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  • ACMA’s Climate Impact Project

ACMA’s Climate Impact Project

As traditional materials like concrete and steel have already begun to declare their net-zero emissions goals and sustainability plans that their customers and stakeholders demand and expect, the composites manufacturing industry must be prepared to make a strategic and systematic approach to respond to these new ESG goals.

      What is the Climate Impact Project?

ACMA’s new Climate Impact Project will provide essential tools, resources, and education to help composites manufacturers assess climate impacts associated with the manufacture of their products and raw materials and provide the information requested by customers.

Issues the Industry Must Address

New ESG and Climate Demands

Composites manufacturers will need to provide customers with estimates of the climate impacts associated with the manufacture of their products and raw materials. Examples:

Many large, publicly-traded companies such as automotive OEMs issue annual Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reports, which along with other information include estimates of climate impacts associated with the companies' operations including the assembly, use, and end-of-life disposition of end-use products, and goals for future reductions in those impacts. A draft Securities and Exchange Commission rule, released March 21, will require many exchange-traded companies to report the climate impacts associated with upstream production of raw materials and components, The Biden Administration and many states such as California are encouraging or requiring the designers and owners of public infrastructure such as highway bridges and water treatment plants to consider climate impacts when deciding on the materials, technologies, and practices employed for the construction, use, and end-of-life disposition of these structures. A Buy Clean program recently announced by the President will require the use of low carbon materials for federally funded infrastructure. An essential input to these material selection decisions will be the cradle-to-gate impact estimates provided by component manufacturers and other suppliers.

Costs on Businesses to Respond

It is not uncommon for a company to pay a consulting firm $20,000 or more to prepare a climate impacts assessment for a product.

Unified Industry Standard

To provide estimates of climate impacts associated with the manufacture of their products and raw materials, ACMA members will prepare cradle-to-gate climate impacts assessments following the procedures established in certain ISO standards. Larger manufacturers and companies may have already have sustainability plans in place, but how can medium to smaller manufacturers respond to these expectations without clear direction and resources. Working together and using standards and tools provides a consistent unified response by the industry.

Upcoming Events

What Will the New Project Achieve?

The project, which is funded through the Composites Growth Initiative, will benefit the entire composites manufacturing industry by achieving the following objectives:

Update and expand ACMA’s lifecycle inventory for composites.

  • The original LCI was published in 2012 and it quantifies, per unit of production, the total energy requirements, energy sources, water consumption, atmospheric pollutants, waterborne pollutants, and solid waste resulting from the production of two input materials used in composite manufacturing, and five associated processing steps in the manufacture of polymer composites.

  • The new project will update the LCI to include current information on electricity generation and production of the mineral and chemical building blocks used to manufacture UPR and glass fiber. Information will also be added for three types of raw material – epoxy and polyurethane resin, and carbon fiber – and one composites manufacturing process – pultrusion.

Develop three new model lifecycle assessments.

The new project will use data from the updated LCI and information collected from composites manufacturing operations to prepare cradle-to-gate lifecycle analyses (LCA) for three products: composite reinforcing bar, utility poles, and SMC-compression molded automotive body panels. These model LCAs will serve as examples, showing all composites manufacturers how they can prepare reliably authoritative climate impacts assessments for their products.

Provide an online LCA tool for ACMA members.

ACMA will develop an online tool, similar to the EuCIA LCA tool for composites products, to facilitate a company’s preparation of an LCA for a product, using the updated LCI along with information collected from the company’s manufacturing.

Develop a product category rule for composite construction and infrastructure products.

  • A product category rule is a peer reviewed consensus standard, developed according to ISO standards, for translating information from a company’s LCA into a standardized format allowing comparison across products.

  • Increasingly, state regulations and federal policy require suppliers of construction and infrastructure materials and components to provide EPDs for their products

  • ACMA members will use the PCR to translate information from their LCA into the EPDs that will be needed by construction and infrastructure designers, contractors, and owners.

Prepare two model Environmental Product Declarations.

The new project will use data from the model LCAs, together with the PCR, to prepare model Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for composite rebar and utility poles. . These model will serve as examples, showing all manufacturers of composite construction and infrastructure products how they can prepare LCA reports in the standardized EPD format.

Develop new industry education on the use of ACMA’s LCA tools and resources.

Members will have access to new ESG/sustainability-focused standards, education, and technical resources to help them navigate these changes.

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