In July 2018, the Industry and Parliament Trust organised a cross-party delegation of UK parliamentarians to BASF's headquarters in Ludwigshafen, Germany, attended by 15 MPs and Peers keen to learn about the chemicals industry and its approach to major industry issues.
BASF’s site at Ludwigshafen is the largest chemical complex in the world and largest BASF interconnected 'Verbund' site, stretching over 10km2 and employing almost 38,000 people. Over the course of two days the UK parliamentarians learned about the importance of innovation and BASF's work in R&D and agritech, and also discussed the perspective of German industry on Brexit negotiations, as well as skills and apprenticeships.
Several attendees commented on what they learned:
Lord Young of Norwood Green:
“As I expected BASF ensured a really good structured visit: we learnt about the history of the company; a good overview of the research facility and the scale of the manufacturing both its size and diversity; their commitment to health and safety and sustainability which was very evident. The agricultural research facility was very impressive. I appreciated the commitment of senior people in the company to give their time to the discussion sessions and the willingness to be open and candid in their contributions made for informative and lively discussions."
Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge:
“The trip was useful in updating and extending my understanding of the chemicals industries, which faces a range of challenges and opportunities. In particular, Brexit raises issues of key concern, especially in relation to the future of chemicals regulation. I thank BASF for providing a programme which stretched our minds in relation to the key issues of the moment.”
“At this critical juncture in UK-EU relations, it was invaluable to join a cross-party group of Parliamentarians to see, first-hand, the intricate supply chains involved in the world’s largest integrated chemicals complex in Ludwigshafen, Germany, run by BASF. It was impressive to see the investment and research that goes into developing many products used extensively in our daily lives, which we sometimes take for granted.
"The BASF concept of “Verbund” encapsulates a highly sophisticated approach to the efficient use of resources. It covers the intelligent integration of production plants, energy flows, and infrastructure as well as customers and expertise. We also met with the influential Federation of German Industries or BDI, to discuss the reaction of German business to Brexit, and how it might be possible to achieve the best possible future trading arrangements following the UK’s departure from the European Union.”