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Environmental performance

Emissions to air

Energy and greenhouse gases
This section reflects the performance of our own operations. There are more details of our Carbon Policy and proposed cradle-to-gate reporting in chapter Carbon Policy.

We report the direct and indirect CO2 emissions from our industrial activities in line with the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol.

Energy efficiency and carbon-efficient energy consumption are Key Performance Indicators for our own operations, since energy is an important input for some Specialty Chemicals businesses. In 2008, AkzoNobel’s energy bill totaled €660 million, 6.6 percent of total costs of sales.

  • 73 percent (2007: 73 percent) of our worldwide power consumption from AkzoNobel sites (excluding the former ICI) is generated from renewables, nuclear and gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants. These sites account for 91 percent of the total 2008 power consumption
  • The net energy consumption of our businesses has improved by 12 percent since 1990. There is a small deterioration in 2008 performance because a cogeneration unit in the Netherlands was not in operation. Total energy consumption in 2008 was 115,000 TJ, down 1 percent from 2007 levels
  • Direct and indirect energy CO2 emissions from our operations were 4.6 million tons, down 2 percent on 2007.

Energy consumption
(AkzoNobel sites excluding the former ICI)

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In %












Net energy consumption index




Zero/low carbon power consumption




The net energy consumption index excludes energy required to drive the chemical reaction. Zero/low carbon power is generated from renewable fuels, nuclear and high efficiency CHP plants.

Clean air around our plants
We focus our monitoring on VOC emissions which may lead to local low level ozone creation, smog formation and associated health problems to nearby society and NOx and SOx emissions which contribute to acidification.

  • Total VOC emissions are 4,048 tons, down 18 percent on 2007 levels, due to product reformulations and equipment improvement, as well as more accurate measurement and divestment of operations
  • SOx emissions from energy used by our sulfuric acid and carbon disulfide plants in Le Moyne, US, and Cologne, Germany, and the former ICI sites are up 16 percent. The increase is mainly due to low market demand and operational issues at the sodium bisulfide plant in Argentina
  • NOx emissions originating from the fuel used for AkzoNobel in our CHP plants in the Netherlands and Denmark and the former ICI sites have also increased by 31 percent. This is due to a small increase in fuel oil use in Pakistan and a new woodchip burner in the salt business
  • Emissions of ozone depleting substances are at a very low level. They are mainly due to Freon22 in older air conditioning and cooling units which are continuously being replaced.

Reporting of NOx and SOx will be extended to all our operations in 2009.

NOx and SOx emissions

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In kilo ton




















Emissions which may form acid rain that can lead to acidification. The gases are emissions from manufacturing and combustion of fuel that we burn. Main emissions only.

Raw materials efficiency

Effective waste management helps to increase raw materials efficiency in our manufacturing operations, reduces our environmental footprint and reduces cost for the company. In 2008, the waste reporting was expanded to total waste, which will encourage waste reduction for reusable, as well as non-reuseable, waste.

In 2008, AkzoNobel produced 795 ktons of waste from its operations, 228 ktons of this was reuseable waste, the rest non-reuseable. Our Soda Ash site generates 510 ktons of non-hazardous waste purely as a result of the process chemistry. Integrating this waste into our numbers would mask improvements from other businesses, so apart from the Total Waste figure, all reporting is based on waste quantities excluding this Soda Ash stoichiometric waste.

  • Non-reuseable waste increased by 2 percent during 2008, and the hazardous portion of this increased by 17 percent. These increases are a result of changes in legislation, new acquisitions and the batch nature of hazardous waste disposal.

In 2009, we will extend our efforts from non re-usable waste reduction to total waste reduction and elimination of hazardous waste sent to landfill.

Soil and groundwater remediation

There are substantial costs associated with the assessment and remediation of historical soil and groundwater contamination. We periodically review historical/existing contamination at our sites, taking remedial action when required, and have procedures to prevent new contamination. During 2008, we pulled together specialists and assessment techniques from the former ICI and AkzoNobel into a global Soil and Ground Water expertise center to manage these issues most effectively.

AkzoNobel provides for environmental remediation costs when it is probable that liability will materialize and the cost can be estimated. During 2008, we assessed all the former ICI sites against the AkzoNobel policy and standards and have contained the provisions. We have now set aside €318 million that we believe is sufficient for the sites where AkzoNobel has ownership or responsibility.

Fresh water availability

Industrial companies have a responsibility to reduce their burden on fresh water supplies – especially in regions where fresh water is scarce. Sustainable fresh water supply is equally important to the sustainability of the business, so our ambition is to achieve sustainable fresh water management at all our sites in 2015.

In 2008, our HSE and Research, Development & Innovation groups developed a fresh water sustainability assessment which takes into account both the societal impact and the business continuity aspects. The tool allows the site to carry out an assessment and develop a focused improvement plan. We have requested all sites to complete this assessment in 2009.

Besides intake of fresh water, the emission of contaminated water from our sites to surface waters may also negatively impact fresh water resources and eco-systems. So we continue to seek ways to reduce our fresh water consumption and the chemical oxygen demand (COD) of our effluent to surface water.

  • The ICI acquisition increased total fresh water use by about 50 million m3, however, we reduced consumption by 2 percent during 2008. Improvements include more efficient cooling tower operation, leak repairs and more efficient use of fresh water
  • Reductions in COD in effluent are being achieved across the business.

CO2 emissions

Direct CO2 emissions from processes and fuel combustion in our facilities and indirect CO2 emissions from purchased energy.

Power consumption fuel mix
In %

Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions

Volatile organic compound emissions may lead to local low level ozone creation, smog formation and associated local health issues. We measure halogenated and non-halogenated organic compounds discharged to air.

Non-reusable waste

Non-reusable waste which is not used for resource recovery, recycling, reclamation, direct reuse or alternative uses.

Hazardous non-reusable waste

Non-reusable waste which is classified as hazardous by national, state or local legislation.

Fresh water consumption

Total fresh water used from surface, ground or potable water sources.

Chemical oxygen demand

Chemical oxygen demand (COD) is the amount of oxygen required for the chemical oxidation of substances in the waste water effluent that is directly discharged into surface waters from our facilities. It excludes our effluent treated by others.

All per ton production values are included in the 2008 Performance summary.

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