Published On: Thu, Jun 6th, 2024

Sustainability and the wider environment

Robert Thiroff, MD of Profine UK and Kömmerling, explores material management and corporate responsibility beyond recycling

Sustainability is high on the agenda for all manufacturing businesses, particularly recycling, but what of the wider issues in terms of materials management and corporate and social responsibility? Robert Thiroff, Managing Director of Profine UK and Kömmerling explains further. 

Profine Group is a global powerhouse when it comes to PVC-U profiles and sheet production with a payroll of over 3,400 employees at 29 sites in 23 countries. The business directly serves over 100 countries worldwide producing over 450,000 tons of profiles, so our overall environmental impact is considerable and with this comes responsibility.

Dr Peter Mrosik, owner and CEO of Profine Group takes this responsibility seriously as he states: Our sustainability policy isn’t just about ecology, it also extends to the social and economic environments.’ It’s also a future vision that has been ignited by the past and as a business we were the first major PVC-U systems house to remove lead as a stabiliser since the 1990’s.

More recently we have achieved ‘Zero Pellet Loss’ certification in Germany as part of ‘Operation Clean Sweep,’ an initiative driven by the plastic industry’s global effort to keep plastic out of the ocean. Elsewhere across our manufacturing sites there are measures and processes to help replicate this important standard including the development of new products that contain higher levels of recycled material.

ReFrame has been an important part of our development programme which has realised a 100% recycled window and it’s been used on several prominent projects in Europe. It’s been based on our next generation Kömmerling 76 tilt and turn window with all visible faces treated with our pioneering proCoverTec surface technology. 

While Greenline has served us well in terms of a next generation compound, we have recently developed a revolutionary organic based material in the form of bio-attributed PVC, a pine oil based compound that has eliminated the use of petrochemicals in PVC extrusion and dare I suggest an important milestone for the entire PVC-U window and door market. But while many of these developments have been carried out with the considerable resources of the group, in the UK 2024 will be a year in which expand our recycling operation, invest in new products and place more emphasis on Passive House and WarmCore. 

The UK Kömmerling Design Centre that was opened in 2024 also includes a dedicated Passive House studio that includes windows, lift and slide patio door and also a residential door. It’s an important part of the technically better DNA that underpins everything that carries the Kömmerling name and this product engineering heritage is something I’m looking to further ignite in the months and years to come.

The expansion of our recycling business helps us to provide a closed loop in the whole process from compound to project completion and we’re looking to integrate more recycled material than ever before moving forward and that includes the imminent launch of our new range of PVC-U building systems.

Our sustainability agenda is further realised with profine Energy GmbH, a joint venture with Wirth Group with an immediate task to make the 29 locations of the profine Group in 23 countries largely independent of current electricity price fluctuations. With sites in Bulgaria, Serbia and Dominican Republic already earmarked for solar farms, this unique venture looks to build a more sustainable future for everyone.

In looking at the wider social and economic issues, on 1st January 2020 Kömmerling Better World was launched as a charitable organisation to fulfil these responsibilities on a broader basis by actively supporting diverse charitable projects both big and small. Most notably and with our supporting partners we have raised over €589,000 thus far for the people and communities of Ukraine, along with providing 21 truckloads of much needed goods. This foundation isn’t just ours but one for our employees, customers, business partners and industry associates. On a local basis we’ve also partnered up with Base 51, Nottingham’s leading young people’s charity. 

Collectively with our new brand mantra of ‘Today for Tomorrow’ we want to be associated in helping to make a difference to the world, people and communities that we serve. From a consumer’s perspective we want to be the most ethical choice, a business and brand that’s trusted and respected by millions.