Environmental performance

Operational eco-efficiency improvement

Improvement activities are focused on the Operational Eco-Efficiency (OEE) program described in the Manufacturing section. This first wave is expected to deliver approximately 3 to 4 percent footprint reduction, resulting in €26 million recurring cost benefits.

Energy use in 1000*TJ

Energy Use in 1000*TJ (bar chart)

2007 and 2008 data for former AkzoNobel coatings businesses were based on factors per ton production.

Greenhouse gas emissions in million ton

Greenhouse gas emissions in million ton (bar chart)

Total greenhouse gas emissions made up of direct emissions from processes and combustion at our facilities and indirect emissions from purchased energy.

2007 and 2008 data for former AkzoNobel coatings businesses were based on factors per ton production.

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 the Invent section. 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. Energy reduction is also part of the OEE program.

  • Energy consumption per ton of production is stable at 5.7GJ/ton (2009: 5.7GJ/ton). Absolute consumption was up 14 percent at 111,000TJ (2009: 97,000TJ) due to higher production volumes, the acquisition of the high energy Frankfurt site, and partly compensated in the last quarter by the divestment of our National Starch business
  • Greenhouse gas emissions per ton of production decreased slightly to 267kg/ton CO2(e) (2009: 272kg/ton). Absolute GHG emissions stand at 5.2 million tons of CO2(e) (2009: 4.7 million tons). Increase caused by higher energy intake caused by increased production volumes
  • Direct greenhouse gas emissions (2.0 million tons of CO2(e)) are split into 1.7 million tons from fuel burned and 0.3 million tons of CO2(e) process emissions, mainly from the Soda Ash business in Pakistan and the carbide business in Sweden.

Clean air around our plants

Our air monitoring is focused on volatile organic compound (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 2005, before AkzoNobel’s portfolio change, we set a milestone to reduce VOC emissions to 4,000 tons by 2010. We continue to reduce the level of emissions, but have not yet achieved this target with the changed business portfolio.

Volatile organic compounds in kilotons

Volatile organic compounds 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.
1 2010 milestones were set in 2005, based on the AkzoNobel portfolio that year.

Our Specialty Chemicals businesses will continue to manage VOC emissions from plants in line with regional legal requirements. In future, VOC ambitions will be set at BU level, but monitored at company level. The VOC reduction focus for our paints and coatings businesses has shifted from controlling VOCs in our operations to low/zero VOC product design. Reducing VOC emissions from our plants remains part of the scope of our OEE program, while our Research, Development and Innovation groups (RD&I) are working on projects to reduce the solvent content of our products – the zero VOC challenge (see the RD&I section).

NOx and SOx emissions in kilotons
















Emissions 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






NOx kg/ton










SOx kg/ton





  • VOC emissions per ton of production were down 12 percent to 0.22kg/ton (2009: 0.25kg/ton) as a result of site rationalization and the closure of inefficient plants. Total VOC emissions were up 2 percent to 4.3 kilotons (2009: 4.2 kilotons), due to increased production rates
  • SOx emissions (from process emissions and energy) per ton of production were down 3 percent to 0.36kg/ton of production (2009: 0.37kg/ton) due to increased efficiency in our three sulfur derivatives plants. Absolute emissions were up 15 percent at 7.1 kilotons (2009: 6.2 kilotons). Although the main contribution comes from three sulfur derivatives plants in Germany, the US and Argentina, there was also an increase from our Pakistan operations, where scarcity of natural gas has led to higher oil consumption for power generation
  • NOx emissions from our sites per ton of production were down 17 percent at 0.10kg/ton (2009: 0.12kg/ton). Total emissions were slightly down at 2.0 kilotons (2009: 2.1 kilotons).
  • 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.


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