Corporate Responsibility

BASF drives sustainable palm with major portfolio switch

BASF shifts its Personal Care portfolio and will offer palm-based specialties for the cosmetics industry exclusively as certified sustainable. The move was announced at its 3rd Palm Dialog event during the in-cosmetics global exhibition. “This is an important milestone for the cosmetics industry’s progress towards sustainable palm – and some of our customers have already made the step,” said Xavier Susterac, Senior Vice President BASF Personal Care Europe. The decision to offer palm-based specialties only as certified in line with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) ‘Mass Balance’ standard is the latest move in BASF’s initiative ‘Time for Change’. The company has made a commitment to switch about 330 palm-based products to ‘Mass Balance’ standard in the course of 2018 globally. ‘Mass Balance’ (MB) is one of the RSPO supply chain models that foster the physical flow of certified raw materials within the oleo-derivatives supply chain. “By enhancing our IT processes, we are making it easier for our customers to change to MB ingredients,” said Isabella Tonaco, who is responsible for Global Sustainability Palm Products at BASF.

BASF steps up palm traceability
BASF produces palm-based ingredients for cosmetic products, detergents and cleaning agents as well as foodstuffs. The majority of oil palm products used by BASF are based on palm kernel oil and its derivatives; to a lesser extent on palm oil. Palm cultivation is linked to deforestation, loss of biodiversity and social conflicts in the producing countries – mainly Indonesia and Malaysia. BASF has therefore committed itself to source only RSPO-certified sustainable palm kernel oil by 2020. However, currently less than 20 percent of the global supply of palm-based oils is available as certified sustainable. In the difficult market environment of 2017, BASF purchased 153,000 metric tons of RSPO-certified palm kernel oil and made significant progress regarding traceability. In 2017, the company was able to trace almost 80 percent of its overall oil palm exposure of more than half a million metric tons. The certified sustainable oil is 100 percent traceable and originates from 204 oil mills in Indonesia and Malaysia (2016: 128), according to the second BASF Palm Progress Report.

BASF Palm Dialog discusses industry’s impact
On April 18, BASF hosted its third Palm Dialog on the industry’s impact and progress towards sustainable palm during the in-cosmetics exhibition. This provided an opportunity for personal care ingredient suppliers and cosmetic manufacturers to discuss the latest trends and developments in the oleo-chemical industry and engage in dialog with experts. The BASF Palm Dialog is a crucial element in the company’s commitment to fostering collaboration among stakeholders along the value chain.