Sustainable developmentSustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The concept is key to the whole European PVC industry, not least the pipes sector.
PVC pipes' contribution to sustainable developmentIn 2015, the UN adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to integrate and balance the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
A recent peer-reviewed scientific article documents that PVC pipes can contribute directly to a number of the 169 targets within the SDGs and have an enabling effect on others. By providing safe, durable and cost-effective piping systems for drinking water, PVC pipes can help achieve Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation and its targets to improve access to safe and affordable drinking water, improve water quality, and increase water-use efficiency.
Piped water enables developmentIn developing countries in particular, access to piped, clean water can have a massive impact. Women, who most often are responsible for supplying drinking water, experience greater equality (Goal 5) and because time is freed up they have easier access to education (Goal 4). Other positive effects of clean water transported through pipes linked to the SDGs are improved food production (Goal 2 – Zero Hunger), which enables Good Health and Well-being (Goal 3). Piped, clean water also lifts the pressure on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (Goal 15 – Life on Land and Goal 14 – Life Below Water).
VinylPlus® – the Voluntary Commitment to sustainable development by the European PVC industryVinylPlus® is the Voluntary Commitment to sustainable development by the European PVC industry. The programme establishes a long-term framework for the sustainable development of the industry by tackling a number of critical challenges, in the EU-28, Norway and Switzerland. The progress is monitored by an independent Monitoring Committee and documented by yearly Progress Reports that are independently audited and verified by third parties.
Since 2013 VinylPlus® has been a member of the UN's Green Industry Platform. VinylPlus® is registered as a SMART partnership on the UN Partnerships for SDGs platform and listed as a Good Practice on the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform. In January 2018, VinylPlus® together with five other European plastics organisations launched Circularity Platforms aiming to reach 50% plastics waste recycling by 2040.
Praise for VinylPlus® comes from a wide range of stakeholders, including the European-Commission and the UN.
Measurable targets and deadlinesOne of the most important challenges is to recycle 800,000 tonnes of PVC/year by 2020. In 2017, almost 640,000 tonnes of PVC were recycled. Since 2000, 4.2 million tonnes of PVC have been recycled. Another key challenge is the sustainable use of additives, which led to the replacement of lead-based stabilisers for PVC applications, including pipes, in the EU-28 by the end of 2015.
"In the race for sustainability the laggards will lose. We see the VinylPlus initiative as the forerunner and role model for a global standard of the industry"
Christophe Yvetot, UNIDO Representative to the European Union, Vinyl Sustainability Forum 2015, Cannes