Our approach is based on thinking that we make products with purpose at the same time minimizing the environmental impacts of both our operations and the products. We assess the environmental performance of our products with the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology and for product development, we use EcoDesign and Green Chemistry principles.
EcoDesign is designed to minimize the environmental impacts of a product over its whole life cycle, and up to 80% of these impacts are determined during the design phase.
EcoDesign covers not only technical performance and cost, but it also includes environmental considerations. EcoDesign can help us identify new business opportunities, and stimulate innovation and creativity.
We’ve identified four areas where EcoDesign can help us make our products more sustainable:
1. Use of low-impact materials: We can design for lower environmental impact by using bio-based materials, recycled or recyclable materials, biodegradable materials, or those which require less energy to produce.
Examples of such products are
- Ahlstrom Bioweb®
- All creped papers
- Wallcover range
- Vegetable parchment range
2. Removal of hazardous chemicals: We now work according to the principles of ‘green chemistry’, which means reducing or eliminating hazardous chemicals from our products, in particular formaldehyde and chemicals based on hazardous PFOA (Perfluoro-octanoic acid).
3. Energy efficiency: We’re working to cut the energy used in making our products, and the energy our customers need to use them.
- Filter products are an important product area for us. We offer to the filter manufacturers for the automotive industry ‘fast-curing’ filtration materials for use in vehicles. This process allows the materials to be turned into the required filter component at a lower temperature, which saves energy.
- Our air filters help customers improve air quality and reduce energy consumption. Our new Ahlstrom XAIR filters are designed for gas turbines, and are better at filtering out the small particles which have been particularly difficult to eliminate in the past. The filters are made in an innovative way, which doesn’t just create a unique barrier to protect the turbines against every kind of air pollution, but results in lower gas consumption and lower CO2 emissions.
The Ahlstrom XAIR product offers real benefits to the HVAC (heat, ventilation and air-conditioning) sector. The energy consumption of a HVAC ventilation blower with the new filter media is half that of one using conventional alternatives, saving both money and carbon.
4. Optimization of the Product End-of-Life: we're encouraging the use of recyclable or biodegradable materials as well as materials with a clean incineration.
Life Cycle Assessments
LCA methodology helps us assess the product’s environmental impacts over the full product life cycle, from raw material extraction and manufacturing, our own manufacturing, conversion and packaging, product use, to end-of-life disposal.