Interview with Paolo Perani, Environmental Sustainability Manager of ABB, Distribution Solutions Division

Enel’s Global Procurement initiative to involve its suppliers globally, across 13 product categories, in order to enhance their performance through the EPD environmental label, is certainly ambitious and cutting-edge. How ready was your organization for this type of request?
ABB welcomed Enel’s global procurement initiative. The topic of sustainability has deep roots in ABB, which published its first sustainability report in 2000 and began publishing product EPDs in 2002. In November 2020, ABB declared its sustainability strategy aiming for 2030, including also aspects of the environmental sustainability of products, in addition to those of its own factories and the supply chain. In these two years of intense collaboration with Enel, we have appreciated the systematic nature and concreteness with which Enel is pursuing these approaches, solving all obstacles one at a time in a proactive way. An example that I like to point out is that relating to PCR. The PCR (Product Category Rules) are those rules that uniquely define how the environmental performance of a product is to be evaluated, and take into account many parameters, including the expected hours of daily operation, the useful life, or the actual degree of test with respect to the maximum permitted performances. On the basis of the enormous experience accumulated in its plants, Enel has proposed a specific PCR dedicated to equipment for electrical distribution, which has enabled its suppliers to provide environmental performance that is increasingly responsive to actual use.

Which product of your company has obtained the EPD? What are its main features?

ABB has so far certified the EPD of 9 products, based on Enel’s PCRs, covering different types within three of the 13 categories that are the subject of Enel’s analysis. They range from low voltage to medium voltage switches, up to medium voltage switchboards with air or gas insulation.

The EPD published by the Program Operator EPDItaly enjoy national and international visibility. Based on your experience, what are the main benefits obtained from the publication of the Environmental Product Declaration? What are the repercussions on the final consumer / or on your stakeholders?

The collaboration with a Program Operator and the publication of an EPD on its website is an indication of the seriousness, transparency and concreteness that involves the product and its entire supply chain. The Program Operator ensures the accuracy of the data used to calculate the life cycle, the completeness of the list of materials and related processes, verifies the part of company consumption to be ascribed to the single production line and goes on to analyze the aspects of the end of life. I think that the main impact on the end user of our products is the availability of a validated and correct report of environmental performance, which can certify the commitment with which we select our supply chain, design our models and make them more sustainable. our factories.