are already committed to redefining, redesigning and delivering the good life. To do so, they need to be equipped with many important tools to successful achieve this. One of the cornerstones is assessing the impact of business and goods on society at large. To achieve this, we created the BASF Value-to-Society. This is a corporate-wide approach that measures the ‘real’ value our company is adding to society. It was driven by our strategy and purpose slogan: “We create chemistry for a sustainable future”.

The Value-to-Society approach helps us to assess the impact of our business activities throughout the value chain. For BASF, as a global company, this has been a major undertaking. We have a very complex value chain that includes 75,000 tier-one suppliers, 358 sites and more than 60,000 products in various markets and industries. However, the effort was worth it.

I’m convinced that by understanding the impact of business on society, developing informed decisions and continuously monitoring our progress, we can contribute towards a good life for our employees, customers and society at large.

In a few weeks, I’ll be speaking at this year’s SB Copenhagen about BASF’s value contribution to society and the environment. I’m looking forward to an inspiring exchange with the Sustainable Brands Community. Join me at SB’17 Copenhagen. Click here to register.

Twitter: Dirk Voeste  LinkedIn: Dirk Voeste


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