Responsible sourcing helps to reduce risk in building specification and performance by designing resiliency into our built environment.
Phrases like ‘climate emergency’ are a much more common part of everyday conversation. Clients and building owners are more aware of the challenges we face, and architectural and construction professionals are being reminded of their duties to promote a change of culture rather than ‘business as usual’. That is emphasising resource use and responsible sourcing.
What is responsible sourcing?
The onus for responsible sourcing is on manufacturers, who should be able to demonstrate that their raw materials come from well-managed sources, and the way in which products are manufactured does not have undue environmental impact.
Part of managing risk is thinking about how a building will perform in 30 or 50 years’ time, when the unpredictability in our climate will be more extreme than it is now. Specifiers need detailed and accurate information in order to make decisions about the products and materials they incorporate into designs.
Sourcing raw materials and using them responsibly is a part of designing resiliency into our built environment, protecting building users from the effects of changing climate, and reducing our impact on our surroundings.
What is the role of Environmental Product Declarations?
Life cycle analysis or assessment (LCA) is a means by which the impact of a material or product can be assessed through its entire lifespan - from raw material sourcing, to recycling or reuse when a building is taken down.
Techniques for carrying out LCA from ‘cradle to grave’ or, where recycling and reuse is an option, as part of the ‘circular economy’, are improving all the time. As more data becomes available and more sophisticated measuring tools are employed, our understanding of environmental impact improves.
Currently, Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) represent the most sophisticated LCA technique available to the construction industry. Bespoke and system-specific EPDs help to highlight where manufacturers are making progress in their production processes, and give more accurate whole building assessments.
In addition to BES 6001 responsible sourcing certification, Tata Steel are the world’s first steel company to be approved to operate an Environmental Product Declaration Programme - meaning we can provide third-party verified, product-specific EPDs. These EPDs help to demonstrate the environmental impact of system solutions backed by our Platinum®Plus guarantee.
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