Dr. Thomas Narbeshuber
Head Country Clusters Austria, Czech Republik, Slovakia and South East Europe
With the SEEBALANCE® method, our first az utmost important goal is to make sustainability holistically measurable and assessable, and to incorporate the gained results in important decision-making processes in our business activities.
Industry: Pharmaceutical industry
Date: 2005, review 2017
Solutions of the macro-sustainability challenges
Provide an adequate variety of sustainable products and services which are affordable and available for the majority of the population
What´s the solution?
SEEbalance® refers to the SocioEcoEfficiency Analysis developed by BASF firstly in 2005. The analysis is used to evaluate different product and process alternatives and allows for a direct comparison of these alternatives. The sustainability dimensions – economy, environment and society – are taken into consideration. SEEbalance® is an innovative tool that bundles various methods of analysis, allowing to assess not only the environmental impact and costs of products and processes but also the societal impacts thereof.
The design of the methodology was the result of a cooperation between BASF and various academic research institutions including the Institute for Geography and Geoecology of Karlsruhe University, the Ökoinstitut e.V. and the University of Jena. When BASF first introduced SEEbalance® in 2005, being able to show and assess all three pillars of sustainability in just one weighted result was seen as a novelty.
Since then, the methodology has continuously been further developed. As part of the improvement process, BASF paid close attention to external developments: just recently, the social dimension of the analysis has been updated. The optimization took place according to the latest insights and standards which BASF had for instance gained at the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics or at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
In the new SEEbalance®-methodology, the economic and ecological factors are measured with the “Eco-Efficiency Analysis”. In addition, SEEbalance® also considers relevant findings about the social impacts of products and process alternatives. Social criteria and objectives – such as education, health or working conditions – are becoming increasingly important which is why these factors are also addressed by the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
The updated tool aims to undertake the complex translation of translating social aspects into values, numbers and information. After the update, economic and ecological factors still remain important components of the SEEbalance® methodology. In addition to the “EcoEfficiency Analysis”, a “Social Analysis”, which measures social aspects in two steps, is part of the methodology.
In both steps of the “Social Analysis,” the social conditions of workers, consumers and society are analyzed and evaluated. In the first step, a “Social Life Cycle Assessment” takes place which is used to analyze and transparentize product information from data banks and companies along the entire value chain of a product. In the second step, a “Social Hot Spot Assessment” comes into play, meaning that social hotspots of each value chain are analyzed and evaluated in detail. They are linked to the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) to show improvement potentials.
The new SEEbalance® method can be applied in different fields of applications, predominantly in supporting strategies focusing on sustainability aspects, Procurement, Politics and Advocacy, Marketing as well as together with customers.