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|Solutions from groups such as Akzonobel can ensure the evolution of a circular society|
For the last half-decade, AkzoNobel has been embracing circular economy principles and strongly endorsed the concept as the necessary route towards a sustainable society. There will be more people living in urban societies in the world, which will be too much for this planet to bear with its limited natural resources. This is why the circular economy concept is appealing to the company and motivates it to move forward with sourcing more renewable raw materials and energy, and accelerating the production and adoption of sustainable products.
Pamela Phua, general director of AkzoNobel Vietnam, said, “By 2020, we are targeting to generate 20 per cent of our revenue from products that are more sustainable for our customers than those of our competitors, and 25-30 per cent more efficient resource and energy use across the entire value chain. We also aim to maintain the proportion of renewable energy at 45 per cent through the next year. By 2050, the figures will be 50 per cent of products providing sustainability benefits and 100 per cent renewable energy usage and carbon neutrality.”
Not only focusing on upgrading operations to reduce carbon emissions, waste, or the use of hazardous substances, AkzoNobel is also involved in sustainability partnerships which support long-term sustainable value creation. For example, in the Netherlands, AkzoNobel led a consortium of Dutch companies including DSM, and Philips as well as global giant Google to realise additional wind projects and further expand approach to other energy intensive-locations across the globe. With the total capacity of over 140 megawatts, they are able to power approximately 140,000 households. Another recent effort was to improve the energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness of AkzoNobel’s operations with a solar energy project built on zero capital and operational expenses. The installation of 1,393 solar panels in Lahore city of Pakistan will provide 520 megawatt-hour of green energy per annum, estimated to deliver an annualised saving of around €14,000 ($15,700).
At cities experiencing seasons with high temperatures, cooling buildings is a significant source of energy consumption. AkzoNobel has successfully developed the first generation of paints that offer vivid colours together with the ability to keep the surface cooler. This technology, KeepCoolTM, is based on special pigments that have been selected based on their ability to reflect better in the near infrared region of the solar spectrum, which contributes to 40 per cent of solar energy. The result is that the surface can be 5 degrees Celsius lower than without this technology, leading to potentially reducing energy usage by 10-15 per cent for the building.
AkzoNobel also focuses on products that use less materials and last longer. Exterior paintwork usually requires rejuvenation after five years, mainly due to lackluster outlook. With TimeResistTM Technology, AkzoNobel makes it possible for paint to last up to 15 years. These efforts are not all, as sustainability is a shared goal across the whole community. That is why AkzoNobel is investing hugely in community projects to raise awareness about a “circular lifestyle” which is non-waste and no-impact. Globally, under AkzoNobel Cares, AkzoNobel has been donating its paint products to repaint structures and villages in coastal areas, which not only cover them with a new protective coat but also turn them into impactful messengers advocating the conservation of nature and our future.
“Sustainability is in our company’s DNA. It will be tough to go circular as AkzoNobel is one of the first ones to set the stage. But if not us, who will make the first step? It is a valuable investment as with less we can gain more, thus give more back to the community,” said Phua.