Sustainability: driving innovation in the ceramics industry

Reading time: minutes

By focusing on environmental, social and governance sustainability, Italian ceramics companies promote change that benefits people.

From occupational safety to health policies, from product lifecycle assessment to continual improvement of production processes, attention to sustainability has always underpinned the search for innovative techniques and new tools to drive change. In terms of competitiveness, within companies an intelligent, leading-edge approach to sustainability fosters new business processes and organisational models to improve management of workers’ health and safety and of the supply chain, as well as new products and systems tailored to end consumers’ evolving demands.

Consumer demand for eco-friendly products is growing all the time, and to meet this need the company has developed new production techniques that have made it possible to reduce tile thickness, cutting the impact of logistics and freight both upstream and downstream of the supply chain. Energy consumption has been optimised by channelling the heat produced by the kilns in the factory to other process steps (dryers, spray-dryers) and to the heating system. Through a well engineered management process, not only does the company recover 100% of production wastewater, but the industrial water recycling rate goes one step further, standing at 120% because it also includes the reuse of water from other companies in the ceramics district.

The minimisation of waste through the promotion of recycling and the regeneration and reuse of materials and resources reflects the ‘circular’ approach, or closed-cycle production model, the Group has adopted. For example, the company recovers 100% of greenware and fired scrap from tile production and uses packaging made from 100% recycled, 100% recyclable material.

Thanks to this model, the company recycles 99.6% of waste with the aid of specialist organisations and only 0.4% of the total waste generated by its production processes goes to landfill.