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Sunday, 26 May 2019

Some companies are in a higher league when it comes to sustainability

Thursday, 16 October 2014 | Posted by: Tony Mash, TMA Consulting Inc.

For too many corporations, Life Cycle Analyses and the increasing amounts of environmental reporting that we see in Annual Reports are simply bolt-on business-as-usual activities which do not impact overall corporate thinking and culture, nor do they get to the heart of the issue. AkzoNobel and BASF are coatings companies in a higher league.

Bayer has recently announced its intention to float off its Materials Science Business; a strategic move which we have recently seen in the Coatings sector with the formation of Axalta following its sale by DuPont. I was impressed by a recent press statement from Patrick Thomas, the CEO of the Bayer MaterialScience Business, in which he spoke about his belief in the need for sustainable development. I quote ’The age of sustainability is upon us. We have been talking about – or around-the subject for many years now, but I believe that the pressure that has been growing within society is about to explode. We feel the pulse of the sustainability movement everywhere we look, particularly with customers, suppliers and legislators.’ This statement reminded me that we do have some global corporations that are leading the way in applying the principles of Sustainability and act as examples for others to follow.   

I recently attended the Second Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) World Forum. Amongst many interesting presentations from legislators, academics, NGOs and industry practitioners on the topic of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), were two excellent presentations from AkzoNobel and BASF. Both companies have been working with LCAs for many years and have developed their own internal databases to feed their internal LCA analyses.

In their presentations, they individually made it clear that LCAs in themselves are not the final frontier, and that their incorporation in the decision-making processes including integration with corporate values, strategic planning, long term investment and performance reporting processes is well advanced in both companies.

For too many corporations, Life Cycle Analyses and the increasing amounts of environmental reporting that we see in Annual Reports are simply bolt-on business-as-usual activities which do not impact overall corporate thinking and culture, nor do they get to the heart of the issue. AkzoNobel and BASF are Coatings companies in a higher league.

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