Product environmental footprint

The Commission together with the Joint Research Centre are developing a scientific methodology to calculate the environmental footprint of products.

ESIG is contributing to this process by ensuring that the science applied is evidence-based. ESIG is also working to develop life-cycle inventories for standard solvent products.

Solvent product environmental footprint - ESIG
Bio based solvents - ESIG

Bio-based solvents

Bio-based solvents derived from corn, soybeans and other renewable materials are an emerging class of solvents. As a result, the standards governing them are still evolving.

Our members are contributing to the standardisation process at the European level, working with policymakers and other stakeholders to develop evidence-based frameworks firmly rooted in science.

At the European Commission, ESIG is part of the expert working group for Bio-Based Products and the EU Renewable Raw Materials (RRM) working group. Our members also provide strategic advice to the JRC Bio-Economy Observatory.


Ecolabels are meant to help consumers to identify products with less environmental impact throughout their lifecycle. The EU Ecolabel is a voluntary labelling scheme which promotes environmental excellence across an array of sectors.

ESIG is working with European policymakers and other stakeholders to bring the ecolabel process into line with sound, evidence-based science that can be applied to all solvents.

EU Ecolabels - ESIG
Solvents circular economy - ESIG

Circular economy

In 2015, the European Commission adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Package to encourage more sustainable use of resources. The goal is to preserve the value of products and materials in the economy for as long as possible, minimising waste. Realising the circular economy requires moving away from the take, make and throw away model that drives the world economy today.

The Circular Economy Package consists of an EU Action Plan that identifies concrete measures to improve sustainability throughout the life-cycle of products. This ranges from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials.

Embracing circularity

We believe that the circular economy package is an opportunity to promote innovation and further reduce the environmental impact of solvents. Our shared goal with regulators is to support members to make better use of solvents and solvent-based products throughout their entire life-cycle.

Our industry has made significant investments to improve the overall sustainability profile of solvents. By making our products and processes highly efficient, we have significantly reduced the amount of solvent used in finished products today. We have also made real progress in managing solvent emissions under the existing legislative framework. One of our main purposes as an organisation remains to promote best practices, especially related to sustainability, at the industry level and among downstream users.

Realising circularity

Realising the circular economy means making products that are more durable, strong and energy efficient. Solvents are playing an important role in this transition.

  • Solvent-based adhesives used during manufacturing extend the life of products as diverse as cars to shoes.
  • Solvents make critical infrastructure like bridges and dams last with protective coatings that prevent corrosion and rust.
  • Solvents evaporate faster than other solutions, resulting in higher productivity and less energy use.
  • Solvents used to spray electrostatic paint reduce the amount of paint required and waste too.