(Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash)
The word sustainability is entering the dictionary of the most innovative companies. To carry out activities really oriented towards sustainable development means that you are able to combine strong company strategies with education, research and experimentation of innovative solutions. For this reason, Stamplast has started its journey form the evaluation of the environmental performance.
The management of the company has taken part to learning activities online and face-to-face in order to examine the guidelines and technical aspects of the evaluation of the environmental performance.
As teachers, we have involved the experts of Green Decision under the collaboration with Ca’ Foscari University. Aiming at sharing some key concepts, we have interviewed Lisa Pizzol, president and CEO of Green Decision.
Lisa Pizzol, president and CEO of Green Decision.
Why is the evaluation of its environmental performance important for a company?
“The evaluation of the environmental performance allows us to avoid, diminish or keep under eye the negative environmental impact caused by the production activity and, on the basis of this evaluation, to be able to improve the environmental performance. More precisely, the estimate of the carbon footprint is going to allow Stamplast to understand how the company activity influences the phenomenon of the climate change and to check how its climate-altering gas emissions progress over time, also as consequence of management of emissions. This can lead, at the same time, to produce economic benefits, as for example energy saving”.
The urge to reduce the climate-altering emissions has come out with more and more strength in the public debate. The Countries have undertaken commitments and are asked to honour them. The citizens can do their part by behaving consciously. What is the role of the manufacturing industry in this path of mitigation?
“The urgency to reduce the climate-altering emissions is clearly highlighted in the European Green Deal, our new growth strategy in the EU, that has as major objective the limitation of the global warming increase and the achievement of the carbon neutrality within 2050.
For sure, the manufacturing industry plays a relevant role in the path of reduction of gas emissions, as, in Italy, it contributes to the 14% of the greenhouse gases. The boost towards more sustainable environmental policies has produced a steady reduction of the emissions that, in the period 1990-2019 in this sector, have diminished by 46,2% (Data ISPRA 2021)”.
Have you noticed a change in the company policies?
“Inevitably we are experiencing a change in the company policies to meet the pressure of the decision-maker, but also of the public opinion more and more sensitive to the environmental issues.”
Sustainability doesn’t relate just to the environment, but also to the economic resources and the social welfare. Nevertheless, we all associate to the word ‘sustainability’ one colour, green. Do you think that environmental sustainability includes in a certain way also the other dimensions?
“The sustainable development leans on three pillars: environmental, economic and social pillar. The strong attention paid to the environmental issues tends to shift the focus to the environmental pillar, maybe because the need to protect our planet as supplier of fundamental elements for the humans’ lives is more and more perceived. Therefore, we can claim that without the environment, the society couldn’t have existed, and on the other hand, without the society there couldn’t be an economic system”.
Carbon footprint, what is it and how can you calculate it?
“The Carbon footprint (CF) is a methodology standardised by the ISO 14064 and 14067 for the estimate of the greenhouse gasses emissions directly or indirectly associated with a product during its whole lifecycle, with an organisation or a service. The CF is measured in CO2 equivalent (carbon dioxide equivalent).
In the measurement of CF are included the emissions of all greenhouse gasses (GHG) produced in every step of the supply chain, starting from the extraction of raw materials to the disposal of the waste generated by the system itself.”
How does CF differentiate from life cycle assessment?
“LCA is an objective methodology regulated by ISO 14040 – 14044, that calculates all the environmental impacts of a product or a service along its lifecycle, from the extraction of raw materials to the final disposal.
LCA includes different categories of environmental impacts, as for example the acidification of waters, the eutrophication, the depletion of the ozone layer, the exhaustion of mineral and fossil resources etc. Among these categories there is the contribution to climate change or the increase of anthropogenic greenhouse effect (Global Warming Potential – 100 years), measured on the base of the quantity of emissions of CO2eq. Basically, the carbon footprint is a specific aspect of an analysis of the product lifecycle.”
What is EU Plastic Strategy?
“The strategy as regards plastics is a key element of the European Union transition towards the circular economy and zero emissions. It was born with the idea of reducing the dependence on fossil fuels, prompting the creation of a European internal market of recycled plastics. Moreover, the aim of the Strategy is to transform the way the plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled, asking from the very first: can this good be reused? Or recycled? This strategy has another important objective: the reduction to the minimum of the circulation of single use plastic goods, which are easily disposed in the environment, causing the problems we are aware of.”
The team of Stamplast with the teachers
Which role do the education and scientific research play in the stimulation of the design of more sustainable products in their whole lifecycle?
“They are crucial, because they give the necessary tools to the companies to fill the gaps in the market or be among the first players to drive the trends of their sector. They allow a solid vision of future scenarios thanks to the human capital that feeds the firm through new competences in constant update. Moreover, the strong drive of the last years towards more sustainable and circular products is changing the labour market, which requires specific professional figures that can tackle these challenges.
Education and scientific research are crucial also in this aspect, as they boost the creation of these new figures more and more required by the firms. Companies, already today, are limited in their path towards more and more sustainability of their productive processes because of the lack in specialised personnel.
How is Stamplast facing this transition?
One of the advantages of GreenDecision is the possibility to collaborate with the students of the second-cycle degree and PhD in Environmental Studies of Ca’ Foscari University. This is for example the case of the workgroup that supports Stamplast, composed by Anna Carlesso, PhD student, Arianna Livieri and Michele Molin, graduates in Science Studies. Stamplast has organised this educational journey for all managers and executives in order to spread this culture in the company, starting this forward-looking strategy of medium-to-long term.”