Without a doubt, COVID-19 has disrupted nearly every aspect of our lives, both personally and professionally, and created challenges few had ever experienced in their lifetimes. As a leading chemical supplier to the automotive industry, BASF is proud of how the industry has stepped up in so many ways to address those challenges, and equally proud of how all of BASF has come together to coordinate safety measures and pandemic plans to ensure the well being of employees, customers and communities where we operate.
BASF offered a wide range of support to employees. We continue to take steps to minimize the spread of COVID-19 – like implementing work-from-home policies, conducting non-business-critical meetings virtually and introducing preventative and hygienic measures for employees who continued working at any of our facilities. We also support employees’ physical and mental health by offering webinars, programs and services to help our employees navigate and balance the many new aspects of working from home.
The events in late May also reinforced our need to continue fighting against injustice, racism, hate and discrimination. We acknowledge and empathize with what our Black colleagues are confronted with and remain committed to fostering a diverse workplace and continuing efforts around inclusion. BASF is providing employees with safe spaces for discussion, healing and connection and standing together for positive change.
While this pandemic has put the world on pause for months, BASF teams are diligently working to ensure continuity for customers and reduce the impact on business operations. We’re identifying solutions to protect supply chains and optimizing global networks so as OEMs ramp up production, BASF remains ready to support. We are committed to providing comprehensive customer support and delivering top-tier service even in the face of a global health crisis.
Despite COVID-19’s impact on automotive companies, the whole industry has come together to help fight this virus. Major OEMs, suppliers and manufacturers have repurposed their facilities and adjusted supply chains to produce protective gowns, face masks, respirators and other medical equipment, bringing relief and support to those on the frontlines.
BASF is also doing our part. We’re supporting community organizations with donations of disinfectant, hand soap and personal protective equipment (PPE). BASF also launched the “Helping Hands” campaign to provide sanitizer and protective masks in Germany.
In response to the supply shortage of disinfectants, BASF began manufacturing a hand sanitizer, HandClaspTM, at facilities in Washington, New Jersey and Wyandotte, Michigan. We are not typically hand sanitizer producers, but dedicated employees quickly launched this line of safe, high-quality antimicrobial product. Thousands of gallons of sanitizer have been produced and donated to hospitals and healthcare facilities in Michigan, Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, and other states.
BASF, along with our North America Agricultural Solutions business and several U.S. sites, also donated more than $365,000 to Feeding America. We’ve matched employees’ virtual food drive contributions, and the money will support Feeding America’s network of food banks based on donor zip codes. This way, our employees can have a direct impact in their local communities and provide meals for neighbors in need.
We’re also leveraging our extensive research capabilities to help combat COVID-19. BASF is providing academic researchers with free access to substances from our compound library, which can help them identify active ingredients to treat COVID-19 patients.
“Just as automotive OEMs and suppliers have pivoted to provide COVID-19 relief, BASF is doing what we can to protect those on the frontlines, our employees, customers and communities amid this pandemic,” said Sean McKeon, Vice President, OEM Coatings North America. “BASF has a responsibility to meet the current and future needs of society, and we’re leveraging our innovative solutions and dedicated teams to do just that.”