Sustainability That’s ‘Measurable And Available For Scrutiny’

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Viewpoint

aluplast’s modern ecotech profile is helping to forge new relationships in the window supply chain. We talk to aluplast’s Director of Sales and Marketing Ian Cocken to find out more.

The term ‘sustainability’ was almost consigned to a meaningless tick-box term in the last decade, according to aluplast’s director of sales and marketing Ian Cocken, which would have let a lot of suppliers – those that hadn’t truly invested in sustainability – off the hook.

“Every end user – whether commercial specifier or homeowner – has a list of requirements when they buy their windows,” Cocken says. “Until recently, ‘sustainability’ regularly sat below price, security, aesthetics, and thermal and weather performance in that list.

Ian Cocken

“And this hierarchy of features often meant that sustainability was almost glossed over, treated nothing more than a marketing exercise to prove that all boxes were ticked when selling products to the end user.”

But empty marketing promises carry little weight today when products come under greater scrutiny by those who buy and install them, Cocken says. Also, people no longer have lists of boxes to tick. Instead, they have been replaced by conditions that have to be met before contracts signed.

“The tide is definitely turning,” he says. “The relationships within the supply chains are moving away from simply supplier/customer agreements to business partnerships. And when you draw up agreements with business partners, you share the responsibility for delivery. So, when you say you have sustainable manufacturing techniques, they must be measurable and available for scrutiny.”

Cocken draws attention to customer Crystal Direct, which chose to partner with aluplast based partly on its sustainability credentials and its ecotech profile.

The Letchworth-based fabricator supplies high street DIY firms with made-to-measure windows and doors that are delivered directly to site – known as ‘dropship vending’. Some of the big brands they deal with are developing their own sustainability brands, and Crystal Direct’s relationship with aluplast helps them to meet the criteria to be a part of that premium offering.

“We recently began working with aluplast, based on the fact that their product is really quite superb both in terms of its performance, its robustness, but also its sustainability credentials, which is really important to Crystal and our customers,” Crystal Direct’s commercial director Kevin Morgan says.

“From a sustainability and energy saving perspective, aluplast’s ecotech profile, coupled with a triple glazed option, means that we can offer an industry-leading product.

“We want to be a unique fabricator, at the forefront of sustainability movement, and our partnership with aluplast underpins the relationship we have with our customers, such as Screwfix, Toolstation and Travis Perkins, as well as our core trade business.”

Cocken explains that aluplast’s ecotech profile has underpinned the Tewkesbury-based supplier’s offering for over a decade, reducing reliance on virgin material and improving performance in the process.

“Our manufacturing processes are certified to the environmental standard ISO5001, and we have led the industry with ecotech, where we extrude recycled and virgin material through two separate feeds into one die to create a profile that has virgin walls, where the recycled element is isolated within the inner profile webbing,” he says. “This maximises strength and appearance, while significantly reducing our impact on the environment.

“We are also pioneering new energy efficient products, including Ideal neo, a 76mm front-to-back system that offers a base-level 1.2W/m2K Uf-value, and the ability to carry units up to 51mm. This means it can achieve U-values as low as 0.73W/m2K triple glazed.”

aluplast’s large technical department is also on hand to help new fabricator customers switch systems, and existing customers navigate the increasing complexities surrounding compliance, and proving their sustainable credentials.

“This is what is expected of partnerships within the supply chain,” Cocken says. “Professionalism, in the form of certification, proven testing, technical support, is a crucial part of the product mix.

“No component supplier can afford to rely on simply using clever marketing terms. Everything must be measurable, traceable and provable. That’s why when we invest in product development, we also invest in the infrastructure that sits behind it.

“We don’t tick boxes. We build partnerships.”

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