Blog Type, IPT Blog, Fellowship Type, Industry Visits, Industry Sector, IPT, Manufacturing | August 2016

Angela Smith MP Reflects on IPT Industry Visit to BASF Ludwigshafen

The second visit organized by the IPT to BASF HQ at Ludwigshafen took place last week, just as Parliament went in the summer recess.

In one important respect, the timing was excellent. ‘Brexit’ is a reality we all have to face, given the outcome of the EU referendum, and the trip provided the perfect context for an in-depth discussion about what Brexit should look like and how we should get there. Parliamentarians shared their thoughts with key figures from BASF in a structured and very thoughtful discussion and equally, the company was able to provide a fascinating insight into what industry is looking for from UK politicians as we move into negotiations for withdrawal. The discussion was rigorous and provided perspectives on Brexit which I think were useful not just to the company but the Parliamentarians involved.

The visit was not entirely focused on Brexit, however. Parliamentarians were introduced to the company and enjoyed an opportunity to tour in full the Ludwigshafen complex, with its integrated approach to production. In this respect, BASF demonstrated neatly its early adoption of an approach to manufacturing which is now reflected in the EU’s ‘circular economy’ concept.

We also enjoyed discussions on key issues facing the chemicals industry, including skills and training, the extraction of unconventional oil and gas and EU regulation. The latter theme focused on the development of the Innovation Principle and the potential it offers of arriving at a more balanced approach when it comes to the assessment of new technologies and processes.

Once again, BASF demonstrated a commitment to placing sustainability at the core of its business. In that respect, the visit succeeded in demonstrating to Parliamentarians that science and manufacturing have a major role to play in providing sustainable solutions to the challenges facing us globally.

On behalf of all the Parliamentarians involved, I thank the IPT and BASF for making this visit possible.

Words by Angela Smith, Member of Parliament for Penistone and Stocksbridge.