Evaluating sustainability in the process sectors

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Europe invests €millions each year to develop new technologies and modify processes and products to bring resource and energy efficiency improvements. However, in order for EU stakeholders and industry to see the true value of these new technologies and modifications, and make informed decisions surrounding their adoption, a consistent approach is needed to assess the sustainability impact across the full value chain. This is particularly challenging when it comes to assessing sustainability across sector boundaries, or in a data lean environment.

The European process industries recognise that assessment of sustainability is an essential component of their business management. As such, many sustainability indicators, tools and methodologies already exist. However, these vary widely in their sophistication, applicability, maturity and usability thereby limiting broad cross-sectoral implementation.

Consequently, three projects have recently been funded through the Horizon2020 SPIRE Public-Private-Partnership to coordinate studies of current approaches, with the aim of delivering:

  • Recommendations for the current use of sustainability indicators, tools and methodologies for the SPIRE sectors. These can be used for future SPIRE and other H2020 funded projects to determine the overall sustainability benefits and impacts of the projects.
  • Identification of gaps in the available tools
  • Recommendations for future research needs and standardisation
  • A harmonised roadmap summarising the recommendations across the three projects (available at the end of December 2016)

In order to look at certain aspects of sustainability evaluation in more detail, the three projects have specific focus areas:

MEASURE focus: in-depth cross-sectorial life cycle based evaluation approaches supporting sustainable supply chain management
MEASURE partners: 
Friedrich-Schiller University Jena (coordinator: Dana Kralisch), Evonik Industries, Procter & Gamble Services Company N.V., ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe, the Technische Universität Berlin as well as the Universities of Cambridge, Manchester and Ghent

STYLE focus: pragmatic sustainability tools that can be used by non-specialists
STYLE partners: 
Britest (coordinator: Amy Peace), Arcelor Mittal, Britest, Carmeuse, Holcim, IVL, RDC Environment, Solvay, Tata Steel, Utrecht University and Veolia

SAMT focus: industrial best-practice and opportunities for cross-sector assessment of energy and resource efficiency
SAMT partners: 
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (coordinator: Tiina Pajula), Fundacion Tecnalia Research & Innovation, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment & Energy, CEMEX Research Group AG, Suez Environment, Neste Oil Corporation, Bayer Technology Services GmbH, BASF SE, Asociación Española de Normalización y Certficación and Norsk Hydro ASA

The projects will be engaging with the broad process sector community through stakeholder workshops, the development of industrial case studies, in-depth interviews, questionnaires, consultations and webinars. The projects are keen to get involvement from a wide range of stakeholders, including:

  • Process sector industries (cement, ceramics, chemicals, engineering, non-ferrous metals, minerals, steel and water representing big and small companies)
  • Sector representatives and trade associations
  • Research organisations and academia
  • Representatives from other H2020 projects that have sustainability evaluations included
  • Public sector bodies
  • Finance and investment organisations
  • Non-Governmental Organisations
  • Standardisation bodies
  • End users/ customers of the sectors

If you are interested in being a stakeholder in the projects, or just to be kept informed of progress, please complete the following questionnaire by 6thMarch 2015: