Creating Value from Eco-premium solutions

Eco-premium solutions for eco-innovation

The AkzoNobel Eco-premium solutions concept was created in 2007, as part of our drive to translate the eco-innovation challenge (as defined by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development) into an operational target for our company.

Eco-premium solutions (EPS) is a quick scan method to benchmark the performance of AkzoNobel products in six HSE aspects (Health, Safety and Environment) against the most common competing alternative products on the market (mainstream solutions) from a life cycle (value chain) perspective. According to the principle “what gets measured gets managed”, the objectives of the annual EPS process are to:

  • encourage and stimulate the development and innovation of more sustainable products;
  • measure progress by assessing the share of revenue from eco-premium solutions; and
  • monitor development towards specific goals.

Since 2007, the AkzoNobel product portfolio has been scanned annually for eco-premium solutions. An eco-premium solution is defined as a product that provides the same or better functionality for the customer application, while also having a clear eco-efficiency benefit over the most common alternative in the marketplace. Eco-efficiency is about creating more value with less environmental impact.

We assess the environmental dimension of eco-efficiency focusing on the following six HSE aspects: (1) toxicity; (2) energy efficiency; (3) use of natural resources/raw materials; (4) emissions and waste; (5) land use; and (6) risks/accidents. The eco-premium solution must be significantly better with respect to at least one criterion, and have no significant adverse effects with respect to any of the other criteria.

The assessment is carried out by an experienced group, including experts in R&D, marketing & sales, purchasing, manufacturing and eco-efficiency. The assessment can be qualitative, but is most often semi-quantitative or quantitative. Since 2008, the EPS assessment has been audited as part of a broader sustainability audit. The share of revenue from eco-premium solutions is presented in the AkzoNobel Annual Report. The results so far (2007-2011) are presented in the figure below.

The 2011 assessment indicates that the proportion of eco-premium solutions for the AkzoNobel portfolio increased to 25 percent from 20 percent 2009, and 18 percent 2008 and 2007. The ambition is that the share of revenue from eco-premium solutions will increase to at least 30 percent in 2015. This is a challenging objective because the measurement is taken against the mainstream, or standard, product in the market, which is a moving target.

Eco-premium solutions help to create value for our business and for our customers. They provide top-line growth opportunities because of their improved performance in areas such as raw material use, manufacturing processes and product innovation.

See below for examples of Eco-premium solutions 2011 from the different AkzoNobel Business Units:

Decorative Paints

  • Dulux Weathershield is an exterior paint with a solar reflectance index double that of regular exterior paints. It can reduce the surface temperature of walls by up to 5 degrees Celsius, resulting in less heat build-up and cooler, more comfortable homes. This in turn saves up to 15% on energy used for air conditioning. More info
  • Alpha Aeroxane is an exterior paint that can neutralize nitrogen oxides through photocatalysis. By neutralizing these toxic substances in the air, it fights against the smog that is a health problem in many cities. The need to repaint is also less, thanks to self-cleaning properties, high permeability to water vapor and resistance to algae and fungal growth . More info
  • Light & Space (Dulux and Nordsjö brands) are interior paints produced with LumiTec technology. By reducing the amount of light that the painted surfaces absorb, the energy savings for lighting of the room can be up to 20%. Light & Space paint’s unique light-reflecting qualities also make interiors appear lighter, larger and more spacious. More info
  • Alba Alto Rendomiento is a low-VOC interior paint sold in Argentina. It is distributed “concentrated”, which reduces energy use, emissions and risk of accident during transportation and distribution. Before use, the paint is diluted with water (e.g., 4 liters of concentrated paint can become 5 liters of paint ready for use). More info
  • Dulux Forest Breath is an interior paint sold in China and Hong Kong. Its anti-formaldehyde formulation helps purify the air and its antibacterial action protects against germs, providing dual protection for homes. More info

Performance Coatings

  • Automotive & Aerospace Coatings: Sikkens Autosurfacer UV is a filler for the car refinish market. Its extremely short drying time means it uses less energy, while its indefinite shelf-life minimizes waste. In addition, almost 50% less Autosurfacer UV is needed per repair than when using alternative products. These advantages mean bodyshops can ultimately increase both productivity and efficiency. More info
  • Marine & Protective Coatings: Chartek 1709 is a solvent-free passive fire protection coating for structural steel, offering not only pool fire protection but also corrosion protection for the onshore Oil and Gas industry. Its use of natural resources, carbon footprint, amount of waste and emissions are all considerably less than those of the most common alternatives in the market. It is also a low-maintenance solution with a long life expectancy. More info
  • Powder Coatings: Interpon AF and Interpon XTR are powders produced with a special technology allowing for a reduced (approximately halved) coating thickness without compromising on performance. This reduces the powder consumption and usage of raw materials per component, saving on energy use, emissions and transportation costs. More info
  • Wood Finishes and Adhesives: AIRGUARD Solvent Borne Topcoat is used for office and household furniture, kitchen cabinets, and many other interior wood applications. It is a ready-to-use, self-sealing pre-catalyzed lacquer that is durable and light stable. It holds a Greenguard Indoor Air Quality certification. More info

Specialty Chemicals

  • Functional Chemicals: Peridur is an organic binder based on a renewable raw material. It allows for production of iron ore pellets with superior metallurgical and chemical qualities. The benefits are less slag waste and CO2 generation throughout the iron and steel production chains. More info
  • Surface Chemistry: STRUCTURE® STYLE Polymer is a unique modified potato starch which has a multi-functional performance and can be used in a wide range of hair styling products, including gels, mousses and styling aids. Compared to polymers based on non-renewable resources, STRUCTURE® STYLE Polymer has an improved environmental performance, most notably in the impact categories Climate Change and Energy Demand. In addition, it demonstrates improved stiffness and on-hair performance properties compared to styling products based on common synthetic polymers. More info
  • Industrial Chemicals: mTA-salt is an industrial salt that increases the eco-efficiency of chlorine production by allowing up to 5% energy savings. In addition, this entirely biodegradable product enhances the safety of chlorine liquefaction by reducing the formation of the hazardous nitrogen trichloride. This is a commercial product, and since 2004, more than 5 million tons have been used by our customers. More info