Measuring Environmental Impact in a Systematic and Rigorous Way
RadiciGroup is committed to measuring the environmental impact of its entire production chain from upstream to downstream, that is, from base polymer to engineering plastics down to synthetic fibres and non-wovens, in a systematic and rigorous way, and provide verifiable and comparable information based on scientific data. How? Firstly, by defining and developing production chain Product Category Rules (PCRs). These rules establish how to measure and quantify product environmental impact performance – using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) technique – and are needed to prepare an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).
But that is not all. Radici Chimica SpA, a RadiciGroup chemical company, has recently signed an agreement with the Italian Ministry for the Environment to trial test a new method to determine the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) for its production chain. This methodology was set out in Recommendations recently issued by the European Commission with the objective of harmonizing the existing methodologies to assess the life cycle environmental performance of products and companies as a basis for providing reliable information to consumers.
Production Chain PCR Project
RadiciGroup prepared and submitted three PCRs for representative products from its plastics and fibres production chains for review by the Technical Committee of the Sweden-based International EPD® System and received approval. Included were polyamides 6 and 6.6, from monomers to engineering plastics, and man-made fibres, from yarn to fabrics and non-wovens, and typical plastic production waste.
This was an important achievement for RadiciGroup – the result of almost a year’s work, which represented a conceptual shift and an innovative methodological approach for the industrial sectors concerned. The Group was the first worldwide to submit the concept of a “production chain” PCR to the International EPD System and receive positive feedback. Today, the rules developed by the Group and validated by the International EPD® System (a Europe-wide, well-respected EPD scheme) are a global reference point and model for anyone working in the sector who wants to measure the environmental impact performance of its products. The uniform application of the LCA technique to the production chain (polymers, engineering plastics, man-made fibres and nonwovens) facilitates the preparation of the EPDs for Group products. Thus, RadiciGroup is in a position to help its downstream customers not only to prepare the same environmental declarations for their own products, but also to perform a knowledgeable assessment of the environmental awareness of their suppliers.
For RadiciGroup, the next logical steps after the definition of production chain PCRs are writing EPDs for its products and trial testing of the new European methodology for the measurement of the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and the Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF).
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RadiciGroup is one of the world’s finest producers of polyamide and polyester engineering plastics. In the plastics sector, RadiciGroup – a leading Italian multi-national in the chemical and synthetic fibre sectors – is one of the world’s finest producers of polyamide and polyester engineering plastics, with operations located in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Six production plants, strategically located in Italy, Brazil, USA, Germany and China, offer processing, quality control, research and technical development support. RadiciGroup products in the plastics field are used widely in the automotive, electrical/electronic, industrial and consumer sectors. For more information, visit www.radicigroup.com.