How Ascorium Industries accelerates its net-zero journey with Futureproofed

Triggered by a question from a big automotive customer, Ascorium embraced Futureproofed software to calculate their carbon footprint. Read why and how.

Stef Vervaet
Sustainable Business Consultant
March 20, 2023

With all eyes on mobility as a big source of CO2 emissions, automotive leaders are aggressively cutting manufacturing and tailpipe emissions. In their race, they have to ensure a sustainable supply chain too – which means getting every supplier on board to join the race to net zero. That’s how Ascorium, a trusted contractor to the world’s most renowned carmakers, embarked upon their net-zero journey – with the help of Futureproofed software.

Never heard of Ascorium Industries before? Chances are high that you haven’t, but we bet that you’re familiar with their products anyway – at least, if you sometimes travel by car. Ascorium is the market leader in polyurethane (PU) surfaces used in automotive interior/exterior components. From PU dashboards and door panels to glove boxes: the world’s biggest carmakers all source them from Ascorium. So, when these big players started accelerating their sustainability journey, they came knocking on Ascorium’s door.

Triggered by a customer survey

“The push came from Volvo Cars,” says Gunther Guetens, Ascorium’s Group Sustainability and Materials Manager. “They have the lofty ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2040, by decarbonizing the cars’ entire life cycle. To achieve that aim, they have to encourage their suppliers to adopt sustainable practices too. That’s how they asked us if we measure our carbon emissions according to the greenhouse gas protocol. The question was part of a survey, so they didn’t push us in any way, yet it triggered us to take action.”

Time to kick off the journey to net zero

Ascorium decided to take up the gauntlet right away. “We had been taking several sustainability initiatives in the past, of course. Yet, it was time to raise the bar and professionalize our approach. Measuring our carbon footprint seemed like the perfect starting point. Still, it felt like a daunting task to collect, manage, and analyze the massive amount of sustainability data we’d need.”

“Measuring our carbon footprint seemed like the perfect starting point. Still, it felt like a daunting task to collect, manage, and analyze the massive amount of sustainability data we’d need.”

With compliments from Recticel

In his search for help, Gunther contacted a former colleague at Recticel – which had been Ascorium’s mother company until 2019. Recticel recently put sustainable innovation at the heart of its strategy and relies on Futureproofed software to measure, monitor and report its carbon footprint.

“Recticel was very positive about Futureproofed. They praised the carbon management tool itself as well as the advice and support they’re getting from the Futureproofed experts,” says Gunther. “Still, I decided to compare their offering and price to that of competing carbon management solutions. It was clear that Futureproofed would be our best choice.”

Intuitive tool, backed up by excellent support services

In a one-hour meeting, Gunther introduced the Futureproofed experts to Ascorium. Based on that information, Futureproofed customized the tool with relevant scopes and emission categories. A short kick-off session was then all it took to get Ascorium up and running with the tool.

The next step, the data collection process, was more difficult, Gunther admits: “Futureproofed for business includes scope 1, 2 as well as scope 3 emission data. Finding all the data, spread across systems throughout the organization, was quite challenging. Still, now that we have identified the data sources, we can reuse them for many years on end. The data input itself, by the way, was easy as the platform is intuitive. Moreover, whenever I have a question, I send a quick chat or email message to Futureproofed. I’m always surprised at how quickly they respond and help me out.”

Compliant with Greenhouse Gas Protocol

Based on all the data that Gunther collected and entered in 2021, the Futureproofed platform calculated Ascorium’s scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. With one click, Gunther can share the reports with management and anyone else interested. “We immediately found a couple of hotspots, like energy and raw materials, which account for 85% of our carbon footprint. Based on those insights, we defined the first action points and start investing in low-hanging fruit, like switching to green electricity at our EU sites.”

In the meantime, Ascorium is already collecting new results for 2022. They hope these will reflect their first emission-reduction initiatives. Step by step, they plan to launch new actions to make their operations and products more sustainable.

Do it right the first time

“Our products are made with polyurethane (PU), which is a versatile material that allows us to create long-lasting, durable solutions. While that is a great start, we know we have to do more to make our products sustainable. Futureproofed software gives us the insights we need to understand which raw materials have the biggest impact on our carbon footprint.

Looking back upon the start of their decarbonization journey, Gunther is glad they decided to do it right the first time. It helps them to get ahead of the curve: “CSRD will urge us to report on scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions from 2026 onwards. It’s good to start our journey early and refine our approach along the way. Moreover, it’s our genuine belief that we are responsible for future generations. Decarbonization feels like the right thing to do.”

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