EUROPUR is the European Association of Flexible PU Foam Blocks Manufacturers. Founded in 1966 and located in Brussels, we have been representing our industry and been providing a platform to discuss and act on the major issues related to foam production and use for more than five decades.
Today our foam producing members operate production plants in 29 countries in geographical Europe. Since 2019 we welcome foam producers from Africa, the Middle East and CIS countries in our membership. Together, our members operate the vast majority of flexible PU foam plants in the European Economic Area and produce around 80% of the foam made in the region. The way our members operate is as diverse as is the PU industry: some members sell foam blocks only, some create semi-finished products and some make mattresses, furniture and other consumer goods directly.
Over 50 organisations from the flexible PU foam supply chain are associated members in our association: raw materials and additives suppliers, machinery manufacturers and various service providers ranging from laboratories to recycling companies.
the unique benefits of flexible polyurethane (PU) foam in its multiple applications.
on behalf of the European flexible PU block foam industry to regulators and other stakeholders (e.g. media, consumers, industry associations).
to standards and legislation related to PU flexible foam and our industry, by providing adequate expertise to decision-makers.
research projects on the performance of flexible PU foam throughout its lifecycle, notably including health, safety and the environment.
on research project results, and publish information of common interest to our members, the public and other interested stakeholders.
motivate our members to continuously improve the environmental, health and safety knowledge and performance of their technologies, processes and products over the lifecycle.
up-to-date information to our members on foam industry-related legislation and its evolutions, as well as general market data in full compliance with EU competition law.
cooperation between companies along the supply chain for the common benefit of industry (e.g. to transition to a circular economy)
To achieve its mission, EUROPUR relies on cooperation between experts from its member organisations in working groups, which operate according to the priorities set by our members. Their number and scope may thus vary over time. We currently have four working groups: Product Stewardship & Impurities, Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S), Sustainability and Communication. Our member experts work together in these working groups for the common benefit of the industry, in full compliance with competition law.
Our strength is in numbers: in recent years between 30 and 40 experts with numerous backgrounds regularly participate in the work of individual working groups.
Chair: Adri Aerts, Senior Technical Advisor, The Vita Group
Lead Staff: Patrick de Kort, Regulatory Affairs Manager, EUROPUR
Product Stewardship and Impurities is EUROPUR’s ‘historical’ working group in which members discuss all issues related to polyurethane foam and raw materials. It seeks to ensure that polyurethane foam is produced according to the highest standards and in compliance with all legislation relating to chemical substances used in foam production. As such it:
- Regularly evaluates and updates the specifications of EUROPUR’s environment, health and safety standard, CertiPUR.
- Cooperates with other stakeholders along the PU foam supply chain for continuous product improvement, as well as for information collection on risk assessments and exposure scenarios for substances used in the manufacturing of PU foam.
- Monitors regulatory developments relating to substances, notably under the REACH Regulation, and informs members so that they can act accordingly to comply with legislation.
- Provides input into initiatives that aim at allowing market uptake of environmentally-friendly products, such as the EU ecolabel criteria for mattresses and furniture.
- Monitors anonymous test results on polyurethane foam from companies participating in the CertiPUR programme to identify substances present in foam as impurities.
Chair: Georg Pirkl, Head of Business Development Raw Materials EMEA, Covestro
Vice-chair: Paul Alfred Howard, Manufacturing Engineering Manager, Adient
EUROPUR’s Environment, Health & Safety working group is composed of representatives of flexible PU foam manufacturers and suppliers to the industry, which cooperate to:
- Analyse potential risks linked to the production of flexible polyurethane foam, notably as regards the handling of raw materials
- Makes recommendations to the industry to ensure progress towards ever safer workplaces.
- Discuss and evaluate best practises for the production of flexible polyurethane foam, with a strong focus on the protection of workers and the environment.
- Exchange information on incidents and near-incidents in foaming plants to allow members to learn from each other and help in mitigating risks across the entire industry.
- Exchange information on the implementation of EU legislation related to production facilities by EU Member States.
- Create a Training material course allowing members to comply with REACH Restriction for Diisocyanates.
- Provide input into regulatory discussions on safe handling of chemicals at EU level but also in Member States.
- Liaise with the rest of the supply chain to improve safety on shared activities (e.g. transportation of raw materials)
Chair: Bart Haelterman, R&D Director, Recticel Engineered Foams
Vice-chairs: Mike Murray, Chief Technology Officer, The Vita Group & Marcel Moeller, Global Sustainability Director, Dow Polyurethanes
Lead Staff: Theodoros Mardas, Sustainability Policy and Market Research Officer
This working group was launched in June of 2015. It provides a platform for members to exchange knowledge and information on the lifecycle of flexible polyurethane foam. This includes innovative raw materials, improvement of production processes, recycling of post-industrial and post-consumer foams and recycling technologies.
The working group also performs research in areas of common interest to support members in improving the life-cycle of PU foam and its recycling. It closely monitors discussions taking place at EU and Member State level and, where relevant, provides input on end-of-life of foam-containing products, extended producer responsibility schemes and legislation pertaining to specific products (e.g. mattresses, furniture, automobiles).
In 2022 a specialised ‘Advocacy Working Group’ has been formed. Participants are industry experts in the field of sustainability, coming from member companies active in recycling of flexible polyurethane foam. The group reports to Chair of the Sustainability WG.
Chair: Bart J. ten Brink, President, EUROPUR
Lead Staff: Damir Andrasek, Communications Officer
A communications working group was set-up in 2014. It is supporting the secretariat to reinforce EUROPUR’s ability to promote the unique benefits of polyurethane foam in its multiple applications in cooperation with other stakeholders from the supply chain, to organise our Annual Conference and coordinate our social media messaging.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Bart TEN BRINK