Climate change

At AkzoNobel, we’re aware that climate change could affect our operations, our supply chain and our customers. So, in 2017, we committed to becoming a carbon-neutral company by 2050. Now we’re turning this ambition into reality by setting aspirational, science-based targets. As well as aligning with the 1.5°C pathway, this means we’ll increasingly deliver sustainable solutions to our customers. 

 

Climate change awareness is an integral part of our approach to sustainable business. Overall ownership of this is with the CEO and the whole Executive Committee is responsible for incorporating our sustainability agenda into the company strategy and monitoring the performance of each business.


We have ambitious mitigation plans

 

Reducing our own carbon emissions:

Our “Planet” ambitions demonstrate our strong commitment to reducing GHG emissions, protecting water resources and making our company increasingly resilient.
 
In line with the 1.5°C pathway, we’ve submitted our targets to the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi), and our goal is to become carbon neutral by 2050. To achieve this, we’re committed to reducing emissions – across all scopes of our cradle-to-grave footprint (Scope 1, 2 and 3: direct CO2(e) emissions, indirect CO2(e) emissions, and upstream/downstream value chain) – by 42% by 2030, taking 2020 as our baseline.

These targets fit with our previous aim of halving carbon emissions by 2030 from a 2018 baseline.
 
Some examples of how we plan to achieve this are:

· Reducing energy consumption by 30%
· 100% renewable electricity across all our operations 

In total, 34 of our locations and 12 countries already use 100% renewable electricity. We’ve installed solar panels at 17 facilities and have more projects lined up to increase our use of solar energy. We’re also on track to achieve 100% renewable electricity use in Europe in 2022. This underlines how sustainability is part of our daily strategy; we’re constantly taking action to minimize our environmental impact. 

 

Helping our customers reduce carbon emissions

With our Sustainable Solutions, we continue to offer our customers – and their customers in turn – 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 developing products and technologies that help create more green buildings, our product innovations play a vital role to 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, 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 cut inside temperatures by up to 5°C, 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 drying time by up to 16 hours. This system helps save on production time and energy costs, while providing outstanding performance. In addition, because the range produces zero emissions and needs no mixing, the production process is more sustainable – another important factor for many of our customers.

Low-E energy efficient range: lower costs, improved carbon footprint

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

In addition, we provide customers with environmental footprint information (including carbon emission data) 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 potential impacts and setting adaptation plans.

Implementing carbon pricing

We recognize climate change could result in a global carbon price. To address this, we’ve adopted an internal carbon price for large investment decisions. This transparency optimizes our decision-making process. Before agreeing an investment, we ask ourselves: “What (other) choices can we make to reduce the carbon impact?” For instance, it could allow for improved engineering to mitigate emissions, the exploration of innovative technologies, or greater consideration of raw material sources.

Identifying our water related risks

Climate change has rapidly impacted the earth’s most precious resource: water. Many regions have no access to clean water, so we’ve committed to sustainable water stewardship; we endorse the United Nations CEO Water Mandate and set clear goals on water consumption and reuse.

As part of our Planet ambitions we are committed to reusing water at all our water intensive sites by 2030. To date, wash water recycling has been introduced at 11 locations.

Fresh water risk assessments:

Looking into the future, in 2020 we reassessed the water-related risks faced by our sites using the Aqueduct Tool from the World Resource/Institute and the WWF Water Risk Filter scenarios. We analyzed the basins’ physical risk (scarcity, flooding, quality and ecosystem), and the results will help us continue our focus on sustainable water mitigation plans. For example, they could have an impact on how we expand existing sites or where we develop new ones. In addition, we’ve analyzed around 200 of our suppliers’ locations using the Aqueduct tool and asked those with high risk to share their mitigation plans. We’re also working with them to look for solutions.

Innovation and collaboration

Our 2020 value chain emissions (Scope 1, 2 and 3) totaled 12.8 million tons of CO2(e). More than 98% of our value chain carbon footprint comes from our suppliers and at the use stage of our products so, with this in mind, we’ve pledged to reduce our emissions by 42% by 2030 – one of our most ambitious targets. Innovation and collaboration are the key to meeting our targets and further reducing our products’ carbon footprints. There are so many opportunities across the value chain to optimize material use and limit environmental impact. Our Paint the Future initiative focuses on finding circular and nature-based solutions, while we’re also seeking alternative raw material sources and ways to extend the functionality of paints and coatings materials after 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 every surface of a building.