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Planet Possible: why green is good!

Planet Possible: Why Green is Good!


Remember when, according to Wall Street's Gordon Gekko, 'greed was good'? Just under thirty years ago, Michael Douglas's character captured the spirit of businesses in the 80's when he said that greed is right, it works, captures the evolutionary spirit and 'you mark my words, will not only save the company, but the country too'. That may have been true then, but substitute greed for green and that's the reality now. In a world of finite resources and an ever-increasing population, we all need to be less greedy and more, well, green.

But what does being green and acting sustainably mean? Susan Kendall, AkzoNobel's Sustainability Director is responsible for making sure everything and everyone from product to production, company to customer delivery is as green as possible. Her view of sustainability is very clear, 'When we talk about being sustainable, we mean taking a truly holistic and responsible approach in everything we do – we want to consider the impact we have on the planet, how our products impact on people's well-being, how we can do something positive for the communities we operate in, making sure we know where the ingredients in our paints come from and ensuring they come from ethical sources. We have a particular passion for waste as too many precious resources are being thrown away – and not only is that wrong, it is also becoming very expensive!'

In another thirty years' time the United Nations predicts our global population will hit nine billion (we're currently hovering at around seven). That's about five times more than 100 years ago on our one little planet, with lifestyles and aspirations that our ancestors could only have dreamed of. Like Gekko, we all want more but the reality is that the way we live now, we simply can't keep doing things the same way. Global resources are becoming depleted which means waste is becoming no longer an option. Our throwaway culture has to change.

But change is happening. Specification in construction, largely driven by cost in the past, is today being led by wellbeing and sustainability factors thanks to assessments such as BREEAM and SKA, as well as energy efficiency regulations, like Part L of the Building Regulations (Conservation of fuel and power). This has made it more important than ever for specifiers to find paint and other products that don't just offer sustainable performance, but have been sourced and manufactured as sustainably as possible and can be disposed of at the end of their life in a way that minimises their environmental impact as well.

On the domestic front, people are spending much more time in their homes. With 'don't move, improve' being the latest watchword, homeowners are looking for ways to make their homes a beautiful space for their families to spend time and grow up in. As such, they are increasingly looking for products with which to create a healthy environment where their families can thrive. It's these families who are much more aware of environmental considerations as it's their children who will be paying the price of generation-waste. Add to that the disposal of DIY products becoming more difficult and costly, and homeowners are increasingly looking to the industry for sustainable, healthy and durable solutions.

Rising to the challenge, AkzoNobel is leading the industry into a brighter, more sustainable future through products that last longer and have less of an impact on the planet as well as by providing tools to help customers choose the right sustainable solution for them and ways to minimise and recycling waste.

So how is AkzoNobel helping?

'The fact that AkzoNobel is number one in its sector on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and that here in Deco UK we are one of the very few businesses to hold the Carbon Trust Standard triple award, should give our customers confidence that Dulux Trade is a brand they can really trust in this area.' Says Kendall. 'Our Planet Possible commitment means we are coming up with new products that combine real benefit for our customers like speed of use, longer-lasting and less fumes with benefits to the planet that can be reassuring for their customers too.'

Speed of use and less fumes

The new range of Dulux Trade water-based trim paints are quicker drying, provide longer lasting whiteness and have lower odour versus their solvent-based equivalents. They also have faster re-coat periods meaning minimal downtime. Because of their lower VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds, solvents that get released into the air as the paint dries and which can cause acute symptoms, including headaches and dizziness), compared to traditional solvent-based products, they have a significantly lower environmental impact.

Longer-lasting paint

Using durable products will ultimately have less impact on the environment by reducing the quantity of the paint as well as the frequency to redecorate. With this in mind, AkzoNobel created Dulux Trade's Diamond Range. Its ultra durable and stain resistant formulations bring opportunities to extend maintenance cycles significantly, whilst decreasing expensive redecoration costs and in turn reducing environmental impact. Reducing the need to redecorate as often not only results in long-term savings for the client but has the added benefit of dramatically reducing environmental impact over the total life cycle of the paint.

Paint with energy saving benefits

Light & Space is a range of colours from Dulux Trade that uses groundbreaking Lumitec technology to significantly enhance the light levels in a room. Light that would be absorbed by conventional paint colours is instead reflected back. However, the effect goes beyond simply making the room lighter and brighter, it will also seem more spacious. Decorating with Light & Space colours means less artificial light is required and that can mean a significant cost and energy saving over the lifetime of the building. Light & Space range is available in a number of ranges, including Diamond.

Our greenest paint yet

For a paint that has minimal VOC content, AkzoNobel developed Ecosure in conjunction with sustainability experts Forum for the Future. Ecosure offers a range of quality finishes with excellent application characteristics and colour choice. All Ecosure products have water-based formulations with demonstrably lower levels of embodied carbon and minimal VOC content when compared to standard Dulux Trade products.

Recycling cans and water

Dulux Decorator Centres offer can recycling. Every part of the packaging and contents is used. The plastic is made into pellets that are used to make garden furniture and the metal is placed back into the market to make recycled products. You'll find the Clear Wash unit at the Centres too. A smart, cost-effective way to clean brushes, rollers and trays, the system cleverly separates water-based paint washings into non-hazardous solid residue (that's easy to dispose of) and clear water that's ready to reuse.

'There is business to be won from showing real leadership in this area.' says Kendall. 'There are all sorts of studies that show that companies that truly embrace sustainability in the way that is right for their market can be much more successful as a result. Simply by doing things slightly differently and adapting products to the sustainable demands of our customers, our business, our customers' businesses and even our planet can change for the better and reap rewards at the same time. Green can be good for business too.'

Find out more about Planet Possible and our commitment to sustainability here