A Conversation about Carbon Compensation

BASF Forward AM has launched a Carbon Compensation program as part of #ProjectZero to assist customers in reaching their sustainability goals. Learn more about this new program from the following conversation between Forward AM colleagues Laura Berecibar Gorostiza, Product Marketing Manager for PBF and Nicolas Mathian, Head of Sustainability.

Nicolas: Glad we could take some time to talk about carbon compensation, Laura. At present, Forward AM has several sustainability initiatives we are focusing on. First, we have created Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) for six materials and working to expand that list. We also have launched a take back program for Ultrasint PA11. And now we are launching our Carbon Compensation program to counterbalance what we cannot reduce to go full circle. We know this subject may be new to some people, and I think our discussion will provide some great information for those looking to grow their knowledge of the subject. First, let’s discuss why we started a Carbon Compensation program for powder materials.

Laura: I would say that we just needed to begin with a designated material, in this case we started with our powder materials for LCA calculations, so it made sense to begin there. Though more importantly will be where we finish once we have expanded the program and included additional materials such as filaments and photopolymers.

Nicolas: I agree. I think it’s also moving us towards a more ecologically friendly product and a more sustainable future by focusing on our strategy of: First to measure, second to reduce, and third to compensate what is impossible to reduce.

Laura: As a leading material company for Additive Manufacturing, it’s of vital importance to reduce our environmental impact and take responsibility for optimizing our manufacturing as well as our research and development processes as we continue to innovate with recyclable materials, high reusability rates, and durable materials that will stand the test of time. Furthermore, we aim to reduce waste in all parts of the material and part lifecycle through the implementation of powder and part take-back programs on a global level. However, when we cannot reduce more waste, we also have a compensation component that is critical in achieving our sustainability objectives. BASF is committed to continuously improving our sustainability initiatives. The chart below highlights some of our efforts:

Nicolas: And while direct emissions reductions by corporations should be a priority, the complementary role of offsetting also plays an essential and critical part in accelerating climate action.

Laura: I agree. While it is true that carbon compensation does not address the root cause of carbon emissions, it is still a useful tool to reduce carbon emissions in the short-term while efforts to transition to renewable energy and overall emission reductions are being made. So, let’s talk about how Carbon Compensation exactly works. To explain it in the simplest way, we work to finance projects that result in long term carbon capture, which will then balance out the unavoidable emissions that are created during the manufacturing process of our product. A visual of the carbon cycle can be seen here:

Source: *Source: World Atlas – https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-is-the-carbon-cycle.html

Nicolas: A project we are currently supporting is Forest Protection and Economic Growth in Mataven, Colombia. The projects mission is preserving existing forests, as it is one of the best solutions to maintain carbon absorption and sequestration processes. The project works hand-in-hand with indigenous communities to shift towards sustainable economic practices, meaning little to no deforestation while also having a positive effect on both the local level and on a global-scale. Forward AM also utilizes only VCS or gold standards for Carbon Compensation as they are the most reliable carbon offsetting standards due to their rigorous certification processes and transparent methodologies giving them global credibility.

Laura: This commitment truly illustrates the importance that Forward AM has placed on sustainability and putting our words onto actions. This will help to bring us full circle with what we have planned for the remainder of 2023 and into the future.

Nicolas: That’s right. We have expanded the Carbon Compensation program for the entire TPU line and for PP and are currently working to extend it to the PA11 and other PA11 blends. And while this type of program isn’t something new to the Additive Manufacturing (AM) industry, it’s not something that is common either. And as leaders in 3D printing and materials, we need to show that this type of program should be a normal part of doing business within AM.

Laura: That’s true. Though I think aiming for transparency and avoiding greenwashing is what is making us distinguished. Forward AM is committed to open and clear communication regarding our sustainability efforts. We are and will continue to be transparent in all our actions as our concern and care for the environment is at the heart of #ProjectZero.

Nicolas: Now we get to the benefits that Carbon Compensation has for our customers and partners. First, it allows for a material user to claim that the part produced is fully compensated and therefore complies with a company’s zero emission policy. Second, it offers the possibility to use an eco-friendlier material in comparison with other alternative products. And lastly, they can reduce the environmental impact of the part they produce with our materials.

Laura: As we continue to expand our Carbon Compensation efforts and focus on moving towards a more sustainable future, we encourage all our customers or partners who want more information on this program or other aspects of #ProjectZero to reach out to Forward AM anytime. Only together can we create a brighter and greener future for generations to come.

For more information on our Carbon Compensation Program, please contact:

Nicolas Mathian at [email protected]

Laura Berecibar Gorostiza at [email protected]

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