Innovation in materials: Key to European energy security

Over the past months, with Europe’s regional environment suffering instability and Member States defining new climate and energy targets, energy policy has raised to one of the European Union’s priorities. From the 2030 Climate and Energy package to the ‘genesis’ of the Energy Union under the new Commission, all eyes are on energy. As expected, thanks to its potential, energy efficiency in buildings receives its share of the spotlight.

Energy efficiency: A fundamental dimension of the ‘new’ Energy Union

When presenting his Energy Union, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker emphasized commitment to promote energy efficiency. This dimension of the Energy Union reveals that Europe intends to solve its energy security challenges by doing more that ensuring security of supply. As pointed out by the European Commission Vice President in charge of Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič, while “the European Union imports more than half of all the energy it consumes” there is a need to invest in the buildings sector.

Energy efficiency under the Energy Union follows EU’s 2030 Climate and Energy ambition to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Ahead of the publication of the Communication on the Energy Union to be published on 25 February 2015, a leaked version underlined that the Commission intends to set up a communications strategy on the benefits and necessity of energy efficiency to the public in cooperation with Member States. The document also hinted to a legislative proposal to meet the 2030 energy efficiency target, based on a revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Performance of Buildings Directive.

European Parliament: A valuable ally to energy efficiency

At the same time, the European Parliament has been active on establishing a strong relationship between energy security and energy efficiency. More specifically, on February 3 the European Parliament Industry Committee (ITRE) published the amendments to the draft report on European Energy Security. The 821 amendments submitted demonstrate that the issue of energy security has received particular attention in the Parliament. A significant number of MEPs underlined that the impact of energy efficiency would be favourable both from an internal and external perspective, leading to lower energy prices and reducing the need for imports.

The European Parliament Environment (ENVI) Committee also published a list of amendments. Promoting energy efficiency was one of the recurrent themes demonstrating the Parliament’s positive stance towards developing comprehensive regulation on the issue. Energy efficiency in buildings emerged as the MEPs’ first priority creating a call for additional advocacy towards the European Parliament.

While MEPs and the Commission have not agreed yet on how to materialise energy efficiency objectives, there appears to be a consensus over revising and enhancing the provisions on European Energy Efficiency and Energy Performance of Buildings Directives. While no proposal is expected to be put on the table until the end of the year, stakeholders have become increasingly active in order to give energy efficiency in buildings the clout it deserves.

Buildings renovation: A necessary step to energy security

Buildings renovation, notably encompassing improved insulation, plays a significant role in the search for a more efficient and independent Europe. Better building insulation leads to reduced needs in energy. Thus, not only does it help limit the need for external energy supply and supplier, but it also enables the effective preservation of the environment and its natural resources.

Improved insulation is also the key to savings on the consumer’s and the government’s side. While energy poverty has been affecting a significant part of households in Europe better insulation can enable more Europeans to enjoy the comfort of a warm home, no matter their levels of income.

Polyurethanes for a more sustainable Europe

One of the key materials for building insulation, polyurethane is pivotal to the achievement of a more energy efficient and sustainable Europe. Insulating and renovating new and older buildings with the appropriate polyurethane rigid foam can help European governments save significant financial and natural resources.

All in all, Europe’s climate and energy ambition reminds us of how crucial energy efficiency is to the Europe’s future: enhancing its energy independence, preserving its resources and ensuring its population well-being. In making this future a reality, polyurethane becomes an indispensable material enabling for the warmer homes and happier Europeans.

For more insights on how the energy policy debate is unfolding on a European level and the benefits of polyurethanes for our everyday lives, visit our website or connect with us on Twitter  to share your own ideas and opinions.

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Saving resources in Europe: What future for the circular economy model?

Have you heard of the Earth Overshoot day? Last year it was 19 August. This day symbolises the milestone date when global population has exhausted the Earth’s natural resources that should have lasted a whole year. This day reminds us that resource scarcity is a growing issue at the global level.

If we keep exploiting our planet’s resources in the same way, scientists have predicted that worldwide demand will triple in less than 35 years’ time. At this rate, who knows when we will be able to celebrate the Earth Overshoot day?

A few years back, the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe was published. It was the lead European initiative to tackle this challenging issue of resource efficiency. Since then a few additional priorities have been identified in order to turn such roadmap into reality. With landfills at almost every 50km, waste management was logically pushed to the centre of this European initiative.

In 2010, the European Commission’s data revealed that nearly 40% of waste generated by Europeans ended up in landfills. In other words, 40% of the total waste had no chance to become a resource through recycling, energy recovery or composting. This is an urgent call for action.

Is the European Commission’s circular economy going forward?

In 2014, the previous European Commission adopted the Communication “Towards a circular economy: A zero waste programme for Europe” and a number of legislative proposals aiming both at reducing landfilling in Europe and at promoting alternative waste management processes with a strong focus on recycling. While Europe was moving full-speed, the new Commission announced last December that the “Waste Package,” as it is called, would not be part of its 2015 Work Programme .

The news led to much criticism from a number of stakeholders, including the European Parliament, which in turn have strongly advocated for the reintroduction of the package. In January 2015, during an exchange of views with Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission indicated that an improved proposal should be published before the end of 2015. It is rumored that this new proposal will seek more coherence with the concept of circular economy.

Polyurethane waste management: a circular model

Irrespective of regulatory developments, ISOPA is committed to promote waste management and resource efficiency. We believe that by combining recycling, energy and product recovery options, Europe can set a positive trend towards meeting its zero-waste goals.

Over the last decade, polyurethane producers have invested and developed many effective ways to improve polyurethanes’ waste management. Industry has been successfully working towards ensuring that products are produced with a sense of responsibility towards environment. We strive to develop production models that require reduced amount of resources and produce materials which could be re-used or effectively recycled. Our efforts and strong determination have already proved to be working: more than 250,000 tonnes of polyurethane are recycled and recovered every year, and the number is increasing!

Resource efficiency and Energy efficiency: hand in hand thanks to Polyurethanes

Beyond sustainable waste management, polyurethanes contribute to a better use of resources considering the benefits they bring in terms of energy efficiency. Energy is indeed a most precious resource!

Thanks to Polyurethanes’ unique chemical properties, we save energy and resources. For example, polyurethanes help to produce freezers and refrigerators, which over the last 15 years have become 60% more efficient than they used to be. Moreover, improved insulation can significantly reduce energy consumption which would ultimately lead to lower levels of CO2 emissions and creation of different energy-related waste. ISOPA’s passive house is a prime example of how polyurethanes can help save energy in buildings’ applications. Thanks to polyurethanes, the passive house almost does not require external heating or conditioning sources. It proves that effective isolation is one of the most sustainable ways to lower energy consumption and reduce waste of resources!

How can you contribute to the circular economy?

The European economy cannot thrive without a flourishing environment. ISOPA is determined to improve existing practices and to develop new technologies to ensure sustainable circular economy in Europe, from cradle-to-cradle.

We are also looking forward to working with policy makers to ensure that the new circular economy packages reflect challenges and opportunities for all activity sectors in Europe.

Committed to the principles of the circular economy? Visit our website or connect with us on Twitter  to share your own ideas and opinions. The time to engage is now!

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The Passive House: ISOPA’s contribution to meeting the EU climate and energy goals

Over the past years, Europe has strived to become a global leader in the fight against the climate change. This   is particularly true in 2015 in light of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. In the coming months the European Parliament and the European Commission will discuss the 2030 Climate and Energy package’s implementation.

For ISOPA the fight against climate change constitutes a unique opportunity to highlight how much innovation can contribute. From buildings’ insulation to footwear, innovative Polyurethanes are indeed at the core of environmentally friendly practices.

ISOPA welcomes European energy policy initiatives

Europe is currently at a critical turning point, as the institutions are assessing the future of Energy Policy. Meanwhile, the same institutions are also keeping a close eye on Member States’ energy efficiency progress. Meeting energy efficiency targets is not only an environmental imperative but also the key to turning economic and geostrategic challenges into opportunities. For example, security of energy supply and the cost of energy are part of the European energy policy.

To achieve Europe’s ambitions it is also paramount for regulation to align to the European Commission’s objective for jobs and growth and to the European industry’s ambition for innovation. Ahead of these changes, ISOPA has been striving to make this transition smoother and more efficient. In 2011 ISOPA started its Passive House project in an effort to show that today’s innovation is the solution to tomorrow’s challenges.

Wondering what is a passive house? Let us refresh your memory.

ISOPA’s Passive House brought in a new wind in the art of construction. It was built using polyurethane materials from floor to ceiling: the heat-reflective polyurethane windows frames contribute to heating of the rooms during the winter while making the house a pleasant place to hide from the summer heat.

Furthermore, polyurethane insulation systems create precautionary air barriers in attics, walls and under floors, effectively allowing low energy use. In spite of its smaller than usual heating system the Passive House manages to maintain stable internal temperature throughout winters and summers.

A house built using polyurethane materials consumes up to 85% less energy than a conventional building! This means that innovative materials, such as polyurethanes, can help you save on energy bills from the very first day of installation while contributing to adding comfort to your life.

Polyurethane in the construction sector: Changing European lives since the 1980’s

Since the first Passive House was built in the 1980’s, 40,000 passive house buildings followed worldwide with over 20,000 in Europe alone. This statistic shows that the world has discovered the high potential of polyurethanes in reducing CO2 emissions, rationalising the use of fossil fuels, increasing energy savings and improving living standards.

Kristine Dewaele and ISOPA Secretary General Jörg Palmersheim at the Passive House's opening

Kristine Dewaele and ISOPA Secretary General Jörg Palmersheim at the Passive House’s opening

Since the first EU package of climate and energy targets was adopted in 2007, significant improvements have been made in the intensity of energy use thanks to more efficient construction and buildings. Acknowledging the potential of polyurethanes, ISOPA strives to fulfill present and future society’s needs. We share the responsibility for reducing environmental impacts of products and take a product-centered approach to environmental protection.

In turn, we welcome a sustainable regulation and wish to communicate the high potential and benefits of polyurethanes to both users and regulators in this transition period. Our ‘passive’ model of housing illustrates the important role of chemistry in general and polyurethane in particular in achieving European and global energy goals while improving the quality of life at home.

Climate change is everyone’s responsibility!

Do you still think that individual contribution does not matter? Contrary to what we may think, we can all make a difference by changing the way we consume energy and encouraging our neighbours to do the same. We may all be surprised by the outcome.

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Food Waste: A Target and then What? ISOPA gathers stakeholders around the table

Time to bring the future of food waste to the table

Nearly two months after the publication of the European Commission 2015 work programme, the future of the Circular Economy package as a whole – and of the Food Waste target in particular – remains unclear. With MEPs openly calling for the package’s reinstatement, on January 22, during a parliamentary hearing, the Commission provided reassurance. Indeed, an improved text should be published before the end of 2015.

grunert

Frank Grunert, President of ISOPA with Nicola Caputo, Member of the European Parliament

However the question remains. With over 100 million tonnes of food wasted annually in the EU, how can regulation tackle the problem? Nobody knows yet.

For ISOPA, this uncertainty is a call for action.

On January 27, ISOPA brought together Nicola Caputo, Member of the European Parliament, Anne-Laure Gassin policy officer in the European Commission Directorate General for Health and consumer, academics, representatives of Member States, industry and NGOs for a lively and open discussion on food waste prevention.

Nicola Caputo, MEP – Key note speaker

Nicola Caputo, Member of the European Parliament – Key note speaker

One problem. Many causes. What policy action?

All participants concurred that food waste has reached unacceptable levels in Europe and in the world. They all made a call for quick policy action. Unfortunately, awareness campaigns in spite of being necessary do not suffice anymore. A political momentum has emerged in Europe compared to a few years ago. The extent of the problem has raised the issue high on the political agenda.

The will is there; but what should be done? The question is everything but an easy one to answer. The debate reflected such complexity as speakers and participants highlighted the multifaceted nature of the issue. They underlined that consumerism, confusing date marking, unreliable data, breaks in the cold chain, or dysfunctional waste management should also be addressed in order to efficiently tackle food waste.

gassin

Anne-Laure Gassin, European Commission – Guest speaker

In the end no final consensus could be reached. At EU level, all eyes are on the Commission and the direction it is planning to take with the Circular Economy package. It is assumed it will work at full speed in the coming months.

 ISOPA determined to contribute

As an active stakeholder ISOPA is determined to take part in the debate. The event was a perfect opportunity for Frank Grunert, ISOPA’s President, and Jörg Palmersheim, its Secretary General, to remind the audience of ISOPA’s commitment to food waste prevention and its determination to engage with regulators and all relevant stakeholders.

As Frank Grunert highlighted, polyurethanes contribute every day to make our life safer and comfortable and our lifestyle more sustainable. This is particularly the case with regards to food waste prevention as polyurethanes play a key role in the efficiency and maintenance of the cold chain thanks to their unique insulating properties.

jorg

Jörg Palmersheim, ISOPA’s Secretary General

Overall, it was a great evening. Regulators, manufacturers and NGOs put their differences aside and brought their added values together to discuss an issue of ever-growing importance. And in doing that, they didn’t leave a crumb in their plates!

Curious about more polyurethane applications in the cold chain, visit our website or connect with us Twitter!

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Home Sweet Home: Polyurethanes look after your comfort and health

A cozy place is the beginning of success

“I’d like mornings better if they started later,” were the words of a wise man. Wouldn’t you agree? Enjoying the warmth and comfort of your home helps you feel more rested, relaxed and ultimately happier. On a cold winter day a comfortable home helps you take the bull by the horns and have a productive day. . One of the crucial elements crucial to creating this comfortable environment is polyurethane, a key material without which many of your daily essentials would not feel and make you feel so good.

A great part of the furniture you have at home is made of polyurethane. For example, the sofa you sink in after a hard day’s work would feel the same without the polyurethane flexible foam. Thanks to polyurethane material’s inimitable properties your seating arrangements take the shape of your body and help improve your posture. Polyurethane flexible foam also ensures that your furniture remains comfortable for longer as it absorbs shocks better than other materials.

Sweet dreams with polyurethane flexible foam

When everyone speaks of the benefits of sleep, better make sure your bed is of the highest quality. Most mattresses contain polyurethane foam, also known as ‘memory foam’, as it adapts to the shape of a person’s body, ensuring restful sleep. Polyurethane mattresses are also considered top quality because their open cellular structure ensures for a good ventilation and heat transfer. With such comfortable bedding, no wonder we are so eager to get back to it every day!

Polyurethane: It is not because you cannot see that you cannot benefit from it

Polyurethane is also present in your home as carpet underlay. Thanks to polyurethane carpets stay comfortable for longer as polyurethane absorbs friction and helps reduce the wear and tear effect linked to daily use. Beyond the coziness it brings to house, polyurethane in carpets underlays is an excellent insulator. It helps limit noise pollution within your home thanks to its cushioning effect as well as save energy. Lower electricity bills thanks to polyurethane? Yes please!

Curious about more polyurethane applications, visit our website or connect with us Twitter to let us inform us on the impacts of polyurethanes on your health and rest.

sleep isopa

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Tackling Food Waste in Europe – ISOPA initiates the debate on the “day after” on 27 January

With over 100 million of tonnes of food being wasted annually in Europe and concerns over climate change and inequalities mounting both at a European and global level; it made sense for the European Union to dedicate 2014 to the fight against food waste.

Over the course of the year, policy makers and NGOs were mobilised and organised a series of initiatives on food waste. For example, the European Commission’s Communication Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe, and the related legislative proposal to review recycling and other waste targets devised objectives for food waste reduction in the EU.

However, in its 2015 Work Programme the European Commission withdrew the Circular Economy package. That left many wondering – what’s going to happen to the fight against food waste? Was it all about talk and no action?

Industry commits to tackling food waste

In spite of the regulatory stall the industry remains committed to dynamically pursue its commitments to end food waste in Europe. For this reason ISOPA has decided to bring European Commission officials, Members of the European Parliament, and representatives from the private and non-profit sectors together to hold an in-depth discussion on the synergies that can be created to develop solutions to the problem.

On 27 January 2015, Frank Grunert, ISOPA’s President, will welcome waste experts from across sectors and organisations with the ambition to hold a constructive debate on how we can build up on existing initiatives and further enhance the ties between the private, public and non-profit sectors. After all, we’re all in on this battle!

Nicola Caputo, MEP, will deliver the keynote speech and will present his views and expectations for the months and years to come. . His presentation will be followed by remarks from Anne-Laure Gassin from the Directorate General for Health and Consumer of the European Commission who will focus on the way forward given the Circular Economy package’s withdrawal.

Polyurethanes in the cold food chain – an important part of the puzzle

Wondering about the industry’s role in tackling food waste? Aside from regulatory targets and behavioural change, developing adequate technologies to preserve food is one of the building blocks of a sustainable future.

Polyurethane is essential in the efficient functioning of the cold food chain. From storage to transport, polyurethane rigid foam in refrigerating appliances ensures both constant temperatures and energy efficiency. Did you know that thanks to polyurethane refrigerators today are 60% more efficient than 15 years ago?

Not to mention that the polyurethane industry is always looking ahead and has actively committed to innovation. Companies have invested in product stewardship programmes and have aimed to develop a life-cycle approach to their products.

Yet, the cold chain is one side of the solution. This is why ISOPA expects contributions from across sectors at the 27 January dinner debate. The more stakeholders take action the more sustainable our future will be!

Interested on the polyurethanes’ contribution to tackling food waste? Eager to share your opinions on the issue? Curious about the European Parliament’s and European Commission’s next steps? Follow us on Twitter and don’t hesitate to share your opinion! The voice of many will be the agent for change!

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The cold food chain, a key ally for development policy

New Year, new resolutions! As the world’s biggest donor of the official development assistance (ODA), the European Union decided for the first time to dedicate a year to a global theme, “Development”.  All the institutions have committed to organise events and promote initiatives under the umbrella of the Latvian and the Luxembourgish presidencies.

Having a look at the current global environment, wouldn’t you agree the “European Year for Development” appears as a natural continuation of 2014, the “European Year against Food Waste”?

Food waste no more, thanks to more reliable cold chains

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 1/3 of food supposed to reach our plates is wasted; either spoiled or lost. In developing countries, food waste not only exacerbates food insecurity but has also negative climate impacts, as huge amounts of water, agricultural products and waters have been used in vain, very often putting stress on the environment.

So what’s the answer to this growing problem? In many cases food waste is caused by problems in storage and transport due to lack of adequate cold chain facilities. Can you imagine how difficult it must be for a remote village in Mali to preserve the food aid it has received from the World Food Programme when there are no facilities to store them? Or for a small producer in India to store his harvest from the wet season and keep it until the dry season puts stress on his supplies without appropriate refrigeration facilities?

While donors often focus on food donations, the lack of cold chain facilities, subsequently leads to a loss of their funds in the event food is spoiled. In 2015, we cannot afford more hungry people and more wasted funds. This is the reason investing in the deployment of cold chain infrastructure is key.

In the spirit of efficiency, investing in innovative and sustainable materials could prove the optimal solution: materials that are lightweight, versatile, energy efficient and recyclable. Does that sound familiar?

The cold chain can save lives

Another aspect of the cold chain that demonstrates its importance in developing countries, and developed ones for that matter, is the importance of refrigeration for health. With the headlines being dominated with health emergencies across the globe it is important to reminder that transport and storage are the cornerstone for prevention.

Vaccines, HIV tests and blood supplies degrade if exposed to high or extremely low temperature. In turn, the health of millions of people can be put at risk if these products are not properly administered. In addition, medical supplies represent an important budget both for NGOs and international organization. Why not invest in improved and sustainable cold chain mechanisms in order to magnify health programmes’ impact? It would definitely save funds and most importantly, many lives.

Polyurethanes at the service of development

Investment in innovative technologies is the cornerstone of a continuous cold chain from production to distribution and consumption.

Polyurethane rigid foam is widely used to keep food fresh at every step in the transport and storage stages. Thanks to its unique physical and thermal properties combined with extreme versatility, Polyurethane foam is an essential component in the maintenance of the cold chain.

Not to mention that having the lowest thermal conductivity of any of the large volume insulators enables Polyurethane to achieve increased energy efficiency.

For Europe, commitment to a “Year for Development” means commitment to improve the health and nutrition of millions of people across the world. Raising awareness on the role and the importance of investing in the cold chain could prove a catalyst for more efficient aid distribution.

Especially in environments stressed by climate change finding sustainable solutions is the key to delivering a food and healthcare-secure world. Polyurethanes versatility and sustainable properties can be part of the equation! Find out why here and engage with us on Twitter to share your stories!

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Let’s slide! Skiing warmly and safely with PU

As the temperatures goes down and the snow starts to fall, many dream about their coming Christmas holidays, and  for some of us this means ski season!

On the slopes, you might not realize it but many of your ski essentials use polyurethanes. Thanks to its great versatility, it has helped to the development and improvement of numerous articles crucial to making your winter sport experiences safer and more enjoyable.

Polyurethane keeps you warm from head to toe

Your ski boots for instance, would never have been the same without polyurethane in them! Polyurethanes provide the degree of flexibility necessary to your comfort during your trips down the mountains. They also prevent you from catching a cold as their weather-resistant characteristics keep your feet dry and warm, no matter how covered in snow you are. Ski boots using polyurethanes are also more durable and resistant as they are highly abrasion and scratch resistant. You don’t have to worry about ruining their looks after the first time you wear them.

On that note, did you know that polyurethane is the material that makes possible the design of many of your casual and sport shoes? You can discover all about it on our website.

Surfin’ on polyurethane

Most importantly, your skis themselves need polyurethane! Numerous ski models use polyurethane as their core, as polyurethane foams make them be lighter without losing their strength and resistance.  Polyurethane is also present in many ski bindings, to ensure the strong grip of your feet on your skis.

Polyurethane also matters for the design of your skis and snowboards. Your new fashionable skis or board would not look so good without a thin layer of polyurethane coating covering them and ensuring that the design printed on your skies is protected from the weather and impacts. Without such protective film, they would probably turn yellow in no time.

All in all, Polyurethane is used because it helps your ski articles to be always more resistant, durable and fashionable. And that’s what makes your ski experience so much safer and better.Ski

Source: Wikimedia commons

So next time to speed down the slopes, remember that polyurethane is here to help you enjoy great ski holidays!

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Make the most of Christmas with Polyurethanes!

Do you know how much polyurethanes are an ally in helping you prepare a great Christmas celebration? Although the association between the two might not seem obvious at first, Christmas and polyurethanes truly are linked.

First things first, the dinner!

Polyurethanes can help to a less stressful Christmas meal preparation. Thanks to the Polyurethanes insulating foam of your fridge and refrigerating appliances, the cold food you buy days or even weeks in advance remains always fresh until the time finally comes to serve it. This can help spare you from the last-minute rush to the grocery store.

Of course, there would be no Christmas without the Christmas tree.

Christmas trees made from Polyurethanes can also help you in getting the Christmas spirit going. Artificial Christmas trees are indeed quite convenient since they can save you from the burdening task of cleaning up tree needles at the end of the season. In addition, they are sustainable alternatives since they are durable and can be reused many following years.

As for the decorations you will put on this tree, have you ever thought of making them yourselves? It is a fun activity for the young and less young, and quite a nice way to personalize your Christmas tree! If you would like to see how to make your very own polyurethane-coated ornaments which will last for the years to come, have a look at our previous blog post for inspiration.

On  your journey…

Many of us also need to drive away for Christmas, enjoying these festive times to catch up with families and friends. Then again, polyurethanes are an essential part of your journey! No matter how cold it is outside as long as your car is cozy and warm. Did you know that polyurethane is one of the materials that make your car trip more comfortable? Thanks to its insulating properties, it helps prevent external noise from covering the Christmas carols on the radio. It is also contained in your car seats to make them more comfortable throughout the journey.

… And on Christmas morning

Time to open the presents! Your new watch, your son’s new football ball, the latest fashionable clothes, your ski equipment for the coming snow trip… Many of these items would not be so good without polyurethanes making them more performant, nicer-looking, comfortable or resistant.

On the next day, polyurethane also helps you enjoy a comfortable rest. The mattress or the sofa on which you will be enjoying a well-deserved rest and some chocolates, are made so addictively comfortable thanks to the polyurethane foam composing them and giving them their flexibility and comfort.

Enjoy it all then! On behalf of the ISOPA team, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Noel

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Eco-innovation and competitiveness

On 1 and 2 December took place the 7th European Forum on Eco-innovation in Lyon, France. The Forum has been a great opportunity for stakeholders both from the public and private sector to come together and discuss the opportunities and challenges of a Europe transitioning to a green and sustainable economy.

The Forum came amid a crescendo of reactions following the European Commission President’s announcement of a €315 billion investment plan to kick-start Europe’s economy. Commenting on the plan Mr Juncker underlined that “if Europe invests more, Europe will be more prosperous and create more jobs – it’s as simple as that.” The objective is clear: innovation, jobs, growth. The polyurethanes industry, as a key actor of the European economy, supports these ambitions.

Is the European Commission committed to boosting economic growth through innovation?

Juncker’s political guidelines for the new Commission mentioned jobs and growth as keys to taking Europe out of the crisis. He made a symbolic gesture by making Jyrki Katainen Vice-President responsible for assessing all actions of the Commission on whether they “help create the conditions for a sustainable recovery in growth and job creation in Europe.”

In a globalised market, growth and jobs clearly go hand in hand with innovation in order for Europe to maintain its competitive edge. And this begins by looking for efficiencies and opportunities in what is already in the pipelines: in December, the Commission will present its 2015 Work programme, in which it is expected to withdraw a number of proposals currently under consideration… including possibly the proposal on waste and the circular economy! In view of this, it is yet unclear how committed the Commission will be to support eco-innovation in Europe.

What’s the green economy’s role in promoting job creation?

Talking about the 7th Environmental Action Programme at the European Environment Bureau conference “Europe at the Crossroads”, the new Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella highlighted:

Vella quote

The Polyurethane industry is committed to innovation and competitiveness: it is one of the most forward-looking in terms of developing recycling and energy recovery solutions for its products, showing that green innovation and job creation can go hand in hand.

Polyurethanes use less than 0.1% of oil consumed worldwide and can save up to 100 times more. The polyurethane industry heavily invests in research to continuously improve the sustainability of its product and look for renewable and bio-based raw materials.

By making a better use of resources, polyurethane greatly contributes to reducing waste and increasing energy efficiency, not only throughout the value chains for various applications, but also throughout the whole European economy. Thanks to its wide range of applications, it helps support green product choices throughout Europe, and supports more than one million jobs across Europe.

If you would like to know more about how the polyurethane industry constantly innovates for a competitive Europe, have a look on our website.

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