BASF will release data on the carbon footprints of its entire portfolio of approximately 45,000 products by the end of 2021 as it seeks to help customers measure and reduce emissions through the supply chain.
The chemicals major says the calculated footprints for each product will include emissions that occur up until the product leaves its factory gate, including from the raw materials it purchases and the energy used in its production processes.
BASF said the methodology for calculating its Product Carbon Footprints (PCFs) follows standards for life cycle assessment, including ISO 14044, ISO 14067, and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Standard.
Christoph Jäkel, Head of Corporate Sustainability at BASF said the company is committed to introducing product-specific guidelines for calculating carbon footprints in the chemical industry in order to improve comparability.
“With the help of PCFs, our customers can identify where the levers for avoiding greenhouse gas emissions are. We are already offering them the opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint of selected products by using alternative raw materials and renewable energies,” Jäkel said.
This includes offering customers products that incorporate biomass and recycled plastic feedstocks.
Reacting to the news, Adisa Azapagic, Professor of Sustainable Chemical Engineering at the University of Manchester, UK said: “Carbon footprinting 45,000 products is a very ambitious but a welcome activity that will contribute towards greater transparency in the chemicals sector. It is hoped that other companies will follow this lead and make their data available in the public domain.
She added: “However, it is important to ensure that the carbon footprints are estimated rigorously and according to the existing life cycle assessment standards. It is also essential that these estimates be reviewed and verified by independent critical-review panels.”
Azapagic adde that development of the “product category rules” for chemical products is needed to ensure that all companies follow the same methodology and that the results are comparable.
Jäkel noted that BASF is working with others to promote standardisation, but the company has declined to provide further information on who its partners are.
Last year, BASF announced plans to achieve CO2-neutral growth to 2030. This includes researching and developing new low-emission processes, increasing process efficiency, and purchasing power from renewable sources.
At a research press conference, BASF employees discussed their work to replace fossil-fuelled furnaces with electric ones, producing hydrogen from methane pyrolysis, developing new catalysts for olefin production, and using carbon dioxide as a feedstock.
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