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December 23, 2021

International Green Purchasing Network Annual Meeting Held to Active Collaborations

the IGPN met annually to recap progresses and share members’ insights in green purchasing practices

2021 annual meeting of the International Green Purchasing Network-IGPN was held visually on December 15th. Participants and invited guests from national Green Purchasing Networks, IGPN Council and IGPN Advisory Board which are from Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, China, China Hong Kong, and UNEP, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, Netherland Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, TCO Development attended this meeting. The meeting was hosted by the IGPN Secretariat, China Environmental United Certification Center–CEC.
Mr. Chen Yanping, Chair of IGPN, presented his speech in the opening remarks, “Sustainable consumption and green procurement are important means to promote sustainable development, as well as to promote global carbon reduction, carbon neutrality, bio-diversity and pollution abatement. Progress made by the IGPN in 2021 are more standardize, proactive and active, we expect to discuss in depth and exchanges views on the fulfillment of next year development”. Mr. Mark Hidson, vice chair of IGPN, gave his welcome remarks, “Global sustainable procurement is moving from awareness raising toward implementation, toward the carbon neutrally target sustainable procurement are highlighted as catalytic tool in more and more countries. Whereas the capacity building needed to facilitate the target, this is right opportunity for the IGPN with its members to carry forward”.
During the meeting, Mr. Farid Yaker, programme officer of the Economy Division of UNEP and IGPN advisory board member, presented the Sustainable Development Goal Indicator 12.7.1 2021 data collection process and outcome. Dr. Mervyn Jones, circular economy senior advisor of Netherland Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, explained the findings of the UNEP One Planet Network sustainable public procurement plastics report. Meanwhile representatives of Green Procurement Networks from different countries and regions recapped their progress, achievements and experience of their green purchasing networks. Participants reviewed the 2021 annual work of IGPN secretariat, discussed the priorities and highlights of future development of IGPN.
Since CEC holds the IGPN Secretariat in 2018, it consistently works on the IGPN operational codes and members’ collaboration activities. In 2021, was released, “Survey on Environmentally friendly product service and Green Purchasing to Tackle Climate Change” was launched also, greatly supported the awareness of sustainable consumption and production through exchanges and communication on practices, tools and methods. Stated by Ms. ZHANG Xiaodan, CEC general manager and IGPN advisory board member, in the summary speech, “Next year the IGPN will focus on the priorities, continue to strengthen the network development, promote collaborations among members, fulfill the development of IGPN and support the sustainable procurement implementation nationally and regionally”.

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December 13, 2021

Power of the Public Plate podcast

This podcast explores the stories of champions of food procurement. Brought to you by the UN One Planet Network and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, each episode unpacks how public authorities from around the world leverage procurement to positively impact the food value chain, to ultimately contribute to sustainable food systems.

Listen to all the episodes right here.

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December 10, 2021

[SCP] Few willing to change lifestyle to save the planet, climate survey finds

Citizens are alarmed by the climate crisis, but most believe they are already doing more to preserve the planet than anyone else, including their government, and few are willing to make significant lifestyle changes, an international survey has found.
“The widespread awareness of the importance of the climate crisis illustrated in this study has yet to be coupled with a proportionate willingness to act,” the survey of 10 countries including the US, UK, France and Germany, observed.
Emmanuel Rivière, director of international polling at Kantar Public, said the survey, carried out in late September and published to coincide with the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow, contained “a double lesson for governments”.
They have, first, “to measure up to people’s expectations,” Rivière said. “But they also have to persuade people not of the reality of the climate crisis – that’s done – but of what the solutions are, and of how we can fairly share responsibility for them.”
The survey found that 62% of people surveyed saw the climate crisis as the main environmental challenge the world was now facing, ahead of air pollution (39%), the impact of waste (38%) and new diseases (36%).
A young person reaches for an inflated globe during a ‘Fridays for Future’ protest in Muenster, north-west Germany.
But when asked to rate their individual action against others’ such as governments, business and the media, people generally saw themselves as much more committed to the environment than others in their local community, or any institution.
About 36% rated themselves “highly committed” to preserving the planet, while only 21% felt the same was true of the media and 19% of local government. A mere 18% felt their local community was equally committed, with national governments (17%) and big corporations (13%) seen as even less engaged.
Respondents were also lukewarm about doing more themselves, citing a wide range of reasons. Most (76%) of those surveyed across the 10 countries said they would accept stricter environmental rules and regulations, but almost half (46%) felt that there was no real need for them to change their personal habits.
Only 51% said they would definitely act to protect the planet, with 14% saying they would definitely not and 35% torn. People in Poland and Singapore (56%) were the most willing to act, and in Germany (44%) and the Netherlands (37%) the least.
The most common reasons given for not being willing to do more for the planet were “I feel proud of what I am currently doing” (74%), “There isn’t agreement among experts on the best solutions” (72%), and “I need more resources and equipment from public authorities” (69%).
Other reasons for not wanting to do more included “I can’t afford to make those efforts” (60%), “I lack information and guidance on what to do” (55%), “I don’t think individual efforts can really have an impact” (39%), “I believe environmental threats are overestimated” (35%) and “I don’t have the headspace to think about it” (33%).
Asked which actions to preserve the planet should be prioritised, moreover, people attributed more importance to measures that were already established habits, required less individual effort, or for which they bore little direct responsibility.
About 57%, for example, said that reducing waste and increasing recycling was “very important”. Other measures seen as priorities were reversing deforestation (54%), protecting endangered animal species (52%), building energy-efficient buildings (47%), and replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy (45%).
Respondents viewed measures likely to affect their own lifestyles, however, as significantly less important: reducing people’s energy consumption was seen as a priority by only 32%, while favouring public transport over cars (25%) and radically changing our agricultural model (24%) were similarly unpopular.
Only 23% felt that reducing plane travel and charging more for products that did not respect environmental norms were important to preserve the planet, while banning fossil fuel vehicles (22%) and reducing meat consumption (18%) and international trade (17%) were seen as even lower priorities.
“Citizens are undeniably concerned by the state of the planet, but these findings raise doubts regarding their level of commitment to preserving it,” the study said. “Rather than translating into a greater willingness to change their habits, citizens’ concerns are particularly focused on their negative assessment of governments’ efforts.”
Representative samples of more than 1,000 people were questioned in the US, UK, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Singapore and New Zealand.
People gave themselves the highest score for commitment everywhere except Sweden, while only in Singapore and New Zealand were national governments seen as highly engaged. The gulf between citizens’ view of their own efforts (44%) and that of their government (16%) was highest in the UK.
Learn more at the Guardian, 07 November 2021.

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December 6, 2021

Is 3D printing really sustainable?

"The AM industry can and needs to do more."

It was an astute and well-timed comment from Stefanie Brickwede in an interview from our recent rail feature that prompted the question which headlines this very article. Brickwede, Head of Additive Manufacturing at Deutsche Bahn, suggested we need to give AM companies a wakeup call “to focus more on ecological sustainability and not just greenwashing.”
Brickwede isn’t the first to use the term “greenwashing”, the idea that a product can be marketed as sustainable without having the credentials to back it up, in reference to the AM sector. The topic has increasingly found its way into conversations amongst those in the industry who want to ensure AM’s green credentials are more than just buzzwords and backed up by real data.

Analysing the data

It’s easy to think of AM as sustainable. You’re adding material where needed, theoretically using less than that of a subtractive method. With the advent of distributed manufacturing, you’re hopefully producing much closer to the point of need, reducing emissions along the way, and through digital warehousing, only producing those parts when you need them. With increased freedom of design, you can reduce weight, potentially saving costs and energy over a part’s lifecycle. But it’s not so clear cut.
“It's like a double- edged sword,” Runze Huang, PhD, CEO & Co-founder at ExLattice, Inc. and author of a number of papers focusing on the energy and emissions saving potential of AM, says. “The unique advantages of AM, such as customisation, distributed production, flexibility, and multi-material applications, are creating complexity and unique challenges in the end-of-life of AM products. It needs to be considered more and addressed better now as we still have time before AM entering the mainstream of manufacturing and causing the sustainability issues 20 years later.”
Speaking on a recent episode of the Additive Insight podcast, AM consultant Phil Reeves echoed Huang’s thoughts and expressed the need to consider the full lifecycle of an AM part.
“You have to look at full lifecycle, end- to-end sustainability and I think we do have some issues,” Reeves explains, “certainly on the polymer side, our polymer chemistry which is maybe not as green as they could be; the actual additive manufacturing processes themselves are not as energy efficient as they could be – they haven’t been designed around energy efficiency. If you look at some of them, you pre-heat a significant amount of material to just below its melting temperature, you hit it with a laser – that’s an incredibly inefficient laser – you lose lots of energy in the room, you end up with a cake of material that you then cool down for 24 hours. That’s not an efficient manufacturing process.”
Reeves suggests the next industry trend will need to be around “efficiency” of machines, supply chains and materials but also cautions that if we want to encourage the use of AM for production, not just prototyping, then the industry will need to keep up with environmental legislation.
Reeves continues: “The worry is that we won’t and at some point, somebody will turn around in the corporate social responsibility group of a large car company and say, ‘that material you’re using in prototyping, we can’t use that anymore, we’re going to be legislated against it,’ so I do think we have to think, as an industry, seriously about sustainability.”
Pierre Forêt, Head of AM at industrial gases and engineering company Linde, agrees that we need to be talking more about efficiency. Linde has developed technologies to retain the quality of metal powder prior to printing and ensure optimum atmospheric conditions within the print chamber. Forêt says the biggest potential drawback to AM is energy usage – both in the type and volume of energy it consumes.
“While no one solution can claim to make additive manufacturing more sustainable than traditional production methods, through a combination of technologies – particularly associated to the use of atmospheric gases – the process can be assured to have more reliable, repeatable quality outcomes,” Forêt says. “Once this is achieved, the advantages of additive manufacturing are, at the very least given the potential to contribute to more sustainable production methods.”

Managing materials

Materials are just one part of the value chain where the sustainability question lingers.
“Material reuse within the process is still problematic,” Alex Kingsbury, AM Industry Fellow & Engagement Lead at RMIT University, offers. “There’s no doubt that the printing process, whether it’s metal or polymer, leads to a degradation of the material and limits its reusability. There are also support structures, a necessary evil in many cases, that are waste products. In this respect, metal is much better than polymer, as the metal recycling supply chain is more flexible than the polymers recycling supply chain. For example, a polymer 3D printed product does not bear the universal recyclability symbol. Even if it does, the polymer recycling supply chain is still highly problematic. Metal at the very least, can be channelled through the scrap metal trade. We are also still yet to really properly reach upstream of 3D printed products and properly assess the raw material sources, for example, the metal powder that you use in your 3D printing process. Where does it come from? What is the carbon footprint of that process? Was it made using a fossil fuel energy source like coal or gas? Or was the electricity source hydropower?”
Last year Materialise introduced a solution to tackle material reusability. Bluesint PA12 makes it possible to print with 100% reused powder, versus an estimated 50% currently capable with polymer laser sintering. Following the launch of its Bluesint PA12 printing service back in June, Materialise proposes that if half of all SLS PA 12 parts were printed using Bluesint, this would reduce CO2 emissions from 3D printing by more than 2,800 tons per year.
“The AM industry can and needs to do more,” Andreas Vandyck, Sustainability Coordinator at Materialise, tells TCT. “A first step is for companies to organise themselves in a sustainable way, by considering the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. But in order to make truly significant contributions, companies need to invest in innovative technologies that help to advance their respective industries."
The company recently conducted a lifecycle analysis with BASF for the production of one million pairs of midsoles. The results showed that for large-series production of identical products, AM had a bigger impact on the depletion of fossil fuels compared to conventional manufacturing. But if you consider smaller series production, the results start to tip in AM’s favour.
The challenges, realities & potential of sustainable 3D printing
Vandyck adds: “Across the board, “climate change”, clearly stands out as the largest contributing factor for the negative impact of AM technologies. If we look at the carbon footprint, the biggest contributors are the energy consumption of the printing process and emissions related to the production of materials. In comparison, the traditional photo-polymerisation process demands the least amount of energy.”
On the metals side, Sebastian Richter, Head of Powder Metals at thyssenkrupp Materials Trading is optimistic and while he agrees greenwashing is an issue, he believes metals are in a better position.
“Manufacturers are now using metal powders to build structures, which means much lower material consumption,” Richter tells TCT. “Additive also allows manufacturers to have design freedom that can lead not only to product and process improvement but also low waste. You can’t achieve this with conventional processes.”
Thyssenkrupp Materials UK is the UK distributor for metal powders from raw materials specialist thyssenkrupp, including sustainably sourced stainless steel, aluminium, titanium and nickel-based alloys. As a provider of services to the AM industry too, Richter suggests we must also take a closer look at AM hardware.
“As metal powders are low waste and recyclable materials, potential challenges in terms of sustainability for the additive manufacturing industry may lie with the 3D printing equipment,” Richter says. “Given this is still a fairly new industry, we will probably observe further optimisations of the 3D printers in order to make them more efficient and more sustainable, for example, by improving the filter technology, which is currently complicated to recycle.”
ExOne, for example, is confident that its metal binder jet technology can be considered green, stating that more than 95% of powder can be reused directly in the process via a simple reconditioning step. The company also says that part consolidation and design benefits afforded via binder jet can on average result in 30-50% weight savings, which, in the case of the automotive industry can deliver significant reductions in energy use.
“We have no doubt that our technology is more sustainable than traditional manufacturing methods, such as machining, which generates tons of toxic waste as coolants are applied to cutting tools shaving away sometimes as much as 95% of the stock material to create a part,” Sarah Webster, Chief Marketing Officer at ExOne, says. “While there are new innovations in green coolants, most of those in use today during machining remain petroleum based and nothing in the binder jetting process comes close to the volume or type of waste generated during traditional subtractive machining processes.”
Webster stresses that green benefits can also be found outside of end-use parts, namely in tooling (the company recently launched its X1 Tooling portfolio off the back of its acquisition of Freshmade 3D) where the ability to print tools directly can also reduce waste.
For those metals that aren’t so easy to recycle, 6K Additive has developed a technology which specifically addresses the metal AM market. It’s UniMelt Plasma technology is said to turn virtually any scrap metal into 3D printable material, that includes new materials too. With up to 3 million pounds of titanium capable of being upcycled per year at its dedicated ISO9001 facility, Frank Roberts, President 6K Additive says you can really see the momentum building.
“It really means something to the industry,” Frank Roberts, President 6K Additive, says. “Every facet of who we're dealing with is really starting to ask these key questions and so it's critical that we keep the momentum, that we develop best practices to make sure that we're upcycling all the material that we can, and if it can't be upcycled and go back into the industry, that there's a good home that it's upcycled and going into another industry as an alloy addition, for example. But this is the time where we need to make sure we keep the momentum and keep the messaging strong and really make sure we focus on proper solutions for where these by- products are going.”

Getting serious

Proof that serious attention is being paid can be seen in the hiring of new personnel dedicated to sustainability. EOS’ Head of Sustainability Björn Hannappel, for example, joined in January 2020 and sees the company’s main purpose as “leading the world into responsible manufacturing with industrial 3D printing.”
“Compared to established manufacturing processes like casting or injection moulding, AM is still a rather young and niche technology and cannot currently benefit from the scale effects of local production of raw materials, such as powder, for example,” Hannappel says. “This is certainly a topic, but an area that is improving and will have a positive effect on the decentralised production of AM parts. Additionally, at present there is not a lot of data available to calculate the positive impact additive manufacturing is having. At EOS, we also believe there is a need for more research in areas such as the closed materials cycle, for example, the recyclability of AM parts.”
DyeMansion has also announced its intent to hire a sustainability lead next year. The AM post-processing specialist is one of the first companies on board Europe's mission to become the first climate-neutral continent and on a recent episode of TCT’s Additive Insight podcast, Co-founder and CEO Felix Ewald shared how it is embedding sustainability into every discussion. While Ewald admits sustainability is a complex issue, he remains optimistic about the “huge potential” the AM industry could have, particularly around rethinking global supply chains and decentralised manufacturing.
“I'm afraid that sometimes in our industry, it's easy to say that 3D printing has a great potential impact in terms of sustainability,” Ewald cautions. “But then we should also take it seriously. And I think that's the big task that we have as an industry, not only talking about it but really [taking] action.”

The next generation

While AM is by no means new, it is still a fairly young industry. Amongst those asked, there is a common belief that the industry can use this to its advantage.
“As an emerging industry, we still have chances to establish the right way at the beginning,” Huang offers. “Of course, we have our own limitations in addressing the sustainability challenges and AM is not a panacea. But I feel the AM industry has potential to be set up as a good example in addressing sustainability challenges as a whole to push traditional manufacturing industries to do more. This will benefit our whole industry for more opportunities and faster growth.”
New people coming into the sector are also keen to encourage the topic of sustainability, as Ewald shares:
“We are still a young company and many people really want to work in start-ups, and in job interviews there is always the question coming up, ‘What we are doing in terms of sustainability?’ It's really a topic that is pushed by our team and our employees and we take it really seriously.”
They’re not the only ones. The Additive Manufacturer Green Trade Association (AMGTA) just announced its first LCA research project with the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, which will compare the lifecycles and environmental impact of an additively manufactured and traditionally manufactured jet engine low pressure turbine (LPT) bracket. The study will include up to 18 different environmental indicators to quantify the environmental impacts of the part and is expected to be published next spring.
While the task at hand becomes increasingly urgent, with AM uniquely equipped to deliver if we can get it right, Vandyck believes that urgency might actually be just what’s needed.
“The climate crisis is an existential threat. It comes with a sense of urgency that forces us to skip incremental steps forward. Instead, it requires us to drastically rethink the way we develop and create products. And when we dare to think from this bigger perspective, we start to truly innovate and create room for new technologies. Such a climate of radical innovation presents opportunities for AM."

Learn more at TCT Mag. By Laura Griffiths 11 November 2021.

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December 1, 2021

[CITIES] Is Beijing becoming more eco-friendly?

Imagine living in a city with plenty of green spaces, solar-powered buildings, and rooftop gardens, and more cyclists than parking spaces. Does it sound like a futuristic dream to you? Well, Beijing has been actively involved in green living practices and building green technology in recent years, which makes us wonder: Is the city becoming more eco-friendly? In short, yes. Read on to find out why.
More people are getting around by bike than by car
More people in Beijing are cycling now than ever before. In fact, the city has made an effort to make cost-efficient transportation more accessible to the public.
Since the beginning of this year, Beijing's total number of bike rides reached 638 million. On average, there are about 2.42 million trips by bicycle happening in the city each day, over 40 percent more compared to 2020. The city has even been promoting this growing trend by building cycling highways stocked with sufficient amenities along the route.
More vehicle charging stations are popping up citywide
While a typical vehicle produces an average of 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, an electric vehicle generates zero. It seems like Beijing has been privvy to this, with a growing number of EV charging stations popping up around the city -- roughly 230,000 as of this year, to be exact.
Not too long ago, Universal Studios Resort event saw 901 EV charging stations added to its parking lot, meaning even big name brands are jumping on the trend.
A Coal Ban went into effect here last year
Beijing has relied heavily on coal for electricity and heating in the past, but this is slowly changing.
The city’s battle against pollution started back in 2014 when the government announced plans to ban coal use within its six main districts by the end of 2020. In fact, the city’s coal consumption has decreased dramatically from about 12.8 million tons in 2015 to 1.8 million tons in 2020.
As a result, Beijing has seen a big drop in heavily polluted days, with last year having over 80 percent less polluted days than in 2013.
More and more green architecture
When we are talking about sustainable cities, green architecture is often a key factor in determining how eco-friendly a city is. Beijing has been pushing for a greener lifestyle for the future.
Initiatives range from building the city’s first carbon-neutral themed park to becoming the first country in history to host a Winter Olympics that uses 100 percent clean energy, all that signaling the city’s efforts to reduce resource use and to lower greenhouse emissions.

Learn more at the Beijinger, 18 November 2021, by Irene Li.

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