15 Years Anniversary
For more than a decade, ESIG has been the key driver in promoting the solvent industry´s efforts to be responsible, sustainable and to improve substantially the handling of solvents. It has done this through a variety of different means:
1. Sharing best practices to promote a sustainable, safe and responsible use of solvents beyond regulatory requirements among solvent users.
Solvent users, helped by their suppliers, have voluntarily and continuously strived to reduce emissions and improve working practices - with tangible results. This is why sharing case studies and examples from the supply chain are essential to such improvements. For example, the aim of the ESIG Product Stewardship Award was, from the outset, to recognise companies that were using innovative ways to reduce the impact of solvent use on the environment and on health – and, to disseminate this information, so that other solvent users and handlers could also implement similar improvements beyond the regulatory requirements.
2. Actively supporting solvent users in the workplace to address health, safety and environmental issues.
ESIG has been proactive in producing a vast range of training and support media aimed at its members and downstream users, all of which have been very well received and are even used as official vocational training element in several EU countries and beyond.
3. Reducing ground level ozone to improve air quality
The solvent industry has made a substantial contribution to the reduction of ground level ozone: VOC emissions from solvents have decreased by more than 1.3M tons between 1990 and 2005 in EU15 alone - a reduction of more than 30%, as official EU data show.
ESIG has played a significant role in achieving these reductions, through the development of a set of guidelines (also known as BREFs) to help ESIG members comply with the Solvents Emissions Directive (SED), as well as producing tools to measure VOCs.
4. Facilitating regulatory compliance of SMEs'
One of ESIG's main missions is to assist solvent users - 80% of which are SMEs - with regulatory compliance. To achieve this target, ESIG has issued several sets of easy-to-understand guidelines for the different pieces of air quality legislation, such as the Solvent Emissions Directive as well as organised Q&A sessions over the internet and a variety of safety media on different topics.
5. Highlighting the benefits of solvents for society
ESIG has developed a strong communications programme, which includes the development of important tools - in up to 17 languages - to share information and facilitate dialogue between key stakeholders on issues affecting the industry. ESIG is also committed to engage with regulators, industry partners and independent institutes at all levels in an active dialogue to find common solutions on how to live in a better environment. Most recently, all EU 27 trade unions and employers' associations have recommended ESIG's safety material to all their members in a joint declaration with ESIG.
The achievements of the last 15 years are certainly cause for celebration. However, the solvent industry recognises that there is still work to be done, and will continue with their efforts to make their products as environmentally friendly and safe to use as possible. In this respect there are still many challenges ahead, but ESIG is determined to face them and is constantly looking for cooperation partners.
For more detailed information, please take a look at our Special Edition of the "Solutions" newsletter.