Brighter Living Solutions

Better for people and planet

Sustainable portfolio steering

As a purpose-led, performance-driven company we take our responsibility to create brighter lives for all very seriously. A key element of this is to provide our customers with sustainable solutions, enabling them to solve societies most pressing challenges.

At DSM we create insight into the sustainability profile of our solutions through a sustainable portfolio steering methodology. The products and services that we consider to be delivering a sustainability benefit whilst doing no significant harm to people or planet, are identified and designated as being Brighter Living Solutions Plus (BLS+). 

More than a decade of positive impact

DSM has been at the forefront of developments around measuring the environmental consequences of what companies do with the introduction in 2010 of our Eco+ indicator to determine the environmental performance of our products and innovations. In 2016, we introduced our Brighter Living Solutions (BLS) program, combining our environmental assessment (Eco+) with a social assessment (People+). These assessments could be based on either a comparative life cycle assessment or a comparative expert opinion.

DSM products designated as BLS were found to have a demonstrably better environmental and/or social performance when compared to a mainstream reference solution. In 2021, 64% of our sales were made up of Brighter Living Solutions. 

Measuring the sustainability of all our products

DSM has evolved its BLS methodology to allow for greater comparability, to support reporting against new and future requirements of regulating authorities, and to provide transparency on our contribution towards achieving the UN SDGs. Our Brighter Living Solutions Plus (BLS+) indicator takes our BLS methodology and provides a more structured, holistic assessment tool combining major sustainability themes that impact people, livelihoods and the planet, which can be applied across DSM’s entire portfolio.

Within this new sustainable portfolio steering methodology, all products are assessed using a standardized approach. This captures the product’s performance against the corporate requirements related to product stewardship and social accountability. It then guides the evaluation against 11 sustainability impact drivers considering both the sustainability benefits and risks of the product in its application.  

The outcome of the assessment places a product into one of three performance categories: “Outperforming”, “Performing” or “In Transition”.

If the assessment outcome is that a product is potentially “Outperforming”, this outcome will be validated with a comparative life cycle assessment, either an environmental or social assessment.

The standardized assessment supports greater insight into our full product portfolio for greater business steering power. Products identified as “Performing” or “Outperforming” are designated as BLS+ solutions.

Sustainability performance across eleven impact drivers

We have identified 11 impact drivers, with 42 sub-drivers, that address potential impacts on people, planet and livelihoods. Our solutions are assessed for the risks and benefits they deliver towards these impact drivers, based on applicability and relevance. Descriptions below per impact driver are not exhaustive but for illustrative purposes:

1.      Health through Nutrition
         Enable healthy diets, better balanced and affordable nutrition.

2.       Health through Care
          Improve end-users’ well-being and health.

3.       Health Protection
         Reduced hazard exposure, improve sensory comfort - in taste, odour, touch, vision and sound, food

4.      Health Recovery
         Faster recovery, reduced mortality from non-communicable disease, and use of biomaterial                       solutions.

5.       Sustainable Livelihoods
         Community impact: Healthy & safe living conditions, employment and skill development, positive             interaction with small scale producers.

6.      Animal Welfare
        Improve animal lifetime performance and help tackle anti-microbial resistance.

7.       Low Carbon Future (GHG)
         Reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.

8.     Reduced Resource Use
        Reduce food loss and waste, improve process yield, efficient use of natural resources.

9.     Circular Economy
        Use of renewable feedstock, clean label ingredients, and safer material content.

10.   Biodiversity & Ecosystems
        Prevent biodiversity loss, reduce reliance on marine resources, sustainably source raw materials.

11.   Water Stewardship
       More efficient use of water with less waste, plus freshwater protection.

Building on the strong foundations of the BLS program

All product assessments performed up until 2021 for the Brighter Living Solutions program have been executed according to DSM’s corporate sustainability requirements and were subject to reasonable assurance. To ensure that the valuable sustainability information from these legacy assessments remains in scope for the new product portfolio steering indicator, there will be a transition period during which all product categories will switch to the new approach. Validity of current BLS assessments remains intact, unless there are material changes to the data used in an assessment or material changes to the context of an assessment which might invalidate the results. Any product identified as a Brighter Living Solution by means of an expert opinion will be categorized as a “Performing” solution, and any BLS assessed by means of a comparative life cycle assessment will be categorized as an “Outperforming” solution. 


From surgical gowns to food supplements and ingredients, we’re creating Brighter Living Solutions that have a measurably better impact on people and our planet…

Comfort and protection

Our Arnitel® VT is a breathable thermoplastic used in hospital gowns that not only provides great comfort for medical staff, but also keeps them safe by delivering a 100% barrier against fluids, bacteria and even viruses. What’s more it’s 100% recyclable, with no perfluorinated chemicals – a far superior alternative to traditional materials.

Cutting cholesterol with oats

When it comes to fighting cholesterol, the soluble dietary fibers found in oats – known as oat beta-glucan – offer valuable (and scientifically proven) health benefits. Which is why at DSM our bright minds created OatWell®. Made using the finest Scandinavian oats, OatWell is added as a nutritional ingredient to breakfast cereals, biscuits and other grain-based products by manufacturers. Aside from reducing cholesterol levels, it has clinically proven health benefits in blood glucose control and general gastrointestinal health.

Great taste, less salt

Replacing salt in our diets without reducing the taste is a defining challenge for the food industry - which is why we invented Maxarome® a 100% natural yeast savory taste enhancer. In a scientific study conducted in partnership with Unilever we successfully replaced 25% of the salt content in soup with the highly concentrated Maxarome (which represents just 1% of the total recipe). The result: food that tastes good while benefitting health.

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