• EN

FAQ

Home Sustainability FAQ

Sustainability at A.S. Création – The most important questions

A: Corporate strategy

What does sustainability mean for A.S. Création?

At A.S. Création, sustainability stands for assuming responsibility for your own actions. Industry corporations cause a significant share of global CO2 emissions, consume substantial natural resources and through their global supply chains they even impact human rights in other continents. 

 

Through an internal materiality analysis and an independent sustainability rating from the “EcoVadis” platform, A.S. Création has identified all areas in which one significantly influences stakeholders. As a result of this analysis, five “action fields” have been defined, within which the sustainability work of the company is moved:
 

 

1.    Product safety
2.    Resource use and climate-relevant emissions
3.    Work conditions and youth development
4.    Compliance and business ethics
5.    Economic success

 


Within these action fields there are numerous areas which require improvement step-by-step within the framework of the sustainability campaign “GREEN STEPS”. We understand this task to be a continuous improvement process. 

What objectives is the company specifically following?

Within the framework of our sustainability strategy we set ourselves qualitative and quantitative objectives within our action fields. The current, most important objectives are subsequently presented. It is essential to consider that as a result of these objectives, there are numerous sub-objectives and measures that cannot be individually listed in their entirety. 

 

In the area of resource use and climate-relevant emissions, our CO2 reduction objective is at the forefront. Specifically, the CO2 intensity for each produced wallpaper of 5.65 kg CO2e  for each standard roll in 2020 will be reduced by 30,6 % to 3.92 kg CO2e for each standard roll by 2030. 

 

In the area of product safety, the successive increase of the range, which bears the “d’eco” sustainability label, is an essential objective. As a result, the product portfolio will be designed more sustainably step-by-step.

An objective, which cross-sectionally affects all company areas, is the improvement of the EcoVadis rating. EcoVadis is a renowned, independent company, which executes an analysis of the sustainability performance of a company in the fields of environment, human rights, ethics, and procurement. In 2021 and 2022, A.S. Création respectively achieved a bronze rating.

 

With the annual assessment, optimisation potential and specific suggestions for targeted improvement measures are provided. Our aim is to close these gaps step-by-step to achieve the silver rating in future.

Which measures are planned in the short/medium/long-term?

Although our strategy and our model “GREEN STEPS” display a clear path, we are still at the beginning of our journey. Not all the measures on our journey have been defined yet, and at the moment there are unfinished solutions for some of the challenges. The following examples should however, provide an initial picture of which specific projects are already in planning.

 

In the area of our climate objective, we have identified numerous potentials to reduce our emissions. In doing so, the raw materials for the manufacture of our wallpaper are at the forefront as around 90 % of the CO2 emissions that we cause, on the goods procured by A.S. Création, on the logistics and on the disposal, are omitted. Here, there are already projects running without suppliers. More projects will begin in the short-term.  
 

In the medium-term, we will continue to develop our sustainability communication. We would like to take our business partners and customers with us on our sustainability mission and involve them. We are convinced that the change to a sustainable economic system can only be achieved together. Our communication strategy therefore forms an important part within GREEN STEPS.

 

To produce entirely sustainably, we will also need to design our energy system and production processes to be more sustainable. The first investigations into this matter are already running and show that this is a very complex sub-question with many challenges and uncertainties.
 

Is A.S. Création operating greenwashing?

No. It is rather our fundamental belief to live sustainability in an honest, transparent and fact-based way, and to report about our aspiration in the same way. As a result, we first held lots of discussions for the purpose of consultation, we executed analyses and collected data to enter the limelight in the end with a reliable and, in the truest sense of the word, “sustainable” strategy, which we have summarised in our mission statement GREEN STEPS. Our sustainability management is therefore driven by data. All measures that we take are based on the prior assessment of their effects. In doing so, their CO2 emission is the decisive figure.

 

We have included all of our sustainability activities in our sustainability report since 2017. The 2022 sustainability report has been checked by an independent auditing company.

 

As a result of this, the reader can trust the accuracy of the statements and data within the report. The report inspection is performed immediately every year.

What is the difference between "Green Steps" and "d’eco"?

GREEN STEPS is the sustainability mission statement of the company. GREEN STEPS combines all the objectives, measures and communication on the matter of sustainability on a corporate level. 

"d’eco" is a product seal, which has been developed by A.S. Création. This is about providing consumers who have a high sustainability conscience with easy orientation when purchasing their next wallpaper. Furthermore, it provides incentive internally to continually increase the share of the range, which complies with the sustainability criteria of the d’eco seal.
 

 

B: Product und packaging

How dangerous is the content of a PVC wallpaper?

No danger is posed to the users of PVC wallpapers.

 

At A.S. Création, the safety of the raw material and chemicals used is of paramount importance. No substances are used that are categorised by the EU Commission as posing a danger to health and which are listed in directives, such as REACH. PVC is not on any of these EU lists.

 

Due to its very good product characteristics, the PVC plastic used by us in the manufacture of wallpaper is also still used in medical products, among other things, for example in blood bags and hoses. This shows that PVC does not present any general risks, including our wallpaper.
 

To guarantee the manufacture of safe products for our customers, our wallpaper is being constantly inspected in accordance with the provisions of national and international law, as well as with other voluntary standards. The consequent adherence to these standards and laws is regularly confirmed by accredited inspection institutes. With this, A.S. Création provides customers with a product that can also be used in the wall design of sensitive living areas. 

 

For example, there is an inspection by the institute “Gemaco” for the harmlessness of the products. Here it has been proven that our wallpaper even fulfils the standards for children’s toys and baby items (Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006, Appendix XVII, Article 52).
 

Does the wallpaper contain solvents?

Organic solvents may be used in the manufacture of particular wallpaper types.

 

Organic solvents are volatile compounds, which dissolve or dilute other substances (e.g. colours, adhesives) without changing them chemically. There are countless types of organic solvents. Frequently they are hydrocarbons, alcohol and other substance classes, like aldehydes, ketones and esters.  


 

Solvents used in the manufacture of wallpaper are almost completely volatilised in the manufacturing process. Through the regular inspection of our products by independent testing laboratories, we are able to ensure that the legal thresholds for organic solvent are maintained so that no risk arises from our products, for example so-called VOC emissions.
 

Which material is used for the production of PVC-free fine-textured wallpapers?

e.g. for the "Natural Living" collection

 

In a research and development cooperation with a supplier of the company, a special water-based structural coating was developed that can produce the typical properties of compact vinyl wallpapers containing PVC.

 

It is still a synthetic material. However, this plastic can be used on our machines without the aid of organic solvents and conventional plasticisers. 

 

With this innovation, we aim to further improve the sustainability of our products. In the future, we will continue to work with the same intensity on innovative materials and production techniques.

Is the fundamental abandonment of plastics worthwhile?

The fundamental abandonment of plastics is a complex matter and there are both advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered.

 

An advantage of plastics is their diversity and durability. Plastic-coated wallpaper is particularly impact-resistant, spray water-resistant and wipeable; as a result, it can even be used in wet areas. However, the use of plastics is often linked with environmental problems, such as high energy consumption for manufacturing. Additionally, most plastics today are still manufactured on the basis of fossil crude oil. 

 

There are already alternative materials which can be used, like biologically degradable or biologically-based, non-fossil plastics, as well as materials made from renewable raw materials like timber or bamboo. However, there are currently still some disadvantages that are linked to the use of alternative materials. They frequently exhibit worse technical characteristics than synthetic plastics, and they are also substantially more expensive. The manufacture of some bio-based plastics is also in conflict with food growing land.
 

We cannot yet assess from today’s perspective whether fundamental abandonment of plastics is worthwhile in the manufacture of wallpaper. In any case, it is worthwhile and important to find alternative materials that are ecologically sustainable and that offer the required technical characteristics. Additionally, the materials need to be economically competitive so that the more sustainable product presents a real option to the purchaser. Studies have shown that more sustainable products do not catch on without these economical framework conditions.

 

Currently, there is no technical alternative for a synthetic plastic, which fulfils all the aforementioned criteria for use and would enable a conversion.
 

Are natural materials used in the manufacture of wallpaper by A.S. Création?

Yes. In the manufacture of our wallpaper, we use, for example, natural arising chalk as a filler, and our paper and non-woven materials are manufactured exclusively from FSC-certified wood pulp fibres, which come from sustainably cultivated wooded areas.

 

However, we do not exclusively use natural materials. 

Nowadays, there are not yet any natural substances for many of the substances used in the product which would provide the required technical characteristics. Unfortunately, some of the natural materials also bear the disadvantage that they exhibit their own strong colour components. This is problematic for a visually demanding product like wallpaper, as the colours need to fit precisely here. Therefore, it is often not possible nowadays to use many of the natural raw materials in industrial production processes.

Why is wallpaper packaged in plastic film?

The film primarily acts as transportation protection. It protects the goods from damage and contamination. In the trade, the transparent film also protects the integrity of goods, even in the event that customers consider and remove the goods multiple times from the shelves. As a result, the final purchaser will always receive the perfect product. 

As the product packaging ends up in the bin, we would like its environmental impact to be as little as possible. For this reason, our shrink wraps are not only 100% recyclable, but also consist of 40% recycled plastic. A higher proportion of the same quality and functionality is currently still hard to achieve. But we’re working with our suppliers to improve it further.

C: Climate protection

When will A.S. be a carbon-neutral company?

The climate footprint of A.S. Création Tapeten AG for 2022 is as follows:

 

  2022 to CO²e Distribution
  Scope 1 (heat, refrigeration, vehicle fleet) 6.974 10,5 %
  Scope 2 (electricity) 0 0,0 %
  Scope 3 (purchased goods, logistics, waste disposal, etc.) 59.312 89,5 %
  Total emissions
(of which are site-related emissions)
66.286
(10.049)
 
100,0 %
(13,8 %)
 

 

The climate footprint of A.S. Création shows a structure typical for a production company, for which the greatest proportion of CO2 emissions is for the purchased goods (in particular, the raw materials used), the logistics and the disposal of so-called Scope 3 emissions is reduced. At A.S. Création, this is around 90 %. 

 

The so-called site-related emissions, i.e. the emissions that directly relate to the production, administration and sales are only around 14 % of the total emissions. These are the total Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, as well as certain components from Scope 3, like corporate waste and upstream chain emissions of the consumed energy.

 

 

 

A company is generally labelled as “carbon neutral” if it does not cause any site-related emissions or the site-related emissions are offset with a so-called “CO2 compensation”. This occurs through measures like the reforestation of woodland, which could absorb a certain amount of CO2, therefore removing it from the atmosphere. As a result, they are “carbon neutral” or “net zero”. The carbon neutrality objective (relating to the site-related emissions) therefore corresponds to a reduction in our total emissions by around 14 %.

 

The objective that A.S. Création has set is clearly more ambitious: We would like to reduce our total emissions per roll of wallpaper by 2030 by around 31 % when compared with 2020. With the reduction aim, we are even going beyond the scientific-based provision of the IPCC.

 

In doing so, the principle “Prevent, Reduce, Compensate” also applies to A.S. Création. It means that companies must initially take all (internal) measures to reduce their CO2 impact before the remaining emissions are compensated via CO2 certificates. Accordingly, our focus in the current phase is on projects with which we can reduce our total emissions. 
 


 

D: Waste/recycling economy

Can wallpaper be disposed of in recycling as paper waste?

No, wallpaper must be disposed of in general waste.

 

To be able to provide a colour-intense, structural surface, while simultaneously providing a processable wallpaper, we have to combine plastic (front side) and paper (rear side) with one another. This bond needs to be strong so that the wallpaper is still robust and resilient years later.

This leads to the necessity to dispose of wallpaper in general waste at the end of its life, because both sides cannot be separated without a specialist technique. As wallpaper recycling is currently not possible due to this reason, we aspire to keep our CO2 footprint of the goods as low as possible.
 

When will wallpaper be recyclable?

Wallpaper recycling via public disposal providers is a huge challenge that has not yet been overcome.

 

It is fundamental to keep products within the technical or even biological cycle (cradle-to-cradle) in order to achieve a completely sustainable way of life in the long-term. 
 

As a manufacturer, we have developed technical options to recycle (our internal) wallpaper waste. In doing so, we have established research projects with local higher education facilities and the plastics industry, and are always on the search for more options with our disposers to recycle wallpaper. In previous years, we have been able to put over 90 % of our internal wallpaper leftovers in a technical recycling cycle. In doing so, the goods were normally supplied through a down-cycling process.

 

We are already researching for solutions to make at least some products groups recyclable, also through the disposal routes accessible to the end consumer, e.g. paper waste bins.

© 2024 A.S. Création Tapeten AG