Sustainability Now At Core Of BASF’s Business

Sustainability Now At Core Of BASF's Business

BASF hosted a media summit earlier this month to discuss sustainability as a grounded approach for growers. Greenhouse Grower caught up with Jan Buberl, director of specialty products at BASF, who outlined the chemical company’s sustainability initiatives.

BASF deals largely with row-crop farmers yet also serves the greenhouse floriculture market. Have you found greenhouse growers are more or less receptive to sustainable business practices, in your experience, than row-crop farmers?

First, I think sustainability applies to everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re a greenhouse grower or an outdoor grower. Their needs are different. We see a need for (sustainability) in all market segments, and we need to offer both more sustainable solutions that benefit their needs in the long run.

What factors does BASF take into account in determining which products are sustainable and which are not?

To determine whether a product is sustainable or not, you have to put that product into the whole context of the production system. Take the example of a greenhouse: A lot of different factors enter the equation. (BASF’s) Eco-Efficiency Analysis system analyzes the full footprint of the value chain, from the production of the active ingredient to the final outcome of the product. We take a lot of different aspects of conservation into account–the use of water, energy and land–to determine the eco-efficiency of our products.

There are a couple of new BASF products that have been deemed sustainable under BASF’s Eco-Efficiency Analysis system. Has BASF tested existing products to see whether those are sustainable or not under the Eco-Efficiency Analysis?

We have tested some existing products, but certainly this formal testing and having a complete analysis is intensive. We will do that with two of our new innovations–on the pest control side and the other on the turf and ornamentals side. We will provide the results of those two products when the time comes.

Is it the supplier’s role to promote the product as a sustainable one down the supply chain or is that the responsibility of the grower, retailer and others who may work more directly with our industry’s consumers?

We see sustainability as a key need for our customers. Whatever we can provide to promote sustainability, we are happy to do. So what we can do at that point in time is enable growers with the tools to at least have a sustainable production system and product. I think the dialogue with the grower is important, because a fear we have is that sustainability becomes just a buzz word and something without practical application. It’s important for the grower to be able to see one product is more sustainable than another. And if we can help promote their product at the next level, we would be happy to do so.

A dilemma can emerge when competing greenhouse chemical companies develop sustainable products yet measure sustainability differently. So how does the grower choose a vendor when standards are different?

That’s why it’s important to have dialogue with the grower. At BASF, we have more than just the concept–there’s science behind it, we can calculate, we can compare and we can actually go into a dialogue and challenge elements of it. I think this whole practical approach makes it much more tangible than just, ‘Hey, a product is more sustainable.’ There’s something behind it now, and that’s why we are very confident customers will understand this concept and take it from there.

How has research and development within BASF changed as sustainability becomes a core part of the company’s offerings?

We have a whole team working on sustainability, doing these eco-efficiency analyses and learning more. In the context of doing more research on water efficiency, we fine-tune every day more the way we calculate the output. We use a lot of third parties around the globe to help us because it’s important sustainability isn’t just triggered by us, but that it has third-party validation. It has to be validated by third parties.

Learn more about BASF at betterplants.basf.us.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

More From Crop Inputs...
Hendriks-Half-Open-Roof_GGS

March 26, 2015

10 Greenhouse Products For First-Rate Growing Environments

From coverings to fork-lifts, greenhouse suppliers offer a variety of products to make growing easier. Check out the slideshow to learn more about these, plus several other products that can offer you value, versatility and durability.

Read More
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Horticulture Priorities

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadlines Approaching

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More
Latest Stories
OxiPhos_BioSafe2

March 23, 2015

BioSafe Makes Label Changes To OxiPhos And ZeroTol 2.0

There have been some recent label changes made to the BioSafe Systems product OxiPhos, a systemic bactericide/fungicide that reduces downy mildew spores when tank mixed with ZeroTol 2.0.

Read More
Nufarm_logo

March 23, 2015

Nufarm Fungicides Now Registered For Use On Edible Crop…

Nufarm Americas announced label expansions for two of its fungicides that will provide more pest management options for the ornamental industry. The Cleary 3336 F and EG fungicides are now registered for use across a wider range of edible crops, including select greenhouse vegetables and transplants, herbs and backyard fruit.

Read More
ColeusDMLeafSporulation_Daughtrey

March 11, 2015

Research Gives Clues For Preventing Coleus Downy Mildew

Maintaining awareness of coleus downy mildew is more important than ever to safeguard these attractive plants for reliable garden performance.

Read More
Rose Rosette on Knockout rose, May 2013. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 2, 2015

Rose Rosette Disease Fight Gets A Boost From Government…

In 2014, $4.6 million was awarded through the Farm Bill to tackle rose rosette disease, a devastating pathogen that affects one of the industry’s most important crops.

Read More
Fig 1 Leafy Gall On Leucanthemum Becky

March 2, 2015

How To Prevent Leafy Gall Before You Lose Plants

Leafy gall is a nasty disease that can go undetected until plant damage is done. Take these steps to protect your crops from infection.

Read More

February 17, 2015

A New Look At Biological Control: Can Plants Affect The…

The success of a biological control program depends on a number of factors including quality of natural enemies, timing of release, release rates and environmental conditions. However, what is typically not taken into consideration is how plants can affect the performance of natural enemies, including attack rate and searching ability. Biological control agents work hard to protect plants, but plants have ways to help themselves, too.

Read More

February 1, 2015

New Pest Control Products For Your Toolbox

Add one of these new insecticides to your IPM program for successful pest control.

Read More
IR-4_profile_Feb2015

January 29, 2015

IR-4: A Pest Management Resource For Growers

Almost 40 years ago, IR-4 (Interregional Research Project Number 4) began serving the ornamental horticulture industry, helping to facilitate the registration of pest management tools. IR-4 does this primarily by surveying growers about their pest management issues and then hosting workshops to review survey results and set priorities for the coming years. Most recently, IR-4 coordinated a meeting of researchers and industry members on pollinator health and neonicotinoid chemistries to start a discussion on the needed research. The next step will be to get the outcomes from that workshop out to the public.

Read More

January 28, 2015

Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow: Peace Tree…

Lloyd Traven, a speaker at the upcoming Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow, was one of the industry’s early adopters of biocontrols in the greenhouse. Traven, owner of Peace Tree Farm, is evangelical about the technology as an effective tool for resistance management, as well as improved plant quality that contributes to a grower’s bottom line.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Southwest Perennials Improves Production, Shortens Crop…

A father-and-son team find LEDs deliver a higher rooting rate for cuttings propagated under the lights.

Read More
Wainwright-web-620x349

January 22, 2015

Quality Control With Biocontrols

Make sure the shipment of beneficials that just arrived is viable and ready to go to work in your greenhouse, nursery, or field. Here are five steps you can take to ensure success with your biocontrols.

Read More

January 9, 2015

6 New Fertilizer Products For Healthy Plants

These five products add even more options for delivering nutrients to the root zone.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Fertilizers And The Future

As growers look for new ways to cut costs and conserve resources, fertilizer and equipment companies are offering products that strive to save water, reduce toxic runoff and keep chemicals out of the equation.

Read More

December 31, 2014

Gain Greater Control Of Fertilizer With Automated Ferti…

University researchers look at integrating irrigation and fertilization with the help of water sensors to reduce fertilizer treatments and improve application timing.

Read More
As directed by EPA, the bee hazard icon appears in the Directions For Use for each application site for specific use restrictions and instructions to protect bee and other pollinators.

December 9, 2014

Fact Sheet: The Value Of Neonicotinoids To Turf And Orn…

An extensive study of the diverse turf and ornamental industry (“The Green Industry”) reveals that neonicotinoids are the top-rated products used by professionals to control their most important pests in greenhouses, landscapes, lawns, nurseries and trees.

Read More
As directed by EPA, the bee hazard icon appears in the Directions For Use for each application site for specific use restrictions and instructions to protect bee and other pollinators.

December 9, 2014

New Study Finds Neonicotinoids Are Top-Rated Products F…

According to results of a survey by AgInfomatics, professionals in the turf and ornamental industries fear the loss of neonicotinoid products would reduce the quality of their plants and services, increase costs and negatively impact their ability to manage pest resistance.

Read More

December 2, 2014

Grow-Tech Announces BioStrate, Its Newest Hydroponic Gr…

Grow-Tech LLC recently announced the release of BioStrate Felt, a biobased textile specifically engineered for the growing of hydroponic microgreens and baby salad greens.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Former Harris Seeds Co. CEO, Per Jensen, Passes At 85

A passion for plants defined long-time industry influencer.

Read More