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Monday, 28 September 2020

A more Sustainable New Year for the Coatings Industry?

Thursday, 27 December 2012 | Posted by: Tony Mash, TMA Consulting Inc.

As the Coatings Industry goes into the New Year, there is much to cheer about the progress that has been made over the past 12 months as paint manufacturing companies have contributed to sustainable innovation in an ever-broadening range of activities.  2013 will be another year of development and change.

There’s never a dull moment in the Coatings Industry!

At a recent awards evening held by the British Coatings Federation, Paint and Printing Ink companies competed for the coveted BCF Sustainable Innovation Award. Remarkable for their diversity, entries were derived from stand-alone projects to major company-wide programmes; from technical challenges to creative marketing. There were entries that focused on cradle to gate improvements in manufacturing efficiencies and coatings formulations, together with examples of renewable raw material sourcing (some decoupled from the manufacture of food). Beyond the factory gate, there were good examples of increased coating longevity including the iconic example of the painting of the Forth Rail Bridge in Scotland using protective coatings from Sherwin Williams which ensure that repainting will not be needed for another 25 years.

Public communication on Sustainability increases

It was also most encouraging to note that all submissions demonstrated increasing quality of communication in the public arena on Sustainable Innovation.  AkzoNobel addressed the social pillar of Sustainability by donating significant quantities of paint to improve run-down urban areas around the world.

The competition winner was Crown Paints which impressed the competition judges with its major company-wide initiative which embedded the concept of sustainable development in the day to day working of the company and its suppliers, and is now having an impact on local community programmes.  

In 2013, there is plenty to look forward to in terms of innovation and creativity in line with the principles of Sustainable Development. Much will depend on the technical skills of the upstream Chemical Industry to meet the Coatings Industry’s changing needs. It was encouraging to hear recent speakers at Paint Research Association and ICIS conferences in Amsterdam and Berlin discussing the prospects for the use of novel chemistries to source renewable raw materials for the manufacture of not only Alkyds but also Acrylics, Epoxies and Polyurethanes.

Life Cycle Analysis will become more influential

Thanks to the work of CEPE and other organisations, Life Cycle Analysis will become more influential in Coatings Company selection of formulation ingredients. The Coatings Industry will continue to expect from its supplier base cost-effective solutions to technical challenges supported by performance data and Extended Safety Data Sheets. However, there will also be a growing demand for Environmental Product Declarations to confirm that product manufacture has avoided the creation of environmental or social problems anywhere along the material supply chain from basic raw material manufacture to coating application and maintenance. 

Downstream too, changes are happening which could have a significant impact on coatings suppliers. Around the world, we are hearing more and more about the launch of programmes to recycle unused water-borne paints. Downstream manufacturers and retailers are themselves promoting the recycling of the coated products they sell. In some areas, the consumer is having a direct impact. This is exemplified by reports of resurgence in the recycling of second–hand car parts and growing interest from interior designers in the repainting of used furniture to extend product lifetime and enhance appearance.   

As they say, there’s never a dull moment in the Coatings Industry!

A Prosperous and Sustainable year to all.

Tony Mash

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