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Home EFC News BASF South Asia Chairman Dr. Raman Ramachandran who delivered the key note address ....
BASF South Asia Chairman Dr. Raman Ramachandran who delivered the key note address .... PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 22 December 2017 00:00
BASF South Asia Chairman Dr. Raman Ramachandran who delivered the key note address at the inauguration of the 2017 symposium of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) themed, ‘Sustainable Enterprises- creating value’, noted that sustainable sourcing practices at workplace and motivating employees are the two key elements which would ensure the stability, the future and the sustainability of a company. Following are the excerpts of a pre-symposium discussion Dr. Ramachandra had with the EFC:

Q: How important it is for organizations to champion sustainable practices at all levels including economic, social and environmental?
 
A: Sustainability, by its definition, encompasses the three dimensions of economy, society and environment. There is growing recognition in the private sector of the pivotal role that it can play in creating a more sustainable world. Organizations are increasingly emphasizing a holistic approach to business which encompasses all the three dimensions of sustainability. Organizations are not only voluntarily adopting greater sustainability in their operations but also increasingly moving towards transparent and integrated reporting of sustainability. BASF, for instance, publishes an integrated Annual Report that covers its environmental, economic and social performance.
Organizations are a pivotal part of an emerging ecosystem that is pushing sustainability to the centre stage. There is increasing pressure from consumers and investors to adopt more sustainable business models. According to Nielsen’s 2015 report on new insights on consumer expectations, 66 % of global consumers say they are willing to pay more for sustainable brands—up from 55% in 2014 and 50% in 2013. Investors today are increasingly factoring climate risks into their decision making. They are considering both climate risks and opportunities that a company’s products pose as also environment related regulations that may affect the company’s profits in the future. Governments too are enforcing regulations for a more sustainable world. International treaties like the Paris Treaty on Climate change, by setting country specific goals, are obligating all stakeholders, including the private sector, to move towards more sustainable policies and practices. Today, therefore, for organizations, there is both an internal and external impetus towards greater sustainability.
 
Q: What is the impact of ‘sustainable practices’ in generating employment and retaining talent within an organization?
 
A: Employees, especially the younger workforce, increasingly view organizations through the prism of the value they bring to society. According to a 2011 Deloitte study, 61% of millennials feel a company’s commitment to the community would influence their career choice. Therefore, organizations that are committed to sustainability would find it easier to attract the best talent. BASF is committed to playing its role in helping achieve the UN SDGs through its sustainable products & technologies and its abiding commitment to society. In 2016, BASF spent Euro 47 million in donations and sponsorships for social causes.
Organizations that have well defined human resource policies, that place the employee at the center stage, are more likely to retain talent. At BASF we follow global labour and social standards. Our voluntary commitment to respecting international labour and social standards is embedded in our global Code of Conduct. This encompasses internationally recognised labour norms as stipulated in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the Tripartite Declaration of principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
We are also committed to the safety of workers in the production process and globally we have a specific sustainability goal of reducing worldwide loss-time injury rate per one million working hours to less than 0.5 by 2025. We also have a firm belief in promoting diversity as a part of the company culture and have set a global target of having 22-24% women in leadership positions with disciplinary responsibility by 2021. We have already achieved 19.8%. We also believe in striking the right balance between professional and personal life. In Sri Lanka, we have introduced flexi-working hours and a work from home policy. In addition, we have amended the leave policy to allow leave for bereavement, marriage and maternity.  
 
Q: How important it is to create a business-enabling environment by all stakeholders (both state and private) concerned in championing sustainable enterprises?
 
A: It is very important to create an enabling environment for encouraging organizations to adopt more sustainable practices. Policy makers have an especially important role to play in creating such an environment. Supportive regulations play an important role in this regard. For example, in the social dimension of sustainability, Governments are increasingly encouraging organizations to adopt CSR programmes. Many countries are adopting voluntary guidelines while some like, India, have enacted a law that mandates compulsory CSR spending. 
Well-conceived environmental regulations by Governments also play an important role in creating a supportive environment for adoption of sustainable practices. As the world witnesses increasing environmental threats, countries are introducing regulations for protecting the environment and countering the threat of climate change. Carbon tax, in some form or the other, is applicable in many countries and this, by discouraging the use of fossil fuels, is opening up new sustainable business opportunities. The rapidly growing renewable energy space is an example of how environmental regulations are opening up business opportunities for the private sector. 
International treaties like the Paris Treaty on Climate Change are also playing an important role. Goals set under Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by each country have defined the contours of each country’s climate policy. The success in achieving NDCs will depend crucially on the contribution of the private sector. 
The involvement of other important stakeholders like civil society, academia and environmental organizations are also critical. It is important that all these stakeholders work closely with the Government and private sector to help create a supportive ecosystem for a more sustainable world. 
 
Q: What are some of the key best practices adopted by BASF in relation to sustainable enterprise?
 
A: Sustainability is at the core of BASF’s existence. We carry out our corporate purpose, “We create chemistry for a sustainable future,” by pursuing ambitious goals along our entire value chain.
BASF is a solution provider in the field of sustainability. We undertook a massive sustainable solution steering exercise to classify all of our 60,000 products and solutions into four categories. The leading category is accelerator products, which have a substantial sustainability contribution in the value chain. These accelerators find a natural fit in addressing many of the mega sustainability challenges we confront – air pollution, waste management, transportation, affordable housing and malnourishment. Nearly 27% of BASF sales come from such products.
BASF spends nearly 2 billion Euro annually on R & D, 60 % of which is spent on developing products with excellent sustainability performance. These products have helped avoid emissions of 540 million tons of CO2 equivalent by our customers in 2016.
 
BASF has clearly defined Sustainability goals. Some of these are listed below
 
Products and solutions2020 Goal  Status at end of 2016 
 Increase the proportion of sales generated by products that make a particular contribution to susta¬inable development (“Accelerators”)  28% 27.2%
 Energy and climate protection  
 Coverage of our primary energy demand by introducing certified energy management systems (ISO 50001) at all relevant sites4 90%  43%
 Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions per metric ton of sales product (excluding Oil & Gas, baseline 2002)(40%)(37.2%)
   
 Water 2025 Goal   Status at end of 2016
 Introduction of sustainable water management at all production sites in water stress areas and at all Verbund sites (excluding Oil & Gas) 100%  42.6%
 Employees 2021 GoalStatus at end of 2016
 Proportion of women in leadership positions with disciplinary responsibility 22–24%  19.8%
 Production 2025 Goal Status at end of 2016
 Reduction of worldwide lost-time injury rate per one million working hours ≤0.5 1.4
 Reduction of worldwide process safety incidents per one million working hours ≤0.5  2.0
 
Our voluntary commitment to respecting international labour and social standards is embedded in our global Code of Conduct. This encompasses internationally recognised labour norms as stipulated in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the Tripartite Declaration of principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

 

 
 
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:17