Environmental performance

Emissions to air

Energy and greenhouse gases

This section reflects the performance of our own operations. More details on our Carbon Policy and cradle-to-gate reporting can be found in AkzoNobel Carbon Policy. Energy is a major raw material for some of our Specialty Chemicals businesses, so energy efficiency and carbon efficient energy consumption are important metrics for our operations.

In 2009, our energy and greenhouse gas emissions reporting was updated to more fully align with the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, so 2008 and 2009 figures are not directly comparable. We include the six main greenhouse gases; CO2 calculations and emission factors at site level; and have incorporated NOx and SOx factors.

  • Total energy consumption has dropped by 15 percent to 97,000 TJ from 115,000 TJ in 2008, due to lower production rates
  • Total CO2 emissions per ton of production increased by 11 percent to 273 kg CO2 per ton of production
  • There is a shift from indirect to direct CO2 emissions, mainly caused by the consolidation of the Combined Heat and Power unit in Industrial Chemicals.
CO2 emissions
in million tons
CO2 emissions per million ton (bar chart)
Direct CO2 emissions from processes and combustion at our facilities and indirect CO2 emissions from purchased energy.

Refer to reporting principles for details on comparability of data

Clean air around our plants

Our air monitoring is focused on Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions that may lead to local low level ozone creation, smog formation and associated health problems for people in surrounding areas, and NOx and SOx emissions which contribute to acidification. In 2009, we strengthened our NOx and SOx reporting to include the contribution from fuel burned across our operations.

In line with market demands, the VOC reduction focus for our paints and coatings businesses has shifted from controlling VOCs in our operations to low/zero VOC product design. An expert working group has been established to identify ways of accelerating the reduction of VOCs in the product portfolio (see Research, Development and Innovation). We will monitor progress using a new metric: solvent purchased per ton of production. Our Specialty Chemicals businesses will continue to manage VOC emissions from plants in line with regional legal requirements. In future, VOC targets will be set at BU level, but monitored at company level.

  • Total VOC emissions were 4.22 kilotons (2008: 4.05 kilotons), up 4 percent on 2008 levels
  • SOx emissions from process emissions and energy used were up by 29 percent at 6.2 kilotons (2008: 4.8 kilotons) with the main contribution coming from three sulfur derivatives plants in Germany, the US and Argentina. The new reporting of emissions from fuel burned contributed this 1.6 kiloton increase
  • NOx emissions originating from our sites were 2.1 kilotons (2008: 1.1 kilotons). The additional emissions were from fuel burned on the sites reporting for the first time this year
  • 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.
Volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions
in kilo tons
Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in kilo tons (bar chart)
VOC 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.

NOx and SOx emissions in kilo tons





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.













Refer to reporting principles for details on comparability of data
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