We hear a lot about the use and alternatives of single-use plastic these days. But another type of plastic is embracing a new ambitious business model: Vinyl.
Vinyl is ubiquitous in our daily lives, and nowhere more so than in infrastructure. Nearly three-fourths of all vinyl in the US is used in building and construction applications; it plays a critical role in clean water delivery and wastewater disposal; electrical, cable and communications wiring; and hundreds of life-saving medical devices and procedures.
But our daily lives are changing, as climate change looms and desire for sustainable, responsibly sourced products increases. The fact is, the health and future market success of vinyl is inextricably linked to the health of our planet and its natural resources.
This connection is of critical importance to those in the vinyl industry, like myself, because vinyl is uniquely suited to help solve the coming century’s unprecedented dilemmas with overpopulation and increasingly strained resources. This oft-repeated statistic may now seem trite, but by 2050, Earth’s population is on track to top 10 billion. And our already strained natural resources can’t stretch to meet the needs of this population boom. That means we need materials that can sustainably deliver life-saving healthcare solutions, sustainably get clean water to those in need, and sustainably improve the energy efficiency in our homes and buildings and fuel efficiency in our transportation.
Vinyl is one of those materials.
As the vinyl industry meets this challenge, we are innovating to seize the opportunity. We are advancing sustainability practices across the value chain; expanding our successes in recycling and advancing protection of the environment; ensuring the safety of our 350,000 workers and the nearly 3,000 communities where we are located. It also means ensuring those advancements generate a return on investment, in part by making sure customers know who has stepped up to lead in the sustainability arena.
That’s where +Vantage Vinyl™ comes in. The +Vantage Vinyl initiative is the brain-child of the Vinyl Sustainability Council (VSC), a collaboration of vinyl companies and stakeholders launched in 2016 to develop a plan for sustainable development.
+Vantage Vinyl — which is kicking off today at SB’19 Detroit — is built on two-prongs: verifiable action on sustainability goals, and a route to realizing a return on this investment.
Any vinyl value chain company with US operations can join. Participants will set and meet annual goals in three priority impact areas: landfill diversion, health and safety, and emissions. The VSC tracked these three priority areas to three specific UN Sustainable Development Goals, where the industry can make even more significant, measurable contributions: clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), industry innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9) and responsible production and consumption (SDG 12). Vantage Vinyl is partnering with GreenCircle Certified, LLC — an independent third party — to verify and report on key performance indicators achieved by each participating company.
Inaugural +Vantage Vinyl members include Oxy, Shintech, Westlake Chemical, Formosa Plastics, Sika, Chemours, Mexichem and PolyOne.
Participants will use the +Vantage Vinyl trademark — to display anywhere from product labels to websites to ad campaigns. The +Vantage Vinyl marker will be a consistent sign across the vinyl value chain of responsible practices, a signal to consumers that a brand is a trusted leader in sustainability.
Our changing environment, consumers, and marketplace presents a challenge for all industries. We see this evolution as vinyl’s biggest opportunity. We’re ready to rise to meet it.