Implementing Circularity at ASSA ABLOY (Q&A)

Apr 7, 2022 10:38:31 AM

Materials Health, Product Design, Sustainability, Circularity

ASSA ABLOY is the global leader in door opening solutions. They are also one of the leading global companies globally focusing on circularity, having recently launched their product end of life recycling program for customers. We caught up with Amy Musanti, Sustainability Director at ASSA ABLOY, to learn more about their circularity program.

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Hey Amy! To get us started, can you share a little background on ASSA ABLOY's sustainability journey?

AM: The ASSA ABLOY sustainability journey has always been a ‘case for what is possible’. While we are a very large global organization, with over 50,000 employees and operations in over 70 countries, our story has humble and young roots. The original directive came from our group center in Stockholm, Sweden in 2003, with the purpose: ‘To create shareholder value, through sustainable competitive advantages, by meeting the increased stakeholder knowledge of, and expectations on, environmentally sound solutions, and ethical behavior from a caring company.’

Our first sustainability report was issued in 2011, and not long after, we completed our first Environmental Product Declaration. We have an understanding that with global reach comes global responsibility, and we work each day to incorporate responsible practices in operations, innovation, and our value chain. In many ways, an ever changing, educated industry helps drive us toward what comes next as a manufacturer. Demands from architects, designers, building owners and end users encourage us to remain on the cutting edge of sustainable products and processes.

 

ASSA ABLOY's sustainability program has been very proactive over the years. What has guided you to strategize around the circular economy?

AM: For quite some time, manufacturers, including us, thought mainly about the product’s impact during its use/install phase. The work involved in completing over 130 life cycle assessments, by way of Environmental Product Declarations, has proven to us that the entire life cycle and impact measurements of the product are important. Armed with data about end of life, we developed a very simple product end of life recycling program. In 2021, we began discussions with the team at Toxnot to implement a more involved circularity program.

 

A lot of companies are very interested in the Circular Economy right now. What has motivated ASSA ABLOY to achieve its circularity goals?

AM: We are motivated by green building certification programs like LEED. We are also encouraged by industry organizations, especially those involving forward thinking architects and designers. We also recognize and embrace that we have a lot to learn about this topic, so we are motivated by the spirit of continuous improvement. Our products are designed to be installed for upwards of twenty years, so it forces us to think very far into the future!

 

Awesome! What would you say is the greatest challenge you're tackling throughout the process?

AM: Our products are heavily configured and very complex. This is beneficial when it comes to being able to offer a solution for almost every unique customer demand. This is difficult when we are attempting to collect data from suppliers. One of the best business decisions we’ve made was to move our data and supply chain outreach from spreadsheets into Toxnot. All product information is in one place and easily accessible to all business units, internal resources, and third party organizations.

 

What is ASSA ABLOY actively working on right now?

AM: Most of our operating companies offer a product end of life recycling program or work with local recycling agencies to source the product locally (steel doors aren’t easy to ship back to the manufacturer). We have also started listing products into the Toxnot Exchange!

 

That's great! So what does circularity success look like for ASSA ABLOY? How are you measuring your achievements?

AM: One element of circularity success is the adoption of the program by our customers! We would love to have more customers take advantage of the product end of life recycling program and also tell us how to improve. Ideally, we’d like to have a larger focus on reuse/redistribution and refurbish/remanufacture activities in the future.

 

What has been Toxnot's role in helping ASSA ABLOY along the way?

AM: Toxnot’s system has been an integral part in organizing our data and achieving milestones within our program. Toxnot’s team have provided endless hours of support, education, and process improvement suggestions. The collaboration with Toxnot has proven to be invaluable to us, as a global manufacturer. Our next move is to add additional products to Toxnot Exchange and continue to learn from the Toxnot team and other like-minded manufacturers.

 

To learn more about ASSA ABLOY and their sustainability program, check out their sustainability page and learn about the ambitious targets they've set for themselves for a sustainable future.

 

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