Sustainability: Transforming Industry’s Business Model


This article was written by the Federation of European Producers of Abrasives (FEPA).

When governmental authorities are making sustainability a priority in their political agenda such as the European Green Deal, it is safe to assume that it is not only a hot topic or a trend, it is a new societal approach and a conscious validation that the problem of our economy functioning in an unsustainable way has been identified and it needs to be fixed. However, as a society, there is an increasingly forming paradox between the individual understanding of the need to tackle the principles of sustainability and the enormous task of changing our daily life’s actions to avoid direct consequences of global warming, climate change and a worsened quality of life.

The same paradox exists for Industry: economic imperatives vs the perceived cost of implementing sustainable measures. The very concept of “sustainability” is so broad that sometimes it may appear as an insurmountable task with no start and no end.

The European abrasive industry launched in January 2020 the SEAM (Sustainable European Abrasive Manufacturers) program to begin addressing the issue of sustainable manufacturing process. The program is based on the conviction that the European sustainability system must involve all players within the supply chain, its objective being to support and assist abrasive manufacturers on their way towards sustainable growth and sustainability improvements, mostly in production and distribution.

The SEAM Program requires from companies to select targets falling under three fundamental pillars of sustainability: environment, labour and economy. For example, they can choose over the span of three years to reduce energy consumption by 10% (environment), increase investment in workforce training by 5% (labour) and increase their participation in community events by 25% (economic). This practical sustainable guideline is integrated in the company’s overall business strategy and monitored every year by the mandatory report of the evaluated KPIs.

Staying away from a punitive approach, struggling companies are provided coaching with a sustainable consultant to balance the economic requirements of the company and its sustainable objectives. Indeed, the goal is to ease companies into transforming their business model, not to impose it to them.

We are excited to share information this program with IACDS, because by choosing to work with SEAM program members, you can be certain that your business partners are producing in a sustainable manner.

Click here for the SEAM KPI report for FY2020.

About FEPA

The Federation of European Producers of Abrasives (FEPA) represents the European abrasive industry since its inception in 1955, encompassing four product segments: bonded & coated abrasives, superabrasives and grains. FEPA members cover 90% of the European production of abrasive products. FEPA’s missions focus on three fundamental pillars: standards, safety and sustainability.

Based in Paris, FEPA is an engaged partner to the European Union, interacting on behalf of its members with European institutions, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders. FEPA is registered in the EU Transparency Register under n° 884099437411-41.