Confindustria Ceramica

Sostenibilitą ISO - cersaie 202122   Ottobre   2021

First international standard on the sustainability of ceramic tiles presented at Cersaie

Cersaie hosted a conference entitled “Sustainable tiles? Now there’s an ISO standard” which presented ISO 17889-1:2021, Ceramic tiling systems — Sustainability for ceramic tiles and installation materials - Part 1: Specification for ceramic tiles, the first global standard defining sustainable ceramic tiles published by the International Organization of Standardization in June this year. The speakers at the conference were Andrea Contri from Confindustria Ceramica, Maria Chiara Bignozzi, Professor of Materials Science and Technology at the University of Bologna and Director of the Centro Ceramico, and Marco Mari, Chairman of GBC Italia.

Andrea Contri explained that the standard consists of 38 indicators divided into environmental, social and economic areas and has a multi-rating structure that serves to assess product performance levels. ISO 17889-1 is the world’s first product standard regarding sustainability in the construction sector and serves as a benchmark for promoting the value of high-quality products like those produced by Italian ceramic companies, which have always stood out for their investments and research into reducing emissions and optimising production processes. This standard is also aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the UN as part of the 2030 Agenda, in particular Goal 12 regarding responsible consumption and production. A second part of standard ISO 17889 is currently under development and will apply specifically to tile installation materials such as adhesives, grouts and membranes.

In her presentation, Maria Chiara Bignozzi illustrated how ISO 17889-1 would be applied using industry average data for the ceramic tile sector. The results reflect the industry’s high level of excellence, as it meets all the 15 mandatory requirements and achieves a score in the range of 124-125, well above the threshold value of 117.5. When the calculation is performed using data that take account of the specific characteristics of individual companies, even higher scores of 126-128 are obtained. The simulation was carried out primarily using data published in the Integrated Report, a document that since 2010 has been recording the environmental impact and performance factors of ceramic tile manufacturing companies based on the environmental data declarations submitted annually by companies through the Integrated Environmental Authorisation (IEA) Reports. This activity, carried out by Confindustria Ceramica through an agreement signed with the Emilia-Romagna Regional Government and with the technical support of Centro Ceramico, is a further tool for expressing the sector’s attention to the environment and sustainability.

Marco Mari explained how the green building sector focuses on the environmental characteristics of materials, products and systems as part of its rating protocols. At the same time, there are many product characteristics and certifications that can be requested to enable products to contribute to the sustainability ratings of buildings. The ISO 17889-1 standard is particularly useful in this respect as it defines standardised metrics for assessing the level of sustainability of ceramic tiles and, in the second part currently under development, of installation materials. Marco Mari was therefore pleased to accept the request from Confindustria Ceramica, a founding member of the Green Building Council Italia, to discuss the possibility of promoting the use of ceramic products complying with ISO 17889-1 specifications in sustainable building certifications.