BASF is the first chemical company to achieve gold-level certification according to the European Water Stewardship (EWS) standard for its production site in Tarragona, Spain. In order to attain this certificate, auditors of third party certification body TÜV Nord Integra assessed the entire water management performance of BASF’s production site, from extraction of water at its source to its reintroduction in downstream water bodies. The European standard was developed by governments, businesses and NGOs under the leadership of the independent organization European Water Partnership (EWP) and became effective at the end of 2011.
The application of the EWS standard aims to lower the quantity of water used by companies and farms while simultaneously safeguarding the integrity of local ecosystems within the vicinity of the site. The assessment includes more than 50 indicators, addressing the four principles of water stewardship: sustainable water abstraction, ensuring good water status, protection of high conservation areas and equitable water governance. Amongst others, the assessment requires a water recycling strategy and a cohesive crisis management strategy to be in place. “The Tarragona site fulfills the required criteria and receives the gold certification,” said Friedrich Barth, Vice-Chairman of the EWP. The production site is certified for a period of three years, during which water management on-site is inspected annually. Bart Maes, General Manager of TÜV Nord Integra congratulated BASF as international company with awareness of the utmost importance for water as a restricted resource of the future.
BASF uses water as a coolant, solvent and cleaning agent, as well as directly in chemical production. The company has implemented the standard in order to promote its global water goals. By 2020, BASF wants to reduce the withdrawal of drinking water from supply sources for production by half compared with 2010. The emissions to water of organic substances and nitrogen are to be reduced by 80 percent, the emissions of heavy metals by 60 percent, compared with 2002.