On November 8, an in-depth conference was held to explain what voluntary EPD product certification consists of and to present EPDItaly, the Italian program operator within which companies can publish their EPDs, obtaining visibility at national and international and communicating to the market, in a clear and transparent way, the environmental impacts of its own product or service. The goal was to highlight the advantages of this type of certification in terms of image and marketing for those who decide to certify their products using the EPD, especially according to a circular economy logic.
The meeting began with an intervention by Alfredo Martini, director of Civiltà di Cantiere, who showed some data from the Centro Studi di Intesa Sanpaolo in which the future economic scenario is outlined, which must necessarily be based on a type of economy circular. “The move to renewable energy will result in a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions. The remaining 45% comes from the way we produce / use products, produce food and manage arable land. Using a circular economy approach in five key areas (cement, plastic, steel, aluminum and food) can eliminate almost half of these remaining emissions. ” Intesa San Paolo has set aside a € 5 billion Plafond to grant credit at the best conditions to the most innovative companies in the field of the Circular economy. Eligibility is assessed through five access criteria developed in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
Lorenzo Orsenigo then took the stage, who illustrated the benefits of EPD and how EPDItaly can facilitate the spread of sustainable products on the national and international market. He stressed that sustainability has become a necessity more than an email today: “A cultural change is underway in which environmental sustainability is part of the“ generational pact ”. Sustainability will certainly be a key element for the evolution of the market in the coming years, there are many signals that reach us: GPP, CAM, Procurement Code, incentives … The European Commission undoubtedly considers sustainability in construction one of the strategic lines of development for the next few years: it is up to companies and businesses to take measures. ”Orsenigo underlined how those who have the possibility of offering the market products with EPD certainly have a competitive advantage because investing in sustainability, in addition to obtaining economic advantages in production, can also access markets that may otherwise be closed to them. “EPDItaly intends to pursue the objective of establishing a point of reference for all Italian producers, in all product sectors, who want to enhance the sustainability of their products on the Italian and international market”, were his conclusions.
Then Anna della Valle, a researcher who brought her contribution on how certification can support a circular economy, intervened for the Polytechnic of Milan. “What is waste for one industry can become a resource for another. The principle is based on the idea of closing the cycles of production activities. The concept can be applied on different scales: to a city with the concept of urban mining which sees the city as a mine of materials to be reused or, for example, to a building that, understood as a material bank, attributes value to materials and construction products stored in buildings.
Dalla Valle has shown how a product can become sustainable both through a recycling process and through the use of other production processes. Products and materials can be recycled, with a pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled content, and recyclable at the end of their life cycle. “This concept is very important, especially in light of the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98 / EC, which has set a recycling target for construction and demolition waste of 70%, to be achieved in 2020”.
After these general framework interventions, we then heard the “voice” of the companies that have already chosen to use EPDItaly to enhance their EPD certified products. The representatives of some leading groups for the production of building materials spoke: Diego De Santi of Isolconfort, Silvia Serri of Marazzi, Giulio Barison and Carlo Ceschia (Ferriere Nord / Pittini Group) and Michele Destro of the Stabila Group. Each of them exhibited their own path and explained how they came to choose to certify the products and then to promote them with EPDItaly. Everyone expressed satisfaction with the instrument, agreeing that it is a real “showcase” for those who choose a market based on sustainability principles. Some pointed out the difficulties of a type of certification which, until recently, was only an international prerogative and therefore based on very general criteria that were not very suitable for the Italian reality which has a complex and articulated construction system. With the advent of EPDItaly, a reference has been found that is closer to the needs of Italian companies and therefore more easily usable.