Research, Development and Innovation

Sustainability and the reduction of our ecological footprint is a key driver for AkzoNobel’s new strategy for Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I), as described in the Strategy section.

We use our eco-premium solutions metric – which considers the whole lifecycle – as the key performance indicator for our product sustainability performance (see Eco-premium solutions). Once again, two important focus areas have been VOC reduction and raw materials.

RD&I has set itself a zero VOC challenge. A cross-business group including R&D, marketing and product stewardship representatives is driving the work to achieve the current target of our combined coatings businesses of a 25 percent reduction of VOC in our products. They are also evaluating the feasibility of greater reductions and total elimination of VOCs.

Renewable raw materials are already used extensively throughout the company. A substantial proportion of our Surface Chemistry business’ products is derived from natural materials, while the Decorative Paints and several Performance Coatings businesses are beginning to substitute renewable raw materials in their formulations. RD&I is working with the Sourcing group to identify areas for raw material rationalization and substitution, and to develop supplier partnerships. A cross-business group is looking for opportunities to replace petrochemical derived materials, ensuring we maintain product performance while achieving a cost-effective reduction in environmental footprint and continuity of supply. Decorative Paints is also implementing a new raw materials strategy to both reduce the number of raw materials it uses and help drive the move towards raw materials with lower ecological footprints.

We are continuing our efforts to reduce and eliminate specific materials of concern from our products. These include chromates for the protection of metal surfaces; biocides in marine antifouling coatings; isocyanates in polyurethane production; and cobalt as an auto-drier in decorative paints.

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