Interview: “Architectural coatings are in a transformative phase”
What major obstacles or challenges do you see for the further spread of water-based systems?
Esra Bay: The European coatings market has already predominantly switched to water-borne systems for architectural coatings. However, there is still serious effort required to increase the awareness and availability of water-based systems, alongside tackling lingering misconceptions about their performance.
The solvent-based systems will still continue to be the preferred choice in some application areas, especially where meeting specific performance is a key requirement. At the same time, for others it will stubbornly remain popular despite the availability and commensurate performance of water-based solutions.
We have a duty to counter the misplaced assumptions or beliefs underpinning many decisions and ensure that consumers and professional applicators feel not only comfortable but also enthusiastic about transitioning from solvent-based coatings to readily available water-based solutions. We can achieve this by continuing promotion of high performance, environmentally friendly , safety and regulatory compliant claims of water-based coatings to equip end consumers in making more conscious decisions.
Where do you see the strongest growth for water-based paints in the medium term?
Bay: Like most industries, sustainability has become one of the key factors in decision-making process of businesses and end-consumers. All eyes are on mechanisms to reduce the carbon footprint. To date, much of the growth in demand for water-based paints has been driven by consumers who are increasingly interested in potential environmental impact of the products that they use in all aspects of their lives.
Given strengthening determination to reduce consumers’ personal carbon footprint, rising demand for more sustainable water-based solutions is a near certainty. Trim or gloss paints are the segment where solvent based paints continue to hold a significant market share as they have been traditionally viewed as delivering superior aesthetic properties versus water-based alternatives, but technology advancement combined with consumer preferences and environmental awareness is continuing to accelerate the substitution in this segment.
Architectural coatings are in a transformative phase where fossil fuel derived products are being replaced with alternatives from renewable raw materials. The widespread availability of affordable ‘bio-based’ water-based solutions with high performance will contribute to climate protection, reducing the total carbon footprint of architectural coatings.
In the mid-term, similar to the wide-spread substitution of solvent based architectural wall paints with water based acrylic technology which has taken place over the past 50 years, the future growth segment is set to be driven by sustainable biobased technologies supporting the drive to a more circular economy.
Water-based systems are also the focus of the EC Conference Bio-based and Water-based Coatings on November 14 and 15 in Berlin, Germany. At the conference you will learn about the latest developments in bio-based and water-based coatings.