Global Battery Alliance
In 2017, BASF co-founded the Global Battery Alliance (GBA) - a multi-stakeholder alliance that includes, major international companies from the automotive, technology, chemical and mining industries, as well as representatives of governments, academia, and civil society (NGOs). The GBA is working on a socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable and responsible circular battery economy. In the first phase, two critical parameters are in the focus: the social aspect of child-labor and the environmental aspect of greenhouse gas emissions.
Along the virgin material value chain, conscious and responsible action by the actors must solve ESG (environmental, social, governance) issues while building up a material pool, especially for new projects. In the long term, a stable state can only be achieved through a circular economy. Recycling at all stages will keep the pool of materials full and only losses need to be replaced.
As a flagship initiative, the Alliance is developing rulebooks for a “battery passport”, based on the digitalization of data. It is a digital twin of a battery that is supposed to provide data for a standardized sustainability assessment, which would ultimately be condensed into a "quality seal". This key instrument provides transparency to control success towards the strategic objective and to steer activities. It will show the performance of the battery regarding several sustainability criteria.
When sourcing materials and processing them, a business must think about the impact it has – economically, environmentally, socially. As they are more standardized, economic impacts and even environmental ones, like on landscape, biodiversity or carbon footprint, are somewhat easier to address compared to social topics, such as values and human rights. Social topics need global societal alignment and governance. One attempt is the UN Global Compact, of which BASF is a founding member. It calls on companies to align their strategies and operations, covering human rights and anti-corruption. Translating international standards into business practice is key and an integral part of our work at BASF.
Chemistry is part of the solution to environmental and social challenges, but it's also part of the problem. Our processes are still too intensive in terms of fossil energy and CO2 emissions. Besides driving innovative technologies, it’s important to properly manage input and output into our chains to sustainably develop our products and services. And: We see a growing demand for sustainable products. Soon, sustainability will be a precondition for staying in business.
We are constantly screening our chains – which aren’t really chains but networks of interactions with suppliers and customers – to identify sustainability impacts. Our Supplier CO2 Management Program, makes carbon footprints of all our suppliers transparent. With more than 70,000 suppliers, that’s a big task to carry out. We are also training our suppliers and guiding our customers. Beyond what we are doing as a single company, it is all about alliances and partnerships to live up to our responsibility.