EU: PVC producers achieve 88% compliance to voluntary standards

Members of the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers (ECVM) have achieved 88 per cent compliance with the environmental targets agreed voluntarily four years ago for the production of VCM and PVC by the suspension process, say independent auditors Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

ECVM says the results have been achieved more than four years ahead of equivalent standards that have been adopted by countries that have signed up to the corresponding OSPARCOM convention. This level of compliance has been achieved through member companies investing some 233 million euro (£153 million).

“We must now go all the way to full compliance. said Robert Bornhofen, chairman of ECVM . “All companies that do not comply are working on solutions to achieve compliance and will have an implementation plan ready by January 2000.”

The industry, honouring its commitment to full, independent verification of its performance, disclosed the site by site results of the audit against all twelve standards defined in the Charter signed in 1995. DNV checked a total of 279 standards across member company sites. Overall, nine per cent of standards were found non-compliant and, due to unclear compliance status on some sites, DNV was unable to verify a further three per cent of the standards.

Commenting on the verification process Eric Pape, Vice President DNV said: “ECVM’s 1995 Charter was a true pioneer. It is a significant achievement for a competitive industry to commit to common environmental standards as part of a continuous improvement process. “

The audit covered around 90 per cent of the total Western European manufacturing capacity of suspension PVC (S-PVC), ethylene dichloride (EDC) an intermediate product) and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM).

Forty out of 44 sites participated in the verification programme . Of the four remaining sites, two were excluded due to closure in late 1998 and early 1999 and two sites have postponed verification until improvement programmes have been implemented and compliance can be demonstrated in the second half of 1999. A further VCM site was excluded due to a major overhaul and extension programme that started in the first quarter of 1998 and is still ongoing.

ECVM says it will implement the recommendations of DNV to ensure greater consistency of environmental monitoring across the Western European PVC industry . The recommendations will also be applied to the E-PVC Charter, launched in February 1999, covering PVC manufactured by the emulsion process.

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