Specialty chemicals company Lanxess is the first manufacturer of synthetic iron oxide pigments to offer verified environmental product declarations (EPDs) for selected product groups. These EPDs allow Lanxess to deliver comprehensive information about the cradle-to-gate environmental impact of its pigments. The information provided is based on the international ISO 14025 standard as well as the European EN 15804 standard for construction products and services of all kinds.
“Publishing EPDs is a mark of our commitment to setting the highest sustainability standards in the pigments industry,” said Michael Ertl, head of the Inorganic Pigments (IPG) business unit at Lanxess. “Our iron oxide pigments from the trusted Bayferrox brand are used to add color to concrete building materials as well as for paints and plastics employed in the construction industry worldwide,” he added.
Tested in accordance with international standards
An EPD describes construction materials, products, or components in terms of their environmental impact. These declarations are based on life-cycle assessments as well as the functional and technical properties of the item in question. The environmental product declarations for Bayferrox pigments from LANXESS are tested in accordance with international standards by Institut für Bauen und Umwelt e.V. (IBU), an association of building product manufacturers. The IBU program is aimed at creating reliable and comprehensive assessments of the environmental impact of construction products in line with international DIN standards and includes verification by independent experts. Membership of the European ECO Platform, which involves numerous agreements concerning mutual recognition between participating program operators, underlines the global reputation of IBU.
Laying the foundations for sustainable structures
Sustainable construction is a vital part of the journey toward an economical and environmentally friendly future. Consequently, environmental product declarations are increasingly being used in the construction industry and are among the key prerequisites for structures to be granted sustainability certification. “We are delighted that as a manufacturer of raw materials, Lanxess is striving to deliver this transparency at the product level and thereby enabling its customers in the construction product industry to make much more accurate assessments of the environmental impact of their products,” said IBU managing director Alexander Röder. EPDs for construction materials can help to tip the scales in a building’s favor when it comes to certification.
As a general rule, assessments currently consider whether the building material used has its own certificate. “If raw materials used in production have verified EPDs, as with our Bayferrox brand, these can be taken into account in the construction material’s life-cycle assessment and have a positive influence,” said Holger Wendt, head of the Construction market segment at IPG. Furthermore, EPDs add transparency regarding the environmental profiles of the pigments and thus offer a solid foundation for comparing iron oxide products from different raw material suppliers. This gives manufacturers of building materials the opportunity to optimize and clarify the life-cycle assessments of their own products.
Comparing different products is a worthwhile endeavor because the manufacturing process for synthetic iron oxide pigments uses a great deal of energy. Lanxess has therefore systematically invested in improving the carbon footprint of its pigments over the past few decades by implementing sustainable production processes at its production sites. As Ertl explained, “With EPD verification of our core products, we are making our commitment to life-cycle assessments plain to see for our customers.”
Sustainability goes all the way to the top
Lanxess has assigned the issue of sustainability directly to the portfolios of its Board of Management members. They cover climate protection and energy, occupational health and safety, environmental protection, products and circular value chains, the workforce, corporate culture, and transparent reporting on achievement of sustainability. Through its Sustainability Committee, set up in 2021, the Board of Management members make joint decisions on key sustainability projects.
“We are very much aware of our responsibility to society, which is why sustainability is a guiding principle for our activities. However, it is also becoming more and more of a competitive advantage in increasing our appeal to customers and talented prospective employees as well as on the capital market. By modifying our incentive systems and our structures, we are making sustainability an even more integral part of our company,” explained Lanxess CEO Matthias Zachert.