UK decorative paints business successfully achieves certification to the Carbon Trust Standard for Water, demonstrating an absolute reduction in water use of 22.2%
AkzoNobel Decorative Paints UK is a part of AkzoNobel, the leading global paints and coatings company, and home to well-known brands such as Dulux, Cuprinol, Polycell and Hammerite. In July 2013 the UK decorative paints business successfully achieved certification to the Carbon Trust Standard for Water, demonstrating an absolute reduction in water use of 22.2%.
AkzoNobel recognises that a sustainable water supply is important to the long-term sustainability of its global business. The company relies on water for raw materials production, product formulation and manufacturing, power generation, cooling, cleaning, transporting and for effective use of some products. For this reason the business has announced its ambition to have sustainable fresh water management in place at all AkzoNobel manufacturing sites by 2015.
The UK Decorative Paints business put a particular focus on minimising freshwater use in operations. Over the certification period a reduction of 59.6m3 was achieved through manufacturing initiatives. This included the implementation of various leading-edge technologies in production facilities to reduce water use while ensuring there would be no adverse impact on product quality.
Paint manufacture requires water as a key ingredient. At its Prudhoe manufacturing site, rainwater harvesting was implemented and captured water was used for new paint manufacture. It is filtered and is then sterilised using an ultraviolet filter, eliminating bugs without the use of biocides. The site has the capacity to harvest 1.7m litres of water per year. Wash water storage has also been increased on all sites across the UK to allow more water to be reused in new paint production where possible.
We value the independence and reputation of the Carbon Trust, and having held the Carbon Trust Standard for many years, we were keen to be one of the first to also achieve the Carbon Trust Water Standard as recognition of our work to date in this important area
Cleaning machinery in between different product or colour batches is a particularly water intensive area in paint manufacture. AkzoNobel’s Slough plant made engineering improvements that allow pipe work to be washed out separately from the mixer. This means that in between similar water-based batches it is possible to wash just the pipe work, halving the amount of water required. In the company’s Stowmarket plant similar paint products follow each other in the production schedule, requiring washing to be carried out less frequently.
AkzoNobel is currently investing in a new manufacturing facility in Ashington, due to open in 2014, which aims to be the most sustainable paint plant ever. All new water-saving processes and learnings have been incorporated into the design of this site, along with a series of other sustainability measures. It is intended that Ashington will replace the current Slough and Prudhoe manufacturing sites, with the capacity to produce 90 million litres of paint a year.
To ensure that the company is able to continue achieving year-on-year reductions, meeting its own ambitions for sustainability, it has set stretching targets have been set around reductions in energy, water and waste. For water the major targets are reducing total fresh water per tonne of production to a maximum of 155 litres, excluding product water content, and having zero process waste water.
It is a core value of AkzoNobel to seek radical resource efficiencies wherever viable. We recognise that the UK will become increasing water scarce and that as a responsible manufacturer and a leader in sustainability in our sector we need to be pushing the boundaries and pioneering new processes for minimising water usage. We value the independence and reputation of the Carbon Trust, and having held the Carbon Trust Standard for many years, we were keen to be one of the first to also achieve the Carbon Trust Standard for Water as recognition of our work to date in this important area.
Susan Kendall, UK & Ireland Sustainability Director at AkzoNobel Decorative Paints
Read more on Akzonobel's Planet Possible series to encourage communities and businesses to do 'more with less' for the benefit of the environment.