The claim has been made following an international study which assessed the sustainability performance of nine global chemical companies in monetary terms. Entitled Sustainable Value Creation by Chemical Companies, it has been published by a leading European research team including academics from Queen's University Management School in Belfast.
The study identified significant differences in the sustainable performance of chemical companies. It showed the leading companies, Air Liquide and BASF, using their resources up to five times more efficiently than their competitors.
In 2007, this meant that both Air Liquide and BASF companies created a sustainable value of around one billion Euro, creating around one billion euro more cash flow than their competitors on average would have created with the same amount of resources.
Correcting these results for company size, Bayer, which uses its resources 1.2 times more efficiently than its competitors on average, catches up with BASF.
Among the resources assessed in the study were total assets, water use, chemical oxygen demand of waste water, hazardous waste creation, emissions of greenhouse gases and volatile organic compounds, as well as acidification potential. Social indicators such as number of employees and accidents were also included in the assessment. The analysis is based on the financial, environmental and social data reported and published by the companies themselves.
The study calculated each company's sustainable value – the first monetary assessment of corporate sustainability performance for chemical companies which takes into account financial, environmental and social resources.
Only the French industrial gas producer Air Liquide outperforms Bayer and BASF in terms of resource efficiency, using its resources 1.7-times more efficiently than its competitors on average.
At the bottom of the ranking is the US company Dow Chemical (DOW). In 2007 DOW used its resources only half as efficiently as the competitors on average and created a negative sustainable value of -2.2 billion Euro. Like DOW, DSM and AKZO were not able to generate a positive sustainable value in any of the years assessed.
Other companies studied include Du Pont, Reliance and Shell Chemicals.
The sustainable value approach was developed by Professor Frank Figge of Queen's University Management School Belfast and Dr Tobias Hahn of Euromed Management School Marseille, who authored this study with researchers from the Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment in Berlin.
Professor Figge explained: "Sustainable value is created when a company uses its resources more efficiently than the market average.
"Companies have highly developed tools to measure their use of the resource economic capital. The sustainable value approach now allows them to measure the use of their environmental and social resources in economic terms.
"The study shows that there are significant differences between the sustainability performance of the different chemical companies. Our study shows in which areas the companies outperform compared to their peers and where they are lagging behind.
"In comparison to other studies looking at the sustainability performance of this sector, our study looks at the 'real' performance, which considers environmental and social impacts."
Professor Figge added that the approach was similar to the methods used by financial analysts to compare data on companies.
"Previous studies have often looked at qualitative indicators and have used intransparent weighting of the different criteria. Our study is based on economic theory and provides companies with an unprejudiced assessment of their performance. The results can be used by companies to find out where they stand compared with their peers and also to identify the individual strengths and weaknesses of their performance."
Both the study and extensive information on the Sustainable Value approach are available at www.sustainablevalue.com.
Notes to Editors
Professor Frank Figge from Queen's University Management School is available for interview.
Among the resources assessed are total assets, water use, chemical oxygen demand of waste water, hazardous waste creation, emissions of greenhouse gases and volatile organic compounds, as well as acidification potential. Furthermore social indicators such as number of employees and accidents were included in the assessment. The analysis is based on the financial, environmental and social data reported and published by the companies themselves.
The sustainable value approach applied in this study has been developed by Prof. Frank Figge of Queen's University Belfast and Dr. Tobias Hahn of Euromed Management School Marseille. Before this survey, the approach had been tested and refined in two extensive comparative studies funded by the European Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Previous research that involved an application of the Sustainable Value approach to a range of chemical companies triggered public interest and sparked discussion within the industry. BASF SE expressed an interest into how its efficiency gains documented in these regional assessments would translate into an evaluation of its sustainability performance relative to major chemical companies worldwide.
Therefore, it provided substantial financial support for the present survey along with funding by the research institutions involved in the study. The independent researchers would like to make it clear that the study's findings are wholly independent of any input from funders outside of the data supplied and assessed for every company included in the study.
Lisa McElroy | EurekAlert!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy