VECAP is a globally recognized product stewardship program designed to reduce the environmental emissions of flame retardants. The program operates under the principles of Responsible Care®.
VECAP was established 10 years ago by the Company’s Industrial Products segment along with two other major flame retardant producers – Albemarle and Chemtura. In Europe, the program is administered by the European Flame Retardants Association (EFRA).
Currently, VECAP includes four main brominated flame retardants (BFRs), Deca-BDE, TBBPA, EBP, and HBCD.
The program demonstrates the industry’s, and specifically, ICL’s, commitment to the environmentally sound management of BFR. VECAP operates according to the following principles:
Over the years, VECAP has evolved from its original concept, as a tool to control emissions during handling and use of brominated flame retardants, into a system for more efficient management of chemicals which can be applied to a much wider range of processes and raw materials.
The program has received recognition from external stakeholders as a successful, sustainable approach to safe handling of chemicals. In the past decade more and more users in Europe and worldwide have adopted it.
Over the years, ICL has secured commitments from customers, primarily small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the plastics and textiles industries, to join the program.
As a result of this program, ICL customers using flame retardants in the manufacture of their end products, now review their production processes, quantify the loss of material using a mass balance model, diagnose the reason for the loss and the destination of the emissions (into air, water or soil), and prepare an improvement plan to prevent environmental emissions in the future.
Since 2009, VECAP certification is given by an independent third-party auditor. There are currently 11 VECAP certified manufacturing and user sites worldwide, including all the brominated BFR manufacturing plants of the three originators of the program (including ICL-IP plants in Israel, Holland and China).
In 2014, VECAP participation in Europe for the four common flame retardants included in the program ranged from 58%-98% of the products’ total sales by the three participating companies, and 81% – 98% if Deca is not included (Deca was phased-out in 2013 by Albemarle and Chemtura in Europe).
The program was extended to North America and, recently, to the Asia Pacific region and Middle East, after it was shown to be very successful in Europe. ICL-IP is focusing on the implementation of the program in the Asia Pacific region where its sales volumes are the largest. During 2014, in addition to China, Japan, and Singapore, new countries were included like Malaysia, and Taiwan.
Following the success of the program for common BFRs, ICL-IP decided to extend the program to include all BFRs sold by the Company. ICL-IP’s total sales volume of BFRs included in the program increased from 61% in 2013 to 65% in 2014. In Europe, the coverage for all BFRs in 2014 reached 85%. In North America it decreased slightly to 53% mainly due to the phase out of Deca.
The following figure illustrates the effectiveness of the program in Europe. The potential emissions for ICL-IP sales of the three products were calculated each year and compared to the baseline potential emissions in 2009. The reduction in the total emissions of the 3 BFRs between 2009 and 2014 was 98.3%. This significant reduction in emissions is mainly due to the implementation of best practices for empty packaging of the BFRs users.
VECAP is proven as a successful emission reduction tool and ICL-IP expects additional customers to join in the coming years.