Product design principles

Wärtsilä strives to develop environmentally sound, safe, and reliable products and solutions for its customers. By providing lifecycle maintenance, reconditioning, and retrofitting services, we are able to support our customers' operations throughout the life of our products. The reconditioning of engines and components increases their reliable service life, while modernising improves the current operational performance of installations and enables customers to meet tightening future regulatory requirements.

In order to ensure our ability to respond to future regulation stipulations, we actively monitor legislative initiatives and changes in environmental legislation. As a result, we have focused our R&D activities on the development of new environmentally sound products and solutions in order to meet the evolving demands of a changing operating environment.

Meeting regulatory requirements

The majority of international environmental policies and requirements for Wärtsilä’s products and solutions are set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank (WB) group. On the regional or national level, organisations such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the European Union (EU) and emission standards such as in the USA, Germany, Japan, and India, are also important policy and regulatory directors for Wärtsilä products.

The IMO is responsible for adopting its own standards for the safety and security of shipping, and the prevention and control of marine pollution and emissions from vessels. The IMO regulates nitrogen oxide emissions and fuel sulphur content, as well as ballast water treatment procedures and limitations. Wärtsilä's engines are designed to meet the requirements of the EU Machinery Directive, the IMO Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and other relevant safety directives. Wärtsilä's propulsion systems are designed to comply with the SOLAS and safety requirements of relevant classification bodies. Type approval is sought from classification societies before new products are launched. Wärtsilä's ship designs follow class society and flag state rules to ensure safe and compliant designs for its clients. Class approval is required for drawings and calculations delivered to the client before construction of the vessel starts.

The IFC provides general and industry specific examples of Good International Industry Practices (GIIP), such as the Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Guidelines for Thermal Power Plants, which is today considered the minimum environmental standard in larger global power plant projects. When host country regulations differ from the levels and measures presented in the EHS Guidelines, projects are expected to comply with whichever is the more stringent. The EHS guidelines together with the IFC’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards are adhered to via the Equator Principles risk management framework in most projects in emerging markets financed by international financial institutions. In the EU, the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and the Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD) set the main emission requirements for large and medium-sized combustion plants throughout the EU. EU Member States may set additional and/or stricter emission limits if needed, for example, to comply with ambient air quality standards.

Lifecycle approach

As our products have a long operational life, identifying the lifecycle impacts of our products is essential for understanding their total environmental impact. We manage the lifecycle of our products through their design, the careful selection of suppliers, production methods, and by optimising transportation, maintenance, and repairs during their operational life. The reconditioning of products and components increases their reliable service life, while modernising improves the existing operational performance of installations.