The future of Sustainable Vinyl

When we first started, nearly 33 ⅓ years ago, Key Production made sustainability a priority in every aspect of the business. With eco-consciousness a pillar of our ethos since inception, Key Production has constantly and consistently strived to marry quality packaging and physical music formats with solutions that are as sustainable as we can make them. Not only has our entire staff undertaken carbon literacy training, but as a company, we go one step beyond carbon neutral: we’re certified carbon positive. Our carbon balancing is managed through C Level with the CommuniTree project which is a highly respected reforestation project in Nicaragua (which Karen, our CEO, has visited) verified under the global Plan Vivo Standard, the world's original community carbon standard.  

Karen is often asked to speak on panels and represent Key in meetings to discuss and advise on best practice and developments within the industry. She sits on the advisory board of The Centre for Sustainable Design and contributes to the Impala vinyl pressing group and AIM Climate Action Group.  

Having just returned from the annual Making Vinyl conference, this year held in Minneapolis, it is apparent that long term programmes looking at the entirety of the production process need to be put in place and re-evaluated regularly. This will ensure that the most environmentally friendly procedures are established and continue to evolve. At Key, we are devoted to evaluating every step of the current industry standards, from the elements that go into making records to the shrink wrap that encases finished product.  We are determined to work with our colleagues across the globe to create a definitive set of standards with positive impact, clearly setting out what terms such as “eco” and “sustainable” mean beyond simply feel-good marketing linguistics.  

Our extensive supply chain and knowledge give the Key Production team a unique position to consult on the best route to manufacturing with the most sustainable options. As industry leaders, we are now thrilled to offer a new type of PVC with a vastly reduced carbon footprint. By replacing the fossil fuel part of the PVC compound with bio attributed compounds, early research points to this new compound reducing the PVC carbon footprint by 90%. Extensive testing has found product performance and sound of the new compound to be equivalent to standard PVC, making it a great alternative. This type of compound is available for pressing vinyl at one factory in the UK and one in Europe, but we hope that other suppliers will be keen to offer similar compounds soon.  

We are also working closely alongside Evolution Music to offer the world’s first “bio-plastic” option for record vinyl manufacturing. Karen sits on the advisory board for this hugely exciting venture that promises an industrially compostable solution with a totally new material for manufacturing records (similarly with a reduced carbon footprint) in the not-too-distant future.   

As Key is dedicated to investing in the future and best practice, we are supporting two Masters students at the University of Leeds as they examine sustainability within the music industry.   

Key has also recently joined the Better Business Act which is about transforming the way we do business so that every single company in the UK, whether big or small, takes ownership of its social and environmental impact. We are excited to be joining such an important coalition of like-minded businesses.  

We are always looking for ways to better ourselves and help our customers by searching for new and more sustainable ways to make physical products. Research and development into different methods of manufacturing, innovations in materials as well as ground-breaking advances in manufacturing techniques are being trialled as we write, and we will bring you more information about these and other ideas as they happen. 

If you want more information about the above or perhaps want a consultation with one of our sustainability experts you can contact us here. We are here to demystify the sustainability process, separating buzz word terminology from actions that will make a real difference.  

With many more exciting developments anticipated over the coming months, please follow us on social media or call to request a consultation with one of the team to stay in the know!  

Phone: +44 (0)20 7284 8800  


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