Stuart Stockley, MD of VEKA Recycling, says new research confirms homeowners expect proof that suppliers are truly green and that sustainability is more on trend than ever. But choosing the right partner is essential.
According to market research recently published by NeilsenIQ, the world’s leading consumer intelligence company, a key sustainability trend is that: “Companies and consumers will make a major shift past purpose statements and will be held accountable to show real proof of traction towards true and meaningful change. In fact, in the next year we will see the onus will shift for companies to prove sustainability status rather than regulatory bodies to monitor compliance.”
The report by NeilsenIQ, concludes that 2023 will be a ‘pivotal year for sustainability’ and goes on to say: ‘After a year of extreme weather events that have challenged crop yields, supply chains and the cost of goods around the world, 2023 has been pegged as a pivotal year for sustainable action.
‘This past year, people around the world felt the economic and social cost of sustainable inaction. Played against an already volatile economic landscape and a challenged energy market, a bevy of broken solutions brought focused attention to issues such as environmentally depleting supply chain practices and energy-dependent routes to market. 2022 was a tipping point for many, inspiring companies to invest and get serious about creating a sustainable renewable future.
‘In the year ahead, brand accountability, legislation and governance, and a new level of seriousness around sustainability across companies and consumers will set the stage for a year of positive, purposeful, and proof-driven change.’
I hope you will forgive me for being opportunistic, but all of this points towards the additional benefits for sales that are available to the window and wider building products industry. We know from experience that replacement windows and doors are one of the most desirable home improvements to homeowners; but the tangible benefits brought by improvements in the energy efficiency of modern windows and doors, now give such products even greater justification when capital expenditure is being considered. As does demonstrable sustainability.
The case for replacing windows and doors with high performance versions, is made even clearer when one considers that old PVC-U frames are eminently recyclable, a fact that adds further weight towards a homeowner’s decision to replace their old frames. Old frames may be recycled, within days, into brand new products – potentially new window frames – as well as most new PVC-U frames containing material from recycled frames, facts that can close sales when discussions about price and performance has been exhausted.
My company VEKA Recycling Ltd, has been recycling PVC-U virgin offcuts and old PVC-U frames since 1993 so you might say that we were ahead of the game. Back then it was due to a belief of the founder of VEKA Group, Heinrich Laumann, that PVC-U was not merely a useful and versatile plastic but one that was a valuable commodity, far too valuable in fact to simply be thrown away. Sustainability is a concept that has risen relatively recently but it serves to emphasise the conviction by our founder of the value of this extraordinary material.
The recycling of both virgin and removed PVC-U frames is now very well proven and our Wellingborough plant, completed two years ago, is not only state-of-the-art in terms of the quality of the finished product, it is also here, in the heart of England, which further reduces the carbon footprint of the PVC-U materials’ circular journey to becoming a brand new window frame, or other new extrusion.
Not only is recycling good for the environment, in terms of PVC-U windows, it is good for sales. Installers should make sure that they partner with a recycler that can demonstrate an audited trail all the way back to the point of recycling. And, confident in this knowledge, they should then ensure their customers understand the significance of that arrangement.
And that their old windows will become new products within weeks of being removed from their homes, something that can be a major influence towards them choosing one installer over another. Using a trusted brand such as VEKA Recycling, will also help to cement that deal.
But don’t just take my word for it; check the research!
ISSUE: JUNE 2023