Eco-efficiency for competitiveness14 February 2005
BASF recently helped train Unido employees in innovative textile and leather processing at a workshop in Casablanca (Morocco). The purpose of the event was to train staff from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in 'efficiency for the company and for the environment.' The aim of the project was to show attendees how to manufacture and finish textiles and leather articles both economically and ecologically. In December 2004, participants from five African countries were taught how to apply BASF's eco-efficiency analysis. This analytical tool is to be used increasingly in Africa to develop cost-efficient production processes with minimal environmental impact. The workshop was held under the auspices of the UN Global Compact initiative, of which BASF is a founding member. 'To remain competitive in the long term, textile and leather manufacturers in Africa must meet economic and ecological requirements', says Dr Andreas Kicherer, who helped develop the eco-efficiency analysis at BASF and organised the workshop in Morocco. In addition to being subject to local legal requirements, manufacturing plants must satisfy the stringent quality and environmental conditions of their customers, for example name-brand suppliers, as well as the demands of consumers in importing countries, which is what makes methods for the economic and ecological evaluation of production processes indispensable. However, access to such technologies and methods is not readily available to what are mostly small or medium-sized businesses. This was why, in addition to the Unido staff, a number of Moroccan textile and leather manufacturers were invited to the BASF workshop. Together they discussed the potential of the eco-efficiency analysis using specific examples from plant practice. 'By promoting sustainable business management in African companies, BASF is consistently implementing the objectives of the Global Compact', says Dr Brigitte Dittrich-Krämer, responsible for ecoefficiency at the BASF Sustainability Center. The Unido staff trained by BASF will make their know-how widely available in the future and provide expert advice to textile and leather companies in their home countries. A piece of specially developed software will enable them to calculate key production data. The results will make it possible to improve the eco-efficiency of the various production phases in textile and leather processing. BASF's eco-efficiency analysis is constantly being further developed and adapted to new requirements. In addition, BASF offers textile and leather manufacturers eco-efficient products, so that textile and leather processing can be made even more environment-friendly and cost efficient in future.