Vinyl Council Australia (VCA)
Part of the Solution
Business View Oceania interviews Sophi MacMillan, Chief Executive of Vinyl Council Australia, for our Manufacturing View.
Established in 1998, Vinyl Council Australia (VCA) is a member-based organisation standing as the peak body of representation for the Australian vinyl (PVC) industry throughout the value chain. VCA believes that the PVC industry has an important part to play in building an environmentally responsible future. In advocating for PVC as part of Australia’s sustainability solution, VCA engages with stakeholders to share information on the lifecycle of PVC, promotes the responsible manufacture, use, and disposal of PVC products, and fosters collaborative and cooperative relationships with member companies, governments, and other industry organisations to raise awareness regarding the benefits and potential of the PVC sector.
VCA supports 110 member companies that are affiliated with and directly involved in Australia’s PVC industry. Members enjoy a range of benefits that include but are not limited to: Networking opportunities with industry leaders, regulators, scientists, suppliers, academia, advocates, and experts through events, briefings, conferences, and technical meetings; Advocacy to state and federal governments, policy makers, regulatory authorities, and industry stakeholders; Representation through the PVC Stewardship Program and Best Practice PVC accreditation; Sponsorship opportunities; Education; Information distribution, Influence on the future direction of the sector through nominations to the Technical Steering Group, Board, or organisation committees; Recycling initiatives participation and opportunity to trial company ideas; Discounts to VCA events, seminars, and conferences, the Best Practice PVC licence mark, and online register listings; and, Complimentary access to the PVC Stewardship Program logo (subject to compliance), quarterly data reports, and brochures and publications for company distribution.
Chief Executive Sophi MacMillan speaks on behalf of VCA. “We were established in response to Sydney’s 2000 Olympics bid, which included terms that limited the use of PVC in the construction of game facilities. Given that PVC is predominantly used as a building material, there was a huge impact on our sector following that decision. So a number of leading Australian companies and industry stakeholders came together to form an association that would work to understand and address concerns surrounding the environmental footprint of PVC products, and to advocate for the responsible use of those products in the market.”
The team of four experienced individuals at VCA represents industry members throughout the PVC value chain- from raw material suppliers, importers, processors, and manufacturers through to Australian distributors and recyclers. The association communicates with members through the monthly distribution of their member-specific newsletter, which draws together PVC industry insights and global news, twice-yearly networking meetings, and the bi-yearly PVC Oz conference, which features Australian and international speakers and attracts hundreds of industry participants. Mrs. MacMillan shares, “We are quite a small industry here in Australia, which brings its own challenges, but it does award us the opportunity to be a very active and engaged community. Our sector is incredibly passionate and focussed on sustainability, and we often communicate directly via phone and email to keep each other updated on industry news, challenges, and innovation. Our community is very genuine and openly dedicated to furthering the growth of PVC.”
VCA define a set of core values that relate to passion, innovation, communication, knowledge, education, and transparency. Mrs. MacMillan elaborates, “What we want to do is enhance our industry’s opportunities for sustainable growth, and we want our members’ products to be the preferred choice for PVC products in the marketplace because they are working with us towards that goal. We are very different from a lot of trade associations in that way; our core purpose has always been around advancing the sustainable development of the industry, working with stakeholders directly, and having a programme that is able to clearly demonstrate that improvement to the rest of the world.”
As part of VCA’s commitment to furthering the growth of the PVC industry, the organisation runs the PVC Stewardship Program and PVC Best Practice Accreditation. Established in 2002, the PVC Stewardship Program is VCA’s primary vehicle for bringing industry players together. The program works to address concerns surrounding the environmental footprint of PVC products in Australia and demonstrate improvements in sustainability made continuously across the sector. Mrs. MacMillan comments, “The PVC Stewardship Program is a way for the whole industry to work together as one collective group. It also enables us to measure the performance of participants on an annual basis and share that performance as a demonstration of our commitment. Participants can see how their performance ranks in relation to their industry peers and adjust their practices or entertain new innovative ideas accordingly.” The PVC Stewardship Program has approximately 50 signatory companies to date. Each participant is required to meet strict criteria to join the program and report on their performance each year. Independent auditing also occurs every five years to further ensure compliance with program criteria.
VCA’s PVC Best Practice Accreditation was developed in collaboration with the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) to provide a product label that demonstrates the sustainability of PVC products in conjunction with the environmental representation of the business that is affiliated with them. Products with the PVC Best Practice Accreditation label are also awarded recognition via the GBCA Green Star Rating tool.
VCA would like to thank their collaborative partners across Australia and the world for their support of the association’s continued growth. They include GBCA, the Australian Sustainable Build Council, Good Environmental Choice Australia, the Asia-Pacific Vinyl Network (on which Mrs. MacMillan is a board member), the Global Vinyl Council (on which Mrs. Macmillan is a member of the management committee), the Commonwealth Product Stewardship Investment Fund, the Specialised Textiles Association, and CSIRO Australia.
Looking forward, VCA expects to grow their membership with both local and international companies. They association will continue to promote Australia’s shift towards a circular economy and is making moves to increase the level of investment in the Australian PVC industry to support the continued innovation and development of sustainable packaging, recycling operations, and other environmental initiatives. Mrs. MacMillan concludes, “I think there’s going to be a growing focus going ahead through which we will see new technologies come into play, such as chemical separation for composite products, which is what we are currently looking at in our project space. We want to see increased uptake in our PVC Stewardship Program and will keep educating our industry stakeholders in Australia about the benefits of PVC. Our sector has a big part to play in Australia’s sustainable future, and as the peak body organisation that represents our industry, it is our job to do all we can to fulfill it.”
Click The Cover To View Or Download The Brochure
AT A GLANCE
Vinyl Council Australia (VCA)
What: Peak body organisation representing the PVC and Vinyl value chains across Australia
Where: VCA is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia