We performed in line with our expected outcomes during 2015 and were able to remain on track despite difficult market circumstances.
In Europe, we introduced a new operating model at the end of 2014, which gave more focus to marketing and sales and enabled cost reductions, increasing efficiency and generating economy of scale. In 2015, we began to benefit from this new approach. Markets remained volatile, however, and growth was limited. China in particular experienced challenging conditions, while there was turbulence in Russia, Turkey and Brazil. It remains difficult to predict what will happen in these markets in the longer term. There was more positive news in South East Asia, where we achieved growth in India, Vietnam and, to a lesser extent, Indonesia. Argentina also performed well in difficult circumstances.
Having remodeled the business in recent years, our scale and diversification – along with our resilience to local shocks – provides us with the flexibility to shift our focus to regions where we see opportunities for profitable growth. This increased agility will make us more competitive and will help drive our new strategy, which is focused on winning locally while leveraging our scale.
So on an operational level, 2015 was very much about continuous improvement and preparing for growth – although the markets offered no assistance. As we move forward, we will continue to look for further efficiency improvements on an ongoing basis.
Looking at some of the other developments during the year, it was pleasing to see our innovation pipeline continue to deliver a series of new products. One of the big successes was Dulux Easycare, a paint which allows you to easily clean common household stains and spills off your wall, without having to worry about damaging the surface. It proved to be particularly popular in Poland, where it reached its full-year targets in just three months.
The Visualizer app launched in 2014 also enjoyed further success. Having won multiple awards, it has been downloaded more than eight million times to date and is available in over 40 markets. An update for the app was released towards the end of the year, but this is just the beginning, because we are making a big effort to explore more digital possibilities and develop exciting new ways to deliver essential color to our customers.
Sustainability is another key focus area, with our percentage of revenue from eco-premium solutions with downstream benefits increasing to 28 percent. We are focusing in particular on moving to more waterborne solutions globally. A notable highlight with regard to becoming more sustainable took place in the UK, where we launched a new paint recycling scheme. The initiative involves remanufacturing waste paint and using it to inject color into local communities. Our ambition is to increase the amount of waste paint collected for reuse in the UK ten-fold – to three million liters – by 2020. Our safety performance was another pleasing aspect of 2015. Our total reportable injury rate (TRR) was 1.2, well in line with the company’s 2015 target of less than 2.0.
Overall, we made significant progress in 2015 and have the right strategy in place to continue the momentum we have built up over the last few years. We’ve transformed the business and believe we are well positioned to achieve our vision of becoming the leading global decorative paints company in size and performance.
“We made significant progress and have the right strategy in place to continue the momentum we have built up”
Member of the Executive Committee responsible for Decorative Paints
Provide tangible material or energy efficiency benefits for our customers, compared with competitive products.
The number of injuries per million hours worked. Full definitions are in the Sustainability statements.