ARGE Strategy Forum


Sustainability - why take it seriously?


In the lead up to the annual ARGE conference in September, this forum will be dedicated to the sustainability agenda, which will be presented at the conference.

I’m sure some of you will have received the latest email from ARGE introducing our plans for entry level EPDs and hopefully some of you will be attending the conference, but I’d like to get the sustainability forum started by taking things back a step, and explaining why this is so important.

The introduction of the CPR this July will require all construction works to be designed, built and demolished in such a way that the use of natural resources is sustainable and it may require Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to assess a product’s environmental impact.

So, what does this have to do with the lock and hardware industry or more importantly your business?

First and foremost the introduction of CPR in July 2013 will affect the entire construction market– changing the basic requirements for buildings across all the sectors you work in and supply hardware for. The changes will stipulate that construction works must be designed, built and demolished in such a way that the use of natural resources?is sustainable, according to Basic Works Requirement 7 – BRCW7 and together with the reduction of life cycle impacts of greenhouse gases (BRCW3).

To measure a product’s life cycle impact, life cycle assessments (LCA) known as EPDs will increasingly be required by end users, construction professionals and governments alike. The advent of Building Information Modeling (BIM) is also expected to include EPDs as an essential element.

With this is mind, we, as ARGE, will actively encourage the adoption of EPDs through building codes and standards. Clearly this means that as members with access to EPDs you will have a significant commercial advantage.

I would also argue that the recent ratification and influx of government standards operating at a local, national, EU and International (ISO) level outlining the sustainability goals and best practice advice is another reason to take this agenda seriously. The amount and scale of legislation makes it difficult to operate in a competitive and commercial market without meeting with the latest standards and building codes. ?It is apparent that without the basic legal compliance companies will not have access to domestic? or international markets.

It should also be noted that as well as automatic exclusion from certain Government tenders, improved environmental credentials can give manufacturers a competitive advantage. ?Building developers and investors, architects and specifiers, contractors and building occupiers increasingly want to improve their own sustainability credentials and have more access to information about the buildings they construct, sell and manage, either as a conscious choice or as part of their own competitive advantage.

Plus, most medium to large organisations have their own ethical and Corporate Social Responsibility policies, often to attract employees and potential investors. Using EPDs is inline with these types of policies and can help to boost a company’s sustainable and ethical profile amongst its peers and competitors.


One final thing to remember, changes are happening – the question “if ” sustainability will affect you now becomes “when”.


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