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BASF Corporation, New York, has adopted a new analytical tool to help identify products and production processes that consume less energy, produce fewer emissions and less waste than alternatives, while maintaining or improving the products' commercial value in North American markets.

The tool, called eco-efficiency analysis, was first introduced by BASF AG (NYSE: BF) in Germany in 1996. It has been used to identify opportunities for improving the ecological and economic profile of more than 100 different products and processes.

Eco-efficiency analysis helps determine which products or production processes will have the least impact on the earth's resources while delivering a more economical product. The analyses have influenced BASF business decisions ranging from capital investments and production techniques, to acquisitions and other business portfolio adjustments, product positioning and expected customer benefits.

In North America, the tool is being applied to products ranging from asphalt microsurfacing to nylon used in recyclable commercial carpeting and automotive parts. Other analyses focus on building materials, automotive coatings, plastics and adhesives.

Applications and methodologies of the analyses were presented today in a briefing for representatives of environmental, trade and general business media organizations.

According to Walter Seufert, president of BASF's worldwide Environment, Safety and Energy Division, "The purpose of eco-efficiency analysis is to harmonize economy and ecology. We want to manufacture products using the least amount of natural resources--raw materials and energy--and avoid generating environmental emissions as much as possible."

He added, "Our products should also help customers conserve resources and assets when they are used, for example, by offering a long service life. This means that we will manufacture products that are safe to produce, safe to use and safe to dispose of."

Eco-efficiency analysis assesses the life cycle of a product or manufacturing process from "cradle to grave," he explained. It addresses the environmental impact of products used by BASF as well as raw materials manufactured by others. The analysis also investigates the consumption behavior of end-users and various recycling and disposal options.

In assessing environmental impacts, five categories are examined, including raw materials consumption, energy consumption, air and water emissions and disposal methods, potential toxicity and potential risks.

As a companion to the environmental analysis, an economic analysis is also performed, accounting for all costs incurred in manufacturing or using a particular product. The economic analysis and the overall environmental impact are used to make the eco-efficiency comparisons.

Economic and ecological data are then plotted on a graph, revealing the eco-efficiency of a product or process compared to competing products and processes.

"While it's important for today's analysis," Seufert adds, "this tool allows us to look into the future because we use eco-efficiency analysis to make strategic decisions and to help detect and exploit potential ecological and economic improvements."

An example of such strategic decision making was outlined by Michael Stumpp, group vice president - Colorants, Leather and Textile Chemicals for BASF in North America. Stumpp described an eco-efficiency analysis of alternatives for dyeing leather.

The main factors influencing this study's results included process and chemical costs, wastewater quality, occupational hygiene and disposal of solid production waste and used leather articles.

Harold L. McDonald, BASF Corporation executive vice president responsible for ecology and engineering, explained that eco-efficiency efforts in North America will allow BASF to develop a more competitive edge in markets characterized by customer demands for improved environmental and performance attributes from their suppliers' products and production processes.

"Our ability to develop improved environmental profiles for our products and processes can only help us to compete in a global economy," McDonald said. "BASF's creativity, reliability and technical know-how have long been applied to `making products better.' Now we're looking to make products more efficiently and more benign across the products' entire life cycle.

"We've seen the strong results of eco-efficiency analyses elsewhere within BASF and we're pleased to adopt the tool more widely here in North America." McDonald noted that the eco-efficiency tool is also consistent with the chemical industry's Responsible Care(R) initiative.

McDonald also explained that the eco-efficiency tool is just one aspect of BASF's global commitment to long-term sustainable development. "Fulfilling the goals of sustainable development starts with making decisions about what we produce and how we produce," McDonald said. "By developing and applying tools like eco-efficiency analysis, we are gaining information that will guide our decision-making and help us minimize the impacts of our products and processes on our natural resources."

BASF Corporation and its subsidiaries is the third largest producer of chemicals and related products in the United States, Canada and Mexico, with sales of $7.2 billion in 1999. Based in Mount Olive, New Jersey, BASF Corporation is the North American affiliate of BASF AG (NYSE: BF) of Ludwigshafen, Germany.

"We don't make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better(R)." summarizes BASF's diverse product mix including chemicals, polymers, automotive and industrial coatings, colorants, pharmaceuticals, nylon fibers and agricultural products. BASF in North America employs more than 16,000 people at more than 50 locations and has an Internet site at . Slogan is a registered trademark of BASF Corporation.

For more information, visit or call 973/426-2305.
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Publication:Industrial Environment
Date:Dec 1, 2000

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