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The Life Cycle of a Crop Protection Product

Stewardship is a life cycle approach to product management. It is the ethical way to manage crop protection products from their discovery and development, to their use and final disposal.

Female farmer picking plums

A shared responsibility

Ultimately, product stewardship is a shared responsibility. It calls on all of us in the product life cycle – research and development, production, transport, farmers and disposers – to behave ethically and work together to support health and safety as well as reducing waste and other environmental impacts.

An integral part of our daily work

Each and every one of our employees along with farmers and others in the supply chain has a responsibility to make health, safety and environmental protection an integral part of their daily work.

Product stewardship informs our decision-making

Every day, we make decisions, guided by the principle of maximizing benefits and minimizing risk to human health and the environment. We constantly refine our processes in order to make the most efficient decisions early on – from research and development, to production to the farmer’s use and the final disposal of product packaging.

Safety to the forefront

We promise to never compromise on safety. We will continue to reach out to those, both within our industry and to farmers to share best practice. We will continue to invest in farmer training. We will continue to lead and shape the debate on sustainable agriculture. We will move forward together.


The life cycle of a crop protection product in detail:

The aim of our Research and Development is to develop new active ingredients and products and to improve the efficacy and safety of older ones using better formulations, packaging and delivery. Technology advances focus on meeting sustainable development objectives as well as improving crop yields. We work to develop products that are biologically efficient, environmentally sound, user friendly and economically viable. This all requires considerable effort and investment and time for development and testing.

Environmental protection, protecting health and ensuring safety are priority values and business principles. Our involvement in the chemical industry‘s Responsible Care® program reinforces the importance we place on corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices during the manufacturing phase.

This global initiative is designed to improve continuously the performance of all responsible care codes, namely environmental protection, occupational health and safety. These codes focus in particular on expected management practices in specific areas of manufacturing, and the handling of chemicals during transport and warehousing.

Preparing for the journey:

we follow industry-leading guidelines for the preparation, loading and transport of our crop protection products. We provide extensive training to our transport contractors and regularly audit their performance against international and company guidelines. In the event of any accident, emergency plans are in place to rapidly address the incident directly.

Making labels easy to understand:

we use prominent, easy-to-understand symbols and pictograms on our labels and screw caps, which help to transcend language and literacy barriers. This minimizes the risk of instructions being ignored, mislaid or misunderstood for distributors and farmers.

Keeping our products in the right hands:

full, but also empty crop protection product containers need to be handled safely. We recommend industry-leading guidelines and standards for the storage of our products in warehouses, provide extensive training to our distributors/retailers and carry out audits to check compliance and give advice how to collect, recycle or dispose empty containers.

Integrated Pest Management – or IPM as it is commonly known – is a sustainable system for managing pests, weeds and diseases using the best combination of cultural, biological and chemical measures, which provides the most cost effective, environmentally sound and socially acceptable method to grow a crop and safeguarding crop yields and the environment.

Training farmers in Integrated Pest Management is a key focus of our stewardship program, conducted in cooperation with our industry associations, Crop Life International and other partners.

The responsible use of crop protection products is the basis for protecting the health of farmers and consumers, as well as the environment. Focus of these activities is raising farmer awareness and training in the area of responsible and judicious use of crop protection products. The understanding of and adherence to label requirements, the use of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), and the consideration of specific product stewardship advice during mixing, loading and product application by farmers are all essential elements to protect farmers health and the environment, as well as achieving an efficient protection of the cultivated crop.

BASF as a company, and in cooperation with our Plant Science association, CropLife International, engages actively to improve and broaden the responsible use of our products in all world regions. We promote the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the uptake of good agricultural practices at farm level, including product retailers, distributors and agricultural advisors. In order to broaden the outreach and to improve the effectiveness of our training programs, we often team up with external partners.

Listening to the farmer: the right product packaging plays an essential role in the correct delivery and application in the field. In response to that, we pioneered the development of a closed-transfer system for Crop Protection product containers. This ensures the farmer an improved and easy-to-use method of handling crop protection products during the mixing, loading and rinsing cycles. Another great challenge is the disposal of empty product containers. Empty containers in the field or inappropriate re-use of empty containers poses a potential risk to the environment and to human health. As part of our commitment to the life cycle approach to product stewardship, we work with associations and governments to implement empty container disposal programs and collection schemes around the globe.

Our Crop Protection stewardship approach is a win-win for all stakeholders involved. For consumers, it means safe and affordable food, all year-round. On the farm, it translates into a safe working environment where biodiversity can flourish and water is conserved. In terms of food production, product stewardship delivers strong yields to nourish our growing world.