Additive Sustainability Footprint

What is the Additive Sustainability Footprint tool?

Through a ten-step approach, the Additive Sustainability Footprint (ASF) tool allows its users to assess and promote the sustainable production and use of PVC additives across entire product life cycles, including the role of additives in the performance of PVC products. The ASF tool is an industry-wide methodology based on the Sustainability Life Cycle Assessment approach developed by The Natural Step.

VinylPlus®, the Voluntary Commitment to sustainable development of the European PVC industry, proactively developed the ASF tool to ensure:

1. Additives are sustainably produced using materials that are responsibly sourced
2. Additives support the sustainable management of PVC products
3. The functional benefits of the additives enable PVC products to support sustainable development, including the UN SDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals)

More than 200 different additives are used to convert PVC into thousands of applications. These additives provide a wide range of benefits to PVC products and allow these products to efficiently meet fundamental human needs, for example through improved longevity and lifetime service, reduced maintenance and replacement costs, and enhanced functionality and recyclability.

Why is ASF necessary?

Many tools are used by industry to assess chemical and product sustainability. Each has a different purpose and scope and does not necessarily provide insights or address considerations related to PVC additives. 

The ASF tool allows its users to look beyond current legal expectations towards future demands, risks and opportunities driven by sustainability considerations.

Benefits of ASF

For the converters:

  • Increase awareness of the additives and supply chains related to PVC
  • Understand how to guide dialogue with suppliers on specifications to makeformulations and products more sustainable
  • Make informed decisions on additives to be used
  • Earn a higher audit score for criteria 6.1 of the - VinylPlus® Product Labeland thus increase the visibility of a product

For the additives producers:

  • Understand the sustainability performance of additives in specific product applications
  • Understand how to guide dialogue with customers on specifications that makeproducts more sustainable
  • Become a supplier of choice for converters by using an industry-consistent approach
  • Prioritise innovations enabling the highest sustainability performance

For industry and society:

  • An industry-wide methodology using inputs from best practice procedures (REACH, LCA, PEF [1])
  • A tool enabling communication on the contribution of additives towards sustainable development
  • Evidence for regulators and legislators that a risk-based approach across whole product life cycles offers greater insight and impact than a simplistic hazard-based approach
  • A depth of analysis adapted to different budgets and timeframes

How does ASF work?

Online toolbox modules have been developed in order to better understand ASF, assess the sustainable production and use of additives, and innovate to achieve a higher sustainability performance.

  • The Natural Step and Principles of Sustainability
  • Towards the Sustainable Production and Use of Additives
  • Additive Sustainability Footprint - An Introduction
  • ASF Foundations - Framework and Methodology

Want to run an assessment for your own additives in your own product?

Any VinylPlus partner is invited to assess the sustainable use of additives within its own specific products. Please contact VinylPlus if your company would like to run a specific assessment.

More information on ASF can be found in Mark Everard's and Richard Blume's article

Additive sustainability footprint: Rationale and pilot evaluation of a tool for assessing the sustainable use of PVC additives

[1] REACH: Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals
LCA: Life Cycle Analysis
PEF: Product Environmental Footprint