A new organization aims to help the vinyl industry address sustainability.

The Vinyl Business and Sustainability Council (VBSC), a self-funded, self-governing organization formed by the Vinyl Institute, will work with its members to develop best practices in sustainable development and innovation. It launched in early September following an organizational meeting in Washington, D.C.

“Vinyl has the opportunity to be the material of choice for many market segments served by our industry,” said Cristian Barcan, executive director of the VBSC and the Vinyl Institute’s (VI) vice president of sustainability. “The VBSC is a collaborative platform for companies, organizations, and other industry stakeholders to come together to create a sustainable development path for the industry that includes balanced, science-based, continuous improvement practices that meet the needs of current and future generations.”

The VSBC has big implications for the door and window industry. According to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), vinyl windows currently represent about 70 of the residential market.

The VSBC membership agreed to identify continuous improvement opportunities the vinyl industry will address under its sustainability initiative. Once funding is established, a six-month materiality analysis will include wide range of stakeholders, including many in the door and window industry. In addition, outstanding industry achievements in sustainable development will be recognized.

“The Vinyl Business and Sustainability Council is a great step forward in bringing the vinyl industry together to address the advocacy, communications and technical issues we encounter every day relating to sustainability,” said Gary Hartman, vice president of sales and marketing for Chelsea Building Products. He’s a member of the VBSC steering committee. “As an industry, we recognized that we can accomplish a lot more by working together — and the VBSC provides a collaborative platform.”

Hartman said his interest in the VBSC began with his work on the American Architectural Manufacturers Association’s (AAMA) Vinyl Material Council.

“As you know, AAMA is material neutral,” he said. “AAMA is a great organization, but we (vinyl extruders) really didn’t have a loud voice within AAMA because they had to stay material neutral. They couldn’t promote or prefer one material over another. So I started having conversations with Dick Doyle (the CEO of the Vinyl Institute) regarding this. I was like ‘hey, we’ve got this great material system, we’ve got a lion’s market share, but we do not have a loud voice.’ We started talking about how  the vinyl segment and VI could join forces to have a louder advocacy voice. But unbeknownst to us, they were creating a new organization, the VBSC. They found that there were other groups expressing the same desires. They wanted to have a much braoder participation and a much broader audience, and the one issue that kept coming up was sustainability. I guess I’m a prime example of ‘the squeaky wheel gets the oil.’ ”

The VBSC will support its members’ sustainability efforts through educational programs as well as company and/or product-specific sustainability assessments, key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals, continuous improvement paths, reporting and strategy development.

VBSC membership is open to all interested companies associated with the vinyl industry who are committed to working toward a more sustainable future. This includes distributors, recyclers, end-product and equipment manufacturers, brand owners, retailers, resellers, end-users, collaboration-driven non-profit organizations, vinyl product associations and VI members.

In June, the Vinyl Institute hosted a sustainability summit in Washington, D.C., where leaders from ten other vinyl-related associations, including AAMA, discussed challenges related to sustainability. That led to the formation of the VSBC.


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