“Upgraded TripleS (Sustainable Solution Steering) as a data driven method to boost innovation on “safe and sustainable by design”

⭐ Winners⭐, Safe and Sustainable Chemicals, Germany

A leading initiative by BASF.

BASF, a leading chemical company, has significantly enhanced its sustainability assessment methodology known as TripleS. This upgraded method empowers the early identification of safe and sustainable chemicals, aligning with the Safe and Sustainable-by-Design (SSbD) requirements. It introduces a new Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that signifies outstanding performance in environmental, societal, and economic aspects, particularly in carbon management. This development provides a comprehensive framework for assessing the sustainability of chemicals throughout their lifecycle, fostering innovation while phasing out substances that do not meet sustainability standards.  

Introduction: Mastering the double twin transition in chemistry   

To address the dual challenges of achieving resource efficiency and circularity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and toxicity, the chemical industry must align its practices with sustainable development goals and regulatory changes. By doing so, the industry can become a key contributor to the European Green Deal’s objectives. BASF, in pursuit of its mission to create chemistry for a sustainable future, has been evaluating the sustainability of its entire product portfolio since 2012 using the innovative TripleS (Sustainable Solution Steering) method.  

Objective: Improving existing sustainability profiles and boost innovation with safe and sustainably by design chemicals  

The refinements made to the TripleS method are driven by BASF’s commitment to enhancing its product portfolio’s contribution to climate protection, carbon neutrality, and circularity. Simultaneously, the aim is to reduce toxicological potential while meeting evolving sustainability demands in the markets with innovative solutions. The assessment is designed to be transparent and consistent, providing a clear understanding of sustainability drivers and concerns in the current and future portfolio. This approach strengthens consumer trust in modern chemistry and serves as an early warning system to identify products that may be affected by regulations or negative market perceptions.  

In 2023, the upgraded method will reassess BASF’s entire portfolio of 45,000 products throughout their lifecycles. The results will be consolidated into a new KPI called “Sustainable-Future Solutions,” focusing on the two best-performing segments, with results to be published in early 2024. Moreover, TripleS will guide research and development efforts, integrating with the forthcoming SSbD framework announced by the EU Commission.  


TripleS functions through a two-step cross-sectional approach. First, products are evaluated against basic sustainability requirements, including internal, regulatory, customer-specific, and social criteria. If they meet these requirements, their sustainability contribution is assessed relative to competitor products, covering nine sustainability categories such as pollution reduction, biodiversity, and addressing hunger and poverty. Importantly, the entire value chain, from raw material production to product end-of-life treatment, is considered. TripleS’s success lies in its ability to account for regional and industry-specific variations.  


Products are classified into five segments based on their sustainability performance: “Pioneer,” “Contributor,” “Standard,” “Monitored,” and “Challenged.” “Challenged” products, as in the past, are removed from the market within five years due to significant sustainability deficits. The “Pioneer” and “Contributor” segments represent products that either exceed or meet market standards and significantly contribute to net-zero transformation, emphasizing carbon management and a circular economy.  

Innovation in R&D  

BASF’s substantial investment in R&D has resulted in significant growth, with innovations contributing to high revenues. One notable innovation is B2Last®, a multitasking bitumen additive for climate-friendly roads. This additive, developed in collaboration with the Institute of Highway Engineering in Aachen, Germany, extends the lifespan of roads by up to 50 percent. It reduces rutting, improves durability in extreme weather conditions, and lowers bitumen emissions during construction. These advancements contribute to reduced toxicity and CO2 emissions.  

Enhanced Efficiency and Compliance  

TripleS is being fully integrated into digital processes, streamlining the assessment and reporting processes through automation and data interlinking. It also considers upcoming legal requirements within the chemical industry, such as those introduced by the Chemical’s Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) and international protocols for environment, health, and safety regulations. This ensures that BASF remains transparent, compliant, and supports industry-wide sustainability assessments.  


In summary, BASF’s TripleS method empowers the company’s long-term economic success while simultaneously improving its environmental and social performance. It aligns with the evolving demands of sustainability, regulatory changes, and the pursuit of safe and sustainable chemical solutions. Further, it contributes to a more sustainable future by fostering innovation and responsible chemistry in the industry.  

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