The European vinyl industry got together in the year 2000 to prove to the world that the production and consumption of vinyl was sustainable and it was a material for the future. The VinylPlus programme was developed, bottom-up, in industry workshops and through an open dialogue with all stakeholders, including NGOs, regulators, public representatives and users of PVC.
VinylPlus is the renewed ten-year Voluntary Commitment of the European PVC industry and builds on the progress made by its predecessor, Vinyl 2010.
With VinylPlus, the PVC industry committed itself to establishing frameworks for its sustainable development in the EU-28, Norway and Switzerland; as well as tasking itself with facing five, self-imposed, challenges. Each of the challenges is based on The Natural Step, an NGO’s, System Conditions for a Sustainable Society.
The overall aim of VinylPlus is to help the industry realise the following vision:
“PVC is a preferred material in terms of quality, value and environmental safety. It helps others to reach their sustainability goals and is seen as a safe material providing convenience, comfort and high social value as well as having good sustainability credentials. This has been achieved by leadership and commitment from the industry, itself working with others in an open and honest way."
VinylPlus is also committed to the following working principles:
- Voluntary action –tackling the sustainability challenges of PVC in a proactive way.
- Measurable targets and deadlines – shared publically and reported on annually.
- Continuous improvement –accepting that the journey to sustainability requires constant evaluation and learning.
- Collaboration – working together within the industry to find solutions that no single player can implement, and reaching out to much broader stakeholder groups.
- Transparency – opening up, sharing and recognising the gap between where we are now and where we aim to be.
- Scientific rigour and research – making sure technologies, processes and materials are assessed according to strong and scientifically-based sustainability principles.
- Dialogue – creating more debate with those who have something to say about PVC, in a positive, receptive frame of mind.
- Responsibility – no one is going to secure a place for PVC in the sustainable future other than the industry itself.
- Seeking business prosperity – we need successful businesses along the value chain – that means making an acceptable return on investment, being competitive while pursuing a sustainable development.
- Priority to sustainability innovation – research, design and innovation should have no goal other than improving the sustainability potential of PVC, including its market competitiveness, and openly challenging components, materials and practices which do not make sense in terms of sustainable development.