150 years of creating chemistry

by Tania Wannenburg

BASF in South Africa celebrates its 150th anniversary with an interactive programme.

Since 1865, global science and research company BASF’s winning recipe has been to recognise societal trends and the needs of people, and with collaborative research and development find new and innovative solutions to meet these challenges.

Turning 150 this year, the company is still striving to be innovative and progressive, even in celebrating this milestone. BASF has launched its anniversary Creator Space™ programme to explore new ways of communication and collaboration over the next year and beyond. The three anniversary topics posted focus on urban living, energy and food.

Laurent Tainturier, senior vice-president for the EUE region, including CIS-Middle East-Africa, explains: “Today’s requirements and the expectations of society are much more complex. But our focus is still on improving people’s quality of life. This, however, should not come at the expense of the next generations. When we conduct research today, we keep one guiding principle in mind: sustainability. We treat resources with care and respect and strive to strike a balance between all three dimensions: economy, environment and society.”

Addressing challenging issues around energy, food and urban living, Tainturier adds: “It is critical that a company such as BASF addresses the challenges facing our planet, including those of energy and food resources, as well as urban living. In 2050, the world’s population will reach nine billion with 70% of people living in cities. Resources are already scarce and we have only reached almost seven billion people.”

Collaboration to innovate
From its early beginnings, BASF has worked closely with university researchers, scientists and chemists. According to Joan-Maria Garcia-Girona, vice-president and head of BASF in South Africa and sub-Sahara Africa, this anniversary is seen as an opportunity to open up in ways that go beyond these proven collaborations.

“The way in which innovations arise has changed considerably compared to the past,” he says. “This is because of new methods of communication as well as a different self-awareness and changed expectations of people. They want to solve societal problems and make their contribution. They discuss it online, on blogs and social networks. We are convinced that when we add the expertise from chemistry and other industries to these ideas, we will be closer to finding answers for the challenges of today and tomorrow.

“We want to initiate something new with our anniversary and try out new ways of working together over the next year – both within BASF and with people outside the company. We see the Creator Space™ programme as a great opportunity to bring BASF closer to our target groups.”

The South African anniversary programme
Locally a number of highly interactive events will be hosted throughout the region involving scientists, customers, business partners and employees. Events will range from employee jamming sessions, which will challenge staff across all levels to come up with innovative solutions to societal issues, to participation in leading national science festivals and competitions.

Tel: 011 203 2422
Website: www.basf.co.za

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