A new initiative to advance sustainability efforts throughout the vinyl industry launched June 3 at the Sustainable Brands conference in Detroit.
The effort, called +Vantage Vinyl, is being spearheaded by the Vinyl Sustainability Council, which was created in 2016 by the Washington-based Vinyl Institute to promote best practices and innovation.
"Vantage Vinyl is the industry's path to advance sustainable development throughout the supply chain," Ned Monroe, president and CEO of the Vinyl Institute, said in a news release.
The program's goals are to meet customer demand for responsibly sourced products and materials as well as reduce companies' environmental footprints. For starters, participants will focus on landfill diversion, health and safety, and emissions.
The trio of targets was selected from the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals as arenas where the U.S. vinyl industry can make an impact, VSC Executive Director Cristian Barcan said in a phone interview. A task force will oversee each target, creating goals and key performance indicators to encourage the owners of nearly 3,000 vinyl manufacturing facilities to participate.
Some progress has been made, said Barcan, who is also the vice president of sustainability and industry affairs for the Vinyl Institute. However, much more can be achieved, he added.
Specific goals involve pushing recycling efforts beyond the 1.1 billion pounds of vinyl recycled annually in the U.S. and Canada; increasing emphasis on workplace health and safety initiatives and product stewardship policies designed to minimize user exposures; and identifying ways to continue reducing direct emissions from production plants.
Companies that contribute to these goals on an annual basis will be eligible to use the Vantage Vinyl trademark.
"We're working with stakeholders to create preferences for participating companies," Barcan said. "If a retailer or brand owner have their own sustainability goals, selecting a supplier with Vantage Vinyl will help you reach those goals."
One major stakeholder, Lowe's, is on board as a VSC member.
"Their involvement is good news," Barcan said. "They use a lot of products either made of vinyl or with vinyl so they have a vested interest. Because of their support, we've had great success with suppliers of Lowe's paying attention."