THREE KEY AREAS OF FOCUS
UW-ELAST has mapped its environmental impact and has chosen to focus on mainly three areas in order to effectively reduce it:
- By always offer the customer the right polyurethane of the highest possible quality
- By constantly work to reduce our climate footprint through active improvements throughout our value chain
- To compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions that still occur as an effect of our operations, both directly and indirectly.
Below we describe these three ways of reducing our climate impact in more detail.
1) TO ALWAYS OFFER THE CUSTOMER THE RIGHT POLYURETHANE OF THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE QUALITY
All manufacturing, regardless of the choice of material, has an impact on the environment.
Manufacturing 1 kg of polyurethane creates greenhouse gas emissions throughout the production chain. Everything from raw material production, electricity consumption, casting, and finally transport of finished product to the customer leaves an impact.
Undoubtedly, the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to minimize the need for new products. By having a huge material palette of different polyurethane qualities and a very large material knowledge, we can always, with the help of the customer’s specific needs, choose the right polyurethane for the right application.
All polyurethane grades have their advantages and disadvantages. And if we can choose the right polyurethane quality, we can minimize unnecessary replacements prematurely. By choosing the right polyurethane quality we can often double the lifespan of a product, and roughly reduce the product’s total environmental impact by half. This is sustainability in its purest form – sustainability both for the environment and also from a technical point of view!
A large material palette to choose from together with great material knowledge is thus a sustainability measure that we highly prioritize. A good choice of polyurethane is not only positive for the environment but also for our customers!
Since polyurethane is a polymer that stands out as being one of the most durable on the market today, it also promotes this choice in comparison with a simpler polymer that has a more limited lifespan.
2) CONSTANTLY WORKING TO REDUCE OUR CLIMATE FOOTPRINT THROUGH ACTIVE IMPROVEMENTS THROUGHOUT OUR VALUE CHAIN
To constantly work to reduce our environmental impact is a matter of course for us. UW-ELAST has for many years actively worked to reduce its environmental impact. This has now become a natural part of the company’s work processes.
According to environmental certification ISO 14001: 2015, there are also requirements that the environmental goals should be efficient. Reduced emissions and waste are not only a benefit for the environment and the climate but also for companies’ total costs and thus also in the end for the benefit of our customers.
Below are examples of projects that have been implemented and are ongoing within UW-ELAST to reduce our climate impact.
Completed sustainability projects
- Reconstruction of blasting hall for recycling of blasting media
- Replacement of heating system in Mariestad from oil to district heating from local CHP plant with wood chip and sludge heating
- Installation of ventilation units with high heat recovery
- Material exchange project to select the best possible materials for humans and the environment (phasing out 2,2′-dichloro-4,4′-methylenedianiline, MOCA)
- Change to electricity contract with 100% renewable energy (solar, wind and water)
- Climate compensation for the business’ net emissions
Ongoing sustainability projects
- Successive replacement of car fleet to cars fully or partially powered by electricity
- Replacement of heating system in Traryd for a fossil-free alternative
- Investigation of the possibilities with the installation of a photovoltaic park in Mariestad
- Evaluate the possibility of recycling polyurethane by blending granulated polyurethane into specific products to save on raw material production
- Combine different hardnesses of polyurethane when casting to replace constituent metals.
3) HOW WE COMPENSATE THE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS THAT STILL TAKES PLACE AS AN EFFECT OF OUR OPERATIONS
Despite our efforts to constantly reduce our environmental impact, there will still be a net contribution of greenhouse gases as a result of our operations. UW-ELAST wants to take full responsibility in order to prevent climate change.
Therefore, we have chosen to compensate for this emission. Climate compensation should of course be seen as a parallel measure next to the activities to reduce our emissions in total.
Climate compensation means that we actively finance measures outside of our own operations that lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This compensation takes place in the same order of magnitude as the company’s own emissions, directly and indirectly.
We have chosen to compensate for the entire business’ contribution and follow the guidelines for how these are calculated through standards in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol developed by WRI (World Resources Institute) and WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development).
IS CLIMATE COMPENSATION THE RIGHT STEP?
Yes, of course, it’s right. Naturally, the very best thing would be if we could reduce our direct and indirect emissions to zero. However, this is virtually an impossible task for any company, because everything we do that affects our environment has a net contribution that consumes resources and thus contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
But by buying an emission reduction of the same order of magnitude elsewhere, we can actively reduce emissions. UW-ELAST has taken the decision to do this in order to contribute to a better future.