Moving toward an integrated approach requires the vinyl industry to take a hard look at everything it is doing now to determine what tweaks and tough choices will allow manufacturers to do more with less.
This integrated approach includes a five-step process that can be embedded in a branded sustainability performance for the entire vinyl industry.
Step 1 is a materiality assessment.
Working through the Vinyl Business and Sustainability Council, the vinyl industry is in the initial stages of a materiality analysis. This assessment will provide us with an overall snapshot of how the industry is doing in the environmental, social, and economic spheres and where we could do better. The aim of such an assessment is to identify issues, or “hotspots” as they are referred to in sustainability terms, and changes (e.g., emissions, wastewater use) we can put in place to have the biggest immediate payback.
Doing this work right involves identifying the major categories of importance to each vinyl industry market segment (e.g., water use, biodiversity) and understanding which categories matter to our external stakeholders.
A materiality assessment is just the first piece in our purpose-driven sustainable roadmap.
Once the materiality assessment is complete, the next steps are:
- Life-cycle assessment (LCA) to map the environment impact of a vinyl product from the raw materials to recycling and/or disposal.
- Addressing hotspots, including creating a clear sustainability strategy and communicating with stakeholders (e.g., architects, designers, consumers) on the progress made to date.
- Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals for moving forward.
- Reporting ongoing progress on achieving continuous improvement.