Climate change

At AkzoNobel, we’re aware that climate change may have a future impact on our operations, supply chain and customers. In 2017, we committed to become a carbon neutral company by 2050. We’re turning this ambition into actions, while delivering sustainable solutions to the market.

Climate change is an integral part of our approach to sustainable business, for which overall ownership is with the CEO. The whole Executive Committee is responsible for incorporating our sustainability agenda – including climate change – into the company strategy and monitoring the performance of each business.

Acting with ambitious mitigation plans


Reducing our own carbon emissions

Our “Planet” ambitions demonstrate our strong commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect water resources and make our company resilient for the future.

In line with the 1.5°C pathway, our end goal is to become carbon neutral by 2050. To achieve this, we’re turning ambitions into actions by committing to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030. We’ll achieve this by:

· Using 100% renewable electricity

· Reducing our energy consumption by 30%

In total, 34 of our locations and 12 countries now use 100% renewable electricity. We’ve also installed solar panels at 14 facilities, with more projects underway to increase the share of solar energy. This underlines how sustainability has become a daily strategy for us and shows how we’re constantly taking action to minimize our environmental impact.

Supporting our customers in reducing carbon emissions

We continue to offer our customers, and their customers, technologies and solutions that enable them to reduce their own emissions and material use. Examples include lower curing coatings, low or zero solvents, water-based solutions and using fewer layers of paint.

Helping buildings fight the heat island effect

As an industry leader in developing products and technologies that are helping to create more green buildings, our product innovations can play a vital role in making cities and communities more sustainable.

Overall, building and construction is responsible for around 39% of global energy-related carbon emissions. If no action is taken to improve energy efficiency in the building sector, energy demand is expected to rise by 50% by 2050. We supply this industry with our “Cool Chemistry” technology. As well as providing ultimate protection outside, it can also keep interior temperatures up to 5°C cooler, thereby reducing energy consumption and lowering the carbon footprint.

Carbon savings in the production process

Our RUBBOL 100% UV cured exterior range of Sikkens wood coatings can cut out up to 16 hours of drying time. The coating system can help to save on production time and energy costs, while providing leading performance. In additions, because the product range produces zero emissions and requires no mixing, it makes the production process more sustainable. Another important factor for many of our large-scale customers.

Low-E energy efficient range: Contributing to lower costs and improving customers’ ecological footprint

The Low-E collection from our Powder Coatings business is designed to reduce the curing temperature or curing time, without sacrificing the quality or properties of the coating. By using this range of products, our customers can reduce their energy consumption and/or increase the productivity of their application process. This contributes to lowering costs, as well as improving their carbon footprint.

In addition, we provide customers with environmental footprint (including carbon emission) information, which they can use for their own climate action plans. This is achieved by using lifecycle assessment (LCA) methodology and providing environmental product declarations (EPDs).

Managing climate risks

We continue to monitor risks related to climate change, identifying any potential impacts and setting adaptation plans.

Implementing carbon pricing

We recognize that climate change may result in a global, regional and/or local price on carbon. To address this, we adopted an internal carbon price for large investment decisions more than five years ago. This transparency on carbon impact enables us to optimize our decision-making process and ask ourselves an important question ahead of agreeing to an investment: “What (other) choices can we make to reduce the carbon impact?” It could, for example, allow for improved engineering to mitigate emissions, the exploration of innovative technologies, or consideration of raw material sources.

Identifying our water-related risks

Climate change has rapidly impacted the Earth’s most precious resource – water. With access to clean water scarce in many regions, we’ve taken actions towards sustainable water stewardship by endorsing the United Nations CEO Water Mandate and setting clear goals on water consumption and reuse.

As part of our “Planet” ambitions, we’re committed to reusing water at 100% of our water intensive sites by 2030. To date, we’ve introduced recycling of wash water at 11 sites.

Fresh water risk assessments:

Looking towards the future, in 2020, we re-assessed the water-related risks faced by our sites using the Aqueduct Tool from the World Resource Institute and the WWF Water Risk Filter scenarios. The results will help us continue to focus on our sustainable water mitigation plans. For example, such analysis will have an impact on future site expansions or new locations.

Innovation and collaboration

Innovation and collaboration are key to further reduce the carbon footprint of our products, as more than 98% of our value chain carbon footprint comes from our suppliers and the use phase of our products. Our 2019 value chain emissions (Scope 1, 2 and 3) totaled 14.6 million tons of CO2(e).

Focusing across the value chain, we see many opportunities to optimize material use and limit environmental impact. Circular and renewable solutions are focus areas of our Paint the Future initiative. We’re seeking alternative sources for our raw materials, as well as extending the functionality of the materials in paints and coatings after their use. 

Another recent example of collaboration is our involvement in the EU’s ENVISION research consortium, which aims to deliver a concept for harvesting solar energy from all surfaces of a building.