Response to customer demand drives our sustainability mission

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With sustainability firmly established as a vital element of the construction industry, how is ASSA ABLOY ensuring that it is the market leader in offering sustainable access solutions to ever-more discerning customers?

“It’s not like we can wake up one morning and say, ‘OK, we’re going to change all of our operations,’” says Amy Musanti, Business Development Director of Sustainability. Instead, what you do is listen to what your customers are saying about their desire for sustainable products. Then you respond.

ASSA ABLOY has long prioritized sustainable practices, having issued our annual sustainability report since 2006. And we are constantly evolving in how we think about these issues, responding to customer, market, and global demand.

Green building standards such as LEED encourage the use of environmental product declarations, documents that reflect the impact of a given item throughout its life cycle. To date ASSA ABLOY has completed 132 of these declarations, which builders and architects request to achieve LEED or other green building certifications.

Certifications define how sustainable a given product is once it’s created. But how do you get there? “If you really want to look at where you can make the most effective product, start early in the development process,” says Zeljka Svensson, Director of Global Innovation. “From the design, start to think how to do it.”

That means rethinking everything – and asking the right questions. From the materials used to engineering and product specifications, a willingness to upend traditional ways of operation can allow for important leaps.

Increasingly ASSA ABLOY’s product development has been guided by a desire for resiliency, says Peter Boriskin, Chief Technology Officer for ASSA ABLOY Americas. A resilient product can sustain whatever conditions it faces, even a flood, hurricane, or other calamity.

Ultimately a resilient product is simply a better one. And these improved products are winning over even the skeptics. “Even folks who maybe initially were not motivated by sustainability, when they saw they could reduce the power consumption by more than 95 percent and the lock itself didn’t cost them any more to be sustainable, there’s no reason not to,” Boriskin says.

Being a responsible global citizen entails walking the talk, says Dan Picard, Director of Innovation at Sargent, an ASSA ABLOY Group company. “At the product manufacturing site level, the practices we use to make the parts and pieces and products, we want to be using sustainable techniques, we want to be using sustainable materials,” he says.

For example, at the company’s Berlin, Connecticut manufacturing facility, an on-site solar farm produces 75 percent of the energy needed to run the plant – and a future expansion will push that to 100 percent.

That’s just one example of how ASSA ABLOY is constantly driving toward a better, more sustainable future. And that mindset is simply the obvious choice, Boriskin says.

“There are only so many resources available planet-wide.The more we can be stewards of those resources – and the less of them we can take in any given product in terms of power, transportation, carbon footprint, energy, and materials – the more there is for our company and other companies. It’s good for us and for our customers and our planet.”

This is edited version of a story by Margaret Poe originally published in Green Building and Design Magazine: https://gbdmagazine.com/2020/assa-abloy-sustainability-mission/