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Pittsburgh Chemical Day 2009: Sustainable Approach is Key
12:16 AM MDT | May 14, 2009 | By LINDSEY BEWLEY
A business strategy that incorporates sustainability will be key to surviving the economic downturn, Kurt Bock, CFO of BASF, told attendees at Pittsburgh Chemical Day held yesterday in Pittsburgh. “The chemical industry needs to accept accountability for products,” Bock says. “Sustainability can not be ignored.”
Bock says that the chemical industry may not have hit the bottom amid the economic downturn, so sustainability will be “the recipe for managing the downturn and catalyzing the upswing.”
Society’s expectations of the chemical industry are becoming more demanding, Bock says. In China, for example, there is a need to improve safety and there is a need to use the best available solutions in order to do that, says Bock. The current EPA battle to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the U.S. is another example, Bock adds. The industry needs to better demonstrate that chemistry is part of the solution, not the problem, says Bock. “It’s up to our industry to define the future going forward.”
Bock mentioned several initiatives BASF is pursuing, including reducing CO2 gas emissions. By 2020, the company aims to reduce CO2 emissions per metric ton of product sold by 25% compared with 2002, BASF says.
About €400 million, or one-third of the company’s total research and development budget, is spent on energy efficiency, climate protection, resource conservation and renewable raw materials, according to BASF.
BASF is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, and last year the company published a carbon balance study for its operations, Bock says. The study shows that its products can save three times more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire amount caused by the production and disposal of the company’s products. The company says its products in building and construction, automobiles and industrial production help customers save more than 250 million m.t./year of CO2.
“Sustainability is an integral part of our business strategy. It’s more than just good plan for long-term profitability,” Bock adds. “It’s the key to long-term success.”