A more sustainable future for all

Introduced in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed by the United Nations are a blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future. They’re a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and address global challenges, so that all people can enjoy peace and prosperity.

Istanbul’s new Atatürk Airport in Turkey (photo)

Around 40,000 kilograms of our superdurable (and highly sustainable) Interpon powder coatings have been used during the ongoing construction of Istanbul’s impressive new Atatürk Airport in Turkey. Our powder coatings continue to make a major contribution to the increasing demand for more sustainable buildings all over the world. Photo: İGA

We believe the SDGs set a clear direction for a more sustainable society – and they have our full support. They provide a clear compass for business growth and development and are in line with our own agenda of creating shared value.

Strongly embraced by the business world, the SDGs are now an integral part of the global development agenda and form the accepted framework for public and private collaboration. And while they’re universal, we recognize that different countries have different priorities in terms of development needs. So we base our marketing and innovation decisions on our understanding of the development needs of the markets where we operate – using local insight to tailor the solutions we offer.

For example, the SDGs help guide the innovation roadmaps we develop. Because in order to understand and identify technology requirements, we must know more about future societal development needs. It’s all about making informed innovation choices – and the SDGs provide a unique perspective on the future.

As a company, we continue to focus on those SDGs where we can have the biggest positive impact. This approach builds on our core principles of sustainability, safety and integrity, including respect for human rights. We’re convinced that our sustainability agenda – which is now focused purely on our paints and coatings activities – is a key driver for business development, innovation and growth. The SDGs will therefore continue to help us take our industry forward and ensure that sustainability remains firmly at the heart of all we do.

We can have the biggest positive impact on the following SDGs:

SDGs that AkzoNobel contributes to (graphic)

11 Sustainable cities and communities:

The majority of our products are used in the buildings and infrastructure sector. Our focus on helping to create green buildings means we can have a major positive impact on cities and communities. This includes improving the energy efficiency of buildings through the use of heat-reflective coatings, as well as interior wall paint which can improve the health and well-being of residents.

12 Responsible consumption and production:

There are huge opportunities in applying the principle of circularity across our entire value chain. For example, when sourcing raw materials, we can join forces with our suppliers to increase the share of bio-based materials and recycled content. We must learn to make better use of these materials.

We could also offer technologies and solutions to our customers that enable them to reduce their own emissions and material use. For example, by lowering curing temperatures and supplying more products with low or zero solvents.

But above all, it’s about better performance, durability and long-term protection of the underlying substrate, be it wood or metal. This can include coatings that reflect heat, lower fuel use, lessen friction or create insulating capacity. It’s also about solutions being non-hazardous, enabling furniture, transport or building materials to be reused and recyclable. Coatings should be an enabler to preventing products becoming waste.

17Partnerships for the goals:

We must collaborate to scale up action across the SDGs. With other leading companies and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), we developed a roadmap for the chemical sector’s contribution to the SDGs. Other partnership examples include our collaboration with The Ocean Cleanup; Black Bear to generate carbon black from old tires; and joint research with Dutch universities as part of the Chemical Building Block Consortium to develop bio-based resins from crustaceans and wood.