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EPD, a tool for sustainability and competitiveness of the Italian ceramic industry

Cersaie, the leading international showcase for Italian ceramic products, is presenting a recent study of the industry-average EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) for Italian ceramic tiles, a tool that testifies to the excellent environmental performance of the Italian ceramic industry.

The real value of the study, conducted by Confindustria Ceramica with the support of thinkstep, lies in the fact that it can be used by member ceramic tile manufacturers, offering them commercial opportunities to compete for credits in the context of sustainable building protocols. The EPD – a voluntary certified environmental product declaration based on standard criteria – is attracting global interest as a key tool for choosing products and in some cases is becoming a prerequisite for entering certain markets.

A conference entitled “EDP: the environmental product declaration for Italian ceramic tiles. A new tool for sustainability and competitiveness”, to be held on the afternoon of Tuesday 27 September at 2.30 pm in Tiling Town (Area 49), will discuss the industry-average EPD project and offer an international picture of the diffusion and promotion of the tool.

Following introductory remarks given by Paola Gazzolo, Officer for Environmental Policies of the Emilia Romagna Regional Government, and Armando Cafiero, Director of Confindustria Ceramica, a video entitled “Ceramics of Italy for sustainability: Italians make the difference” will be screened. Coordinated by Andrea Contri from Confindustria Ceramica, the video provides an overview of the industry’s development from the standpoint of environmental performance.

Next up, Maria Chiara Bignozzi, Director of the Centro Ceramico and lecturer at the University of Bologna, will provide a detailed analysis of the ceramic industry’s environmental performance, emphasising the benefits that derive from initiatives conducted over the years by the Italian ceramic industry to reduce its environmental footprint. Emanuela Scimia, Director General of thinkstep, will then discuss the results of the industry-average EPD based on an assessment of environmental data over the entire product life cycle for more than 90 Italian ceramic tile manufacturers, an unprecedented study for the construction industry in terms of the sheer numbers of companies involved.

Andrea Fornasiero, Chairman of the GBC Italia Standards Committee, will emphasise the value of the EPD in international LEEDv4 protocols and the fact that it is increasingly requested as part of building certification schemes (LEED, BREEAM, DGNB, etc.) and public procurement specifications. A number of international certification systems see this declaration as a useful tool for requesting product environmental information, particularly in the light of potential regulatory developments, and this is fuelling growing interest in EPD at an international level. Mikaela Decio, Environmental Sustainability Specialist R&D at Mapei will discuss the promotion of product sustainability in a global marketplace.

Although EPD is entirely voluntary, it is becoming an increasingly essential tool for competing at the highest levels in international markets. For this reason, Confindustria Ceramica has developed an IT tool called EPD creator which facilitates the creation of company EPDs for specific products or processes with the aim of promoting the use of the environmental product declaration amongst its member companies.

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