Respecting ecological balance, avoiding depleting natural resources, replacing waste with recycling, efficiency and protecting the climate
Since the acceptance of the concept of Sustainable Development (SD) (world conferences of Rio de Janeiro 1992 and others) it is accepted that SD is based on three pillars, namely environment , economy and society .
The environmental impact of PVC products has been investigated in numerous studies, quantified in many life cycle analyses and compared many times to products made from alternative materials. The latest and most comprehensive study was a Review commissioned by the EU. It showed PVC products to be comparable to alternatives in their environmental impact. The strongest aspects of PVC products are performance and cost; PVC products are amongst the lowest cost products for a given performance. Cost effective products can positively contribute to all areas of SD:
• Cost effective products save scarce money , so they are favourable to a sustainable economic development.
• Cost effective products are more affordable to socially disadvantaged people, not only in industrialised but more so in developing countries and the saved money can be used to optimise social development. Both points are favourable to sustainable social development.
• The money saved by low cost products can be used to optimise environmental development, so they are favourable to a sustainable environmental development too.
The huge potential impact of low cost products made from PVC can be shown easily: With only 0.5 % of the cost of PVC-products one can compensate the entire Greenhouse Gas effect (100%!) caused by them. Investing this small amount of money into environmental improvements allows the creation of products which are still very competitive whilst achieving a much lower environmental impact than their alternatives.
The social benefits of PVC products result from the facts mentioned above, as well as in the convenience, safety and durability of PVC products. In addition, after many years of sustained efforts, worker safety has reached a very high standard in the chemical industry altogether compared to other industries.