EPDs: Transparent Reporting on Sustainability Initiatives
A Commitment to Impactful Environmental Reporting Is Every Business’s Responsibility
Consumers, governments, and private corporations are emphasizing the importance of sustainability in an ever-growing commitment to smart environmental stewardship. Efforts and systems created around sustainability must be communicated clearly to inform consumers and to satisfy regulatory entities. To do this, companies need a standardized method to measure and report on environmental impact objectively.
DuctSox creates EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) to communicate environmental performance of our products and business practices in accordance with relevant ISO standards. EPDs communicate the entire life cycle of products and offer a more comprehensive analysis of environmental impact than other comparable reports.
There are a number of factors that go into sustainable business and production, and companies should account for all of them to provide comprehensive environmental reporting.
Companies must be committed to communicating openly and honestly with consumers and other stakeholders, including both the good and areas for improvement. It is imperative that a commitment to transparency goes beyond establishing a brand or serving as a PR strategy, but truly valuing its role in environmental outcomes and moving industries forward as a whole.
To facilitate this transparency, reporting standardization is key. Standards which apply to all companies within a specific industry help create a benchmark to which all businesses can aspire, and around which individual organizations can design their own goals and systems. It also helps consumers and buyers make apples-to-apples comparisons between companies as they work through their purchase decisions.
Sometimes standards are produced by governmental agencies and regulators, and other times certifying organizations take the lead for a particular set of industries. DuctSox, as mentioned previously, produces Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).
In DuctSox’s industry specifically, for years the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system has set the standard for the products used in construction and buildings.
The last vital component of impactful environmental reporting is building a truly comprehensive model, one which considers all aspects of a company’s environmental footprint. Below are the considerations DuctSox takes into account to provide a complete picture of our environmental impacts and efforts.
While they are certainly included in reporting, this goes beyond just the types of raw materials used in the manufacture of our products.
For example, we look at product quantity required to produce a particular result. A kilogram of fabric ductwork goes much farther within a product application than the same weight of metal ductwork.
The definition of ‘product’ also need to be comprehensive. Beyond just the ducts themselves, we make sure to report on the internal hoops used to shape the ducts, the hanging components, hardware, and even the cardboard boxes and pallets used in transport. This is a level of detail that does not exist across our industry, and our hope is to set the future standard.
In the spirit of full transparency, DuctSox creates a separate EPD for each product type. Again, this is a standard we aim to set for our industry moving forward.
In our industry, environmental impacts aren’t just about what goes into products – how they perform also has a direct impact on outcomes. Fabric ductwork requires less energy to achieve desired system performance than metal, which is critical in terms of long-term results.
Comprehensive energy reporting is a critical component of any environmental audit. There are several energy implications in our industries, including energy required to produce the raw materials that go into products, the manufacturing process itself, product transportation, and – as previously mentioned – the long-term energy requirements of the systems into which products are installed.
There are at least four critical aspects when it comes to measuring the environmental outcomes of a company’s product:
- Distance: The distance required to get from point of manufacture to the job site plays a huge role in a company’s shipping impacts. While our competitors often ship from Europe or China via air, DuctSox averages 1,500 miles – all by truck or train.
- Weight: The bulk of the total product shipped impacts how much space and fuel is required to get it from point A to point B.
- Mode: There is a huge difference between flying a product over a certain distance than shipping it by train or truck. • Packaging materials: Not all solutions are created equal, including shipping product type and their quantities.
Good corporate citizenship requires accounting for all down-stream impacts of our businesses, which includes any waste or byproducts of our manufacturing processes. Committing to take responsibility for the safe and least impactful disposal and mitigation solutions is a huge part of improving outcomes and should be included among comprehensive reporting metrics.
As a company, DuctSox prides itself on taking a leadership position in the industry in terms of transparency and comprehensive environmental reporting. Doing so has set a measurement standard to which the company can hold itself accountable and use as a lens moving forward.