New Subscription Research Project Will Map PVC Supply Chain: HBN Seeks Transparency Leaders To Participate

Bill Walsh | July 26, 2017

Today Healthy Building Network (HBN) is announcing a new pilot program of Subscription Research. For nearly 20 years, HBN has provided the building industry with in depth and independent analysis of chemical hazards, industry trends, supply chain and market structures, and the social and environmental impacts of product manufacture. The vision of our Subscription Research program is to support an expanded research agenda on a greater array of topics that are consistent with our transformational agenda. We will invite subscribers from all industry sectors, while limiting contributions from any single company. All subscribers will be named in the reports, and the reports will be made available to the public after an initial period of subscriber briefings. These are not collaborative research projects. HBN will retain editorial control over this work from start to publication as described on our Research webpage. The pilot project announced today will map the PVC supply chain.

Over the past year, HBN's research team has documented the surprising extent to which highly polluting asbestos and 19th century mercury-based technologies are still used in the PVC supply chain, even in the US. As a result of that research, a growing number of PVC product manufacturers have expressed their willingness to eliminate these sources from their supply chain. A public global inventory of chlorine and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) producers (including associated technologies and related pollution) is a necessary first step for taking action. HBN will identify and map these asbestos and mercury using facilities.

This transparency leadership initiative has attracted initial support both from PVC-free companies such as the bio-based wall covering manufacturer, Carnegie, as well as building product companies that use PVC and acknowledge the need for a global supply chain inventory. We think it is appropriate that PVC product manufacturers contribute to this basic research, and have accepted initial subscriptions from three vinyl flooring companies (Interface, Metroflor and Tarkett). HBN has always advocated for the phase-out of PVC building products. This project identifies some common ground with PVC users. A baseline understanding of the global chlorine and VCM supply chain and their impacts will benefit the building industry, the environment and human health by advancing transparency and accelerating the sunsetting of some high hazard substances.

Similar to a crowd-funding project, we will begin our work once we have raised our budget. The PVC supply chain mapping project budget is $60,000, with a $12,000 cap on any single subscription. We are more than halfway to our goal, and seek the support of companies and individuals committed to product transparency and learning more about the PVC supply chain. You can be a leader in this important transparency initiative by purchasing an individual or corporate subscription. These are available in any amount by contacting us at subscriptions@healthybuilding.net for a research prospectus and further information. Of course, you can also offer your general support to HBN on our Donate page!