UBP's EPD: a key step towards more sustainable development

In February 2021, UBP registered its Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for traditional blocks. This initiative, the first of its kind on the island, lays the foundation for an important discussion around a more ecologically responsible method of production. Egyla Ellapen, Development & Sustainability Manager at UBP, provides an update.


What exactly is the EPD?


Based on the results of a life cycle analysis (LCA) of the product, this study involves establishing a scorecard for the process that covers from the extraction of raw materials to the treatment of waste, including intermediate stages such as manufacturing, transport, etc. This scorecard is used to calculate environmental impact and to identify the elements with the highest impact, allowing the necessary actions to be taken. It remains valid for five years.


The EPD summarises the LCA, pulling together information on the environmental performance of the product in a standardised format. "It can be compared to a kind of product identity sheet," explains Ellapen.

While this document does not guarantee a more environmentally friendly product, it does provide objective and verified environmental information according to a protocol that aligns with international standards (ISO 14 025 and EN 15 804).


For example, the process identifies environmental impact indicators, which are then grouped into three categories:

1.         The first category includes environmental impact indicators (e.g. global warming potential).

2.         The second category details the amount of energy (renewable or otherwise) used in the manufacture of the product. Information on the possible uses of recycled materials is also included in this category.

3.         The third category indicates waste channels and categories (hazardous or non-hazardous).


"This information is a valuable decision-making aid for many stakeholders in the sector, in terms of sustainability (planners, architects, building owners etc.), especially in the context of international Green Building Scheme programmes. It also allows for comparisons between products classed within the same category. Our EPD enabled us to identify that supplying Portland cement has the highest impact in terms of global warming potential," says Ellapen.


With this in mind, UBP, committed to continuous improvement, is starting to think about and pave the way for more responsible business practices. "We are trying to find other formulas, other alternatives, without compromising the quality of our products," explains Ellapen. The recruitment of a new Research & Development Manager in July 2021 marks a further step in this process, which promises that 2022 will be a year full of reflection and progress.