Brighter Living Solutions Plus

Better for people and planet

Sustainable portfolio steering

Brighter Living Solutions Plus

Better for people and planet

Sustainable portfolio steering,an essential element of DSM’s strategy

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 continuously create insight into the sustainability profile of our solutions across social and environmental impact areas. We apply a sustainable portfolio steering (SPS) methodology to identify, and further develop, sustainable and innovative solutions. The outcome of the methodology is our Brighter Living Solutions Plus (BLS+) designation for products, services and technologies that, considered over their life cycle, offer a benefit recognized by key stakeholders, underpinned with scientific evidence, whilst having no urgent negative signals. 

This is reported through our BLS+ indicator, which is the third-party net sales of the products and services that are defined as Outperforming and Performing, as a ratio of total third-party net sales. In 2022, 67% of our sales were considered BLS+. 

BLS+, measuring the sustainability of all our products

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+). 

We have evolved our BLS program to allow for greater comparability, to support reporting against new and future requirements of regulating authorities, and to provide transparency on our contributions towards achieving the UN SDGs. Our SPS methodology builds on our BLS program and provides a more structured, holistic assessment tool combining major sustainability themes that impact people, livelihoods and the planet, and which can be applied across our entire portfolio. The 11 drivers enable us to align the impact of our products more closely with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Within this new SPS methodology, all products are assessed using a standardized approach. This captures the product’s minimum required 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 (LCA). This LCA can be either an environmental or social assessment, or a combination of the two.

The standardized assessment supports greater insight into our full product portfolio to give us 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. The 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 safety.

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 within the product or within the value chain.

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 BLS program were executed according to our 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 BLS+ indicator, there will be a changeover period during which all existing assessments based on the former BLS program will be updated to the new BLS+ methodology. As part of the changeover, all products with valid assessments and which were identified as BLS based on a comparative:

  • Life cycle analysis will be classified as Outperforming
  • Expert opinion will be classified as Performing

Upon the expiry of these BLS assessments, they will be reassessed using the updated SPS methodology.

In addition to reclassifying the assessments that were valid under the old methodology, we will also apply the new methodology to the remainder of the unassessed portfolio. This may lead to products qualifying under the new BLS+ indicator which were not qualified under the previous BLS indicator – products that deliver a clear health or environmental footprint benefit, recognized by stakeholders in the value chain, yet where that benefit is considered on a par with a key competitor.  


From feed additives, immunity strengthening vitamins, to food supplements and ingredients, we’re creating Brighter Living Solutions Plus that deliver a positive impact for people, livelihoods, and the planet. 

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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