We make Europe sustainable
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Policy Areas > Sustainability

«Europacable is actively supporting its members in their responsible effort to promote the most stringent health, safety and environmental requirements.»

– Sophie Barbeau, Chair
Sophie Barbeau, Chair

TOPICS

Sustainable, low-carbon industrial processes and cable products to enable climate neutrality

© Nexans

The positive outcome of the current fight against climate depends on the sustainable and virtuous electrification and digitalisation of our societies and economies. Renewable-based and smarter electricity and communication infrastructure will be key in enabling the needed energy and digital transitions to achieve the goals set for the next decades by the European Commission, the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The fight for climate neutrality and a sustainable, inclusive growth are a shared responsibility which brings together international institutions, national and local governments, businesses and citizens. Europe’s wire and cable industry is committed to pursuing an active role in the race to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 by making both the green and digital transition a reality.

Sustainability is a key part of Europacable identity: Already in 2015, while signing the Association Industry Charter, Europacable Member Companies expressed their collective commitment to their shared principles and objectives of ethical, sustainable and high-quality cable development and manufacturing.

Europacable Member Companies are committed to act in an environmentally and socially responsible way: they apply stringent health and environmental legislation and pledge to further ensure sustainable, environmentally sound and safe cable manufacturing, use and end-of-life by continuing to reduce the environmental footprint of both their products and factories. This implies the key commitment to design and supply low-carbon cable solutions as well as to reduce both products and factories’ greenhouse gas emissions, pursue responsible and efficient consumption of energy and water resources, ensure circularity and waste management, optimise logistics and transport, rely on a more efficient and sustainable supply chain.

Cable technology is key to enable both the energy and digital transitions and Europe’s wire and cable industry is ready to supply innovative, low-carbon cable solutions to deploy renewable-based, energy efficient, smarter, safer and sustainable electricity and communication networks that are essential for meeting carbon neutrality and promote a new, sustainable growth model.

Protecting People & the Environment

HIGHEST QUALITY FROM PRODUCTION TO END-OF-LIFE

Europe is at the forefront of environmental policies, seeking to achieve a sustainable, resource and energy efficient economy. Wire and cable products play an essential part in achieving these objectives.

Europacable members are fully committed to the highest level of environmental performance. This entails a dedicated environmental focus during cable design, manufacture, use and end-of-life.

The Europacable Health Safety and Environmental (HSE) Team is actively covering this scope, seeking to ensure a sustainable cable production and cable usage in Europe. The commitment given by all Europacable members is also expressed through the Europacable Industry Charter.

Accordingly, the Europacable HSE Team has defined the following key priority areas as its scope of work:

  • EU HSE legislation, including REACH, RoHS, WEEE and EDD;
  • EU Plant legislation, focusing on safety and environmental protection at the work place;
  • Technical and Standardisation, ensuring our active involvement in relevant Standardisation bodies; and
  • Strategic HSE Topics, including energy usage, carbon footprint and accident prevention.

At the same time, environmental requirements may neither compromise the safety nor the performance of wire and cable products. Also, such requirements may not undermine the competitiveness of the European wire and cable industry. Europacable HSE Team is striving to balance these aspects in all its efforts to ensure a sustainable, environmentally sound and safe cable production, use and end-of-life.

Securing a sustainable future

© NKT

CARBON FOOTPRINT, ENERGY USAGE, SAFETY AT THE WORK PLACE

Securing a sustainable future business is of critical importance for the wire and cable industry. Europacable is actively involved in developing three strategic topics including the following aspects:

  • Energy Usage
  • Carbon Footprint
  • Safety at the work place

For all of the above, the Europacable HSE team working with Europacable member companies as well as National Associations from across Europe to gather intelligence helping to address and tackle the key areas. Naturally, we are also looking to benchmark ourselves against similar industries from across the EU so as to maximise our best practices.

Ultimately, across our member companies we seek to achieve an improved energy use, improved environmental and safety performance and to make our industry´s manufacturing and office facilities carbon neutral.

Sustainable Products & Substances

EU HSE LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATIVE FRAMEWORK

The European Union´s legislative and regulative framework defines the Health, Safety and Environmental requirements for products and substances. Europacable is actively involved in the debates on REACH, RoHS, WEEE and other regulations to support that cable production and usage is at all times full compliant with EU´s environmental, health and safety obligations.

REACH

Regulation for ‘Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation of CHemicals’ (REACH) is the EU-wide harmonized tool for chemicals management, including their safe use. The REACH Regulation obligations are fully in place and an increasing number of substances is regulated.

REACH requires the evaluation and registration of all substances used in Europe, in a harmonized way, to ensure that substances placed on the market can be handled safely by workers and users through an enhanced flow of information along the supply chain. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) runs a centralized information database on chemicals and administers the implementation of REACH requirements, including the authorization and restriction procedures.

The implementation demands a high frequency of monitoring of the regulatory processes regarding the respective substance lists in order to identify consequences for cable manufacturers. Europacable members are regularly updated about the status and if necessary, co-ordinate stakeholder consultations.

Europacable, through the development of interpretation guidelines, supports a common understanding of the regulation and legal requirements, and ensures consistency among members and countries, in particular for legal information to be communicated to customers.

RoHS

Directive 2015/863/EU on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment specifies maximum levels for 10 restricted substances in certain electrical and electronic equipment.

In general, “cables” are not included in the scope of RoHS Directive, as the legislation specified the definition of cables as “cables with a rated voltage of less than 250 volts that serve as connection or an extension to connect EEE to the electrical outlet or to connect two or more EEE to each other”.

To clarify products falling in the scope, Europacable has developed documents detailing the products covered by the directive, as well as the application dates and legal obligations that needs t be fulfilled.

Please consult the Europacable Communication on Cables and RoHS for an indication which rated voltages and final applications fall into the RoHS scope and which remain outside.

WEEE

The Directive 2012/19/EU on Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE2) regulates the end-of-life management of a wide range of electrical and electronic consumer appliances as well as certain professional equipment.

In principle, producers are responsible for the end-of-life management of waste electrical and electronic equipment and consumers are able to return their waste equipment free of charge.

Although most cable are not covered by WEEE as considered as components, certain types of products, like cables with connectors, might be in the scope. In these cases, cable manufacturers may have to comply with producer responsibilities.

Europacable recommends monitoring the implementation of national WEEE 2 legislation at Member State level for understanding the detailed obligations and consequences for cable manufacturers.

Please consult the Europacable Communication on Cables and WEEE2

 

Europacable is actively engaged in working with and contributing to ongoing workstreams of all standardisation bodies relevant to wire and cable products.

The objective of our work in this area is to identify environmental standards which may have an impact on the development of cable standards and to ensure liaison and minimise any possible discrepancies.

Areas of major importance relate to CPR, fire related standards, material performance standards, halogen definitions and testing of products.

In detail, we partner with

  • IEC
  • CENELEC
  • National Standardisation Bodies of EU Member States