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Caring for life

Environmentalists across the globe warn us that if proper care is not extended to the earth and its precious resources, the world could simply come to a halt. For Akzo Nobel India these are not just random voices of alarmists that can be easily dismissed. On the contrary, taking care of the planet and being committed to sustainability top its priorities. Backed by a strong sense of responsibility as corporate citizens, Akzo Nobel India (ANI) uses innovative production methods that underscore its basic belief in caring for life.

The Company has created five pillars of sustainability—energy, transport, waste, product and community. Take the example of the dramatic reduction of energy consumption at the factory in Thane, Maharashtra, where roof sheets were replaced, with opaque sheets changed to transparent ones. Or visit Krishna, Hyderabad, which was declared the best paints factory in India. The technology used here is the most contemporary in the world, with the lowest water consumption as well as the lowest consumption of energy per unit. Expanding this factory has also helped in reducing primary freight carbon dioxide emissions by reducing the transportation distance to service the south India market.

The Company is considering the use of wind energy, wastewater and rainwater across its plants in India and is also working with its suppliers to recycle the plastic that is used for storing its products. A project to make containers out of recycled plastic is under way. Aware that saving water is of paramount importance in today’s world, AkzoNobel is constantly working towards reducing its consumption. For instance, latex, which is a key raw material for ANI, has a certain quantity of water. The liquid level has been reduced and the solid content increased so that water does not have to be transported. ANI is working with design houses to re-engineer its packaging containers to reduce up to 10% of plastic weight and is also exploring possibilities of moving away from rigid plastic to flexible plastic, which will further reduce the quantity of plastic used. The Company has integrated sustainability into every area of its business and was the first to adopt a 100% lead and chrome-free formulation in its industrial paints.

Health and safety are two values that drive AkzoNobel in all its initiatives. It takes on challenging targets to meet its Health, Safety, Environment & Security objectives. ANI uses the behaviour base safety or BBS model. Simply put, this is a formal system of people auditing each other by just observing their colleagues, identifying the right behaviour that they demonstrate as well as the unsafe behaviour. The model then positively reinforces the good behaviour and seeks commitment for change of behaviour if it does not meet the BBS standard.

As the Company grows, both in volumes and markets, it is essential that the focus is on Operational Eco Efficiency (OEE) performance. ANI has its own eco-efficiency strategy that encourages the finding of new ways to do things. It is committed to pioneering people, products and performance, offering a chance to employees to nurture and grow to their full potential. The intent is make the year 2012 equal to 2015 in terms of the waste the Company produces, the water it uses and the energy it consumes. Beyond budgets and the bottom line, the emphasis is on finding more innovative ways of consuming less water, using alternate energy models and generating less waste. Or, in other words, offering sustainable solutions and products. Indeed, for Akzo Nobel India, the future is now, and it comes coated in various shades of hope and opportunities.