RESEARCH, REPORTS & POLICIES
Key sustainability documents
Materialise is committed to investing in research to better understand how 3D printing and our solutions can have an impact. Discover our latest Research Results, Sustainability Report, and our Supply Chain, Conflict Minerals and Environmental Policies.
In 2020, in partnership with BASF, we completed a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for the production of one million pairs of shoe midsoles, assessing the environmental impact in all stages of the product life. In collaboration with Nyenrode Business University and the consultancy PerfoVision, we also completed a separate study comparing the 3D printing technology of Selective Laser Sintering with CNC for eyewear.
To date, although there is little empirical research, it has been generally assumed that 3D Printing is an environmentally friendly technology. However, according to our recent LCA research, for large series of identical products, 3D printing is currently not the most sustainable choice. At the same time, our research also indicates that 3D printing typically offers advantages for producing smaller or customized series. For more info, we invite you to watch the recording from our “Think In” series. The whitepaper summarizing the in-depth LCA study can be downloaded here.
In the future, we will continue with further LCA research. We recognize it’s critical in clarifying our impact and ensuring that we invest in the most relevant innovation and technologies to make the 3D printing process more sustainable.
Supply chain policy
The Materialise Supply Chain Policy aims to foster sustainable procurement and support the driving elements that shape us as a company: innovation, co-creation, people, and quality. It requires that our suppliers share data regarding their sustainability programs, and encourages them to be accountable, ethical, and respectful of human rights. Each year, we review and update our supply chain policy, as required.
Select and download policy (PDF):
Conflict minerals policy
Materialise is conscious that a limited number of its products may contain tin, tantalum, tungsten, or gold. Products containing one or more of these elements include consumer products printed through our i.materialise online 3D printing services.
Materialise ensures that such products do not contain Conflict Minerals sourced from mines that support or fund conflict within the Democratic Republic of Congo or adjoining countries. Therefore, it is our policy:
- Not to purchase products and materials containing conflict minerals directly from mines or smelters.
- To undertake due diligence to ensure our suppliers have the same commitment to their products and supply chains.
- To give preference to suppliers that guarantee their products to be free of conflict minerals.
Photo: Ring Tree by Blueberries © Adéla Havelková
Managing our environmental impact
Through our Environmental Policy and our ISO 14001:2015 certificate, we’ve made an official commitment to protect the environment and to comply with European environmental legislation, regulations, and customer specific requirements in all of our operations, processes, and services.