Sustainable solutions

In 2020, we set an ambition to increase revenue from sustainable solutions to more than 50% by 2030. We decided to focus not only on our eco-premium solutions that offer significantly better sustainability benefits compared with mainstream solutions, but to focus on all solutions that bring sustainability benefits to our customers. We call this overall category “Sustainable solutions”. We changed focus due to the global growth in market demand for more sustainable solutions.

Our products fall into one of three categories: Sustainable solutions, Performers, Transitioners.

Paintbrushes with numbers (illustration)

By focusing on the sustainability benefits we offer, we continue to influence the growing acceptance of more sustainable solutions in our markets. We work closely with our suppliers and customers to deliver these products and services, while ensuring economic value at every stage.

We identify the sustainability value we bring to our customers by using the Sustainable Product Portfolio Assessment (SPPA) framework. We co-developed the SPPA with other chemical companies and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). It’s now the leading sustainable portfolio framework tool in the chemical industry. The SPPA gives a holistic view of the sustainability characteristics of our product portfolio. Together with our customer-focused product stewardship process, it enables value-selling strategies tailored to specific customer needs. So we can take a harmonized approach in our portfolio management, creating a unique baseline for future portfolio ambitions.

We continue to influence the growing acceptance of more sustainable solutions.

A sustainable solution is a product that meets at least one of the following criteria.

Sustainability Key Drivers – Health and well-being (icon)

Health and well-being

Sustainability Key Drivers – Reduced carbon and energy (icon)

Reduced carbon and energy

Sustainability Key Drivers – Less waste (icon)

Less waste

Sustainability Key Drivers – Reduce, reuse and renew (icon)

Reduce, reuse and renew

Sustainability Key Drivers – Longer-lasting performance (icon)

Longer-lasting performance

A sustainable solution does not adversely affect any of these sustainability criteria throughout the value chain.

In 2021, 39% of our revenue came from sustainable solutions. We launched new products with clear sustainability benefits and further reduced the use of chemical substances of concern. Several examples of sustainable solutions can be found in the Strategy and operations section. 74% of our total portfolio has been assessed according to the SPPA methodology, the remainder is extrapolated, based on the sustainable solutions percentage of the relevant business unit. During the year, our product management teams continued to work on the SPPA categorization, while focusing on new product developments.

Product stewardship is our approach to ensuring product safety and its sustainability aspects are considered throughout the value chain – from raw material extraction, , manufacturing, transport, marketing and application, through to end-of-life. Our Product Stewardship Continuous Improvement Tool (PSCIT) helps monitor and drive continuous improvement.

Our highly acclaimed Priority Substance Program continues to help us identify and control the use of hazardous substances. It’s embedded in our processes and ensures we’re ahead of any changes to regulations. The governance of the program is assured by the Raw Material Sustainability Group (RMSG).

A training program continues to be developed and delivered to all relevant functions throughout AkzoNobel to ensure everyone is aware of priority substances and how they impact our own operations.

Royal recognition for our sustainability leadership

Thierry Vanlancker in front of the Terra Carta sign

A major new sustainability award was presented to AkzoNobel by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at the COP26 summit held in Glasgow, Scotland.

We were one of the first recipients of the Terra Carta Seal, which recognizes global companies that are driving innovation and demonstrating their commitment to, and momentum towards, the creation of genuinely sustainable markets.

The award is part of the Terra Carta, a recovery plan for nature, people and planet which was introduced in early 2021 through HRH The Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative. AkzoNobel was the only paints and coatings company to receive the honor.

“Having our efforts recognized by the award of the Terra Carta Seal is a source of great pride for everyone in our company,” said CEO Thierry Vanlancker, who was in Glasgow to receive the honor. “It’s a clear endorsement of all the work we’re doing across AkzoNobel and everything we’ve achieved so far.

“It also confirms the vital role that paints and coatings can play when you combine the precious and irreplaceable power of nature with the transformative power of paint – which lies at the heart of what we do for people and the environment.”


Research and development.