AkzoNobel Launches Sustainability Challenge

MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2022

Global coatings company AkzoNobel recently announced the launch of its new Paint the Future initiative that aims to develop a shared approach to tackling climate change. According to the company’s release, the Collaborative Sustainability Challenge is a pioneering initiative designed to collectively accelerate carbon reduction in the paints and coatings industry.

The 24-hour event is expected to take place between May 17 and 18 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. AkzoNobel reports that the event will involve senior executives and next generation leaders from a select group of partners, including suppliers and customers.

“Successfully tackling the impact of climate change is everyone’s responsibility,” said AkzoNobel CEO, Thierry Vanlancker. “Having set science-based sustainability targets to halve our carbon emissions across the full value chain by 2030, we’re fully committed to getting there.

“However, we know the only way for us to achieve that ambition – and play our part in limiting global warming to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels – is to collaborate with our partners.”

The open discussions in a non-confidential environment will involve a deep-dive into several areas:

  • Energy transition – Inspire partners towards decarbonizing processes and transitioning to renewable energy sources;
  • Process efficiency – Increase the efficiency of material use and reduce the energy required for applying and curing paints and coatings;
  • Solvent emissions – Reduce the number of solvents emitted throughout our entire value chain; and
  • Circular solutions – Increase the use of circular solutions in paints and coatings, both upstream and downstream.

“There are unprecedented challenges we all need to overcome,” added Klaas Kruithof, AkzoNobel’s Chief Technology Officer. “Achieving this will require collaborative innovation across the industry. We want to challenge ourselves and our partners to collectively identify opportunities in the areas we’ll be discussing, which will result in just one true winner – our planet.”

According to AkzoNobel, its Collaborative Sustainability Challenge will build on the success its Paint the Future global startup challenge.

“Paint the Future has revolutionized innovation in the paints and coatings industry and this challenge is a natural progression, because our science-based sustainability target is clearly a driver for innovation,” continued Vanlancker. “It’s about challenging ourselves and our partners every day to be better global citizens and protect the future of our planet – which is fundamental to our own People. Planet. Paint. approach to doing business.”

Paint the Future

AkzoNobel launched the latest global startup challenge on May 18, 2021. According to the company, the 2021 program builds on the success of 2019’s inaugural event, as well as two regional startup challenges in Brazil and China, two supplier programs and other AkzoNobel collaborations. These programs have already resulted in 18 successful solutions, the company noted.

“Paint the Future is our dedicated ecosystem designed to accelerate innovation in paints and coatings,” Kruithof said at the time. “Our first global startup challenge was a first for our industry and our ecosystem has grown amazingly since then to include 2,137 active members. It’s a launch pad for great ideas that’s attracted a diverse group of startups, suppliers, academia and customers.”

For this challenge, startups were invited to submit solutions addressing five challenge themes, including:

  • Enhanced functionality;
  • Customer experience;
  • Smart application;
  • Circular solutions; and
  • Smart manufacturing and supply chain.

Following the launch, “exploration and enrichment of the submissions” continued through July 20. Then, select finalists were invited to a collaboration event in late 2021, where the challenge winners were planned to be announced.

Recent Paint the Future Winners

At the end of last month, AkzoNobel announced three winners of its second global startup challenge in its Paint the Future initiative. According to the company’s release, the startups were selected by an international jury after a three-day bootcamp.

Paint the Future startup challenges are designed to connect startups with the industry knowledge and expertise to help accelerate their solutions in the paints and coatings industry. The three winners are as follows:

  • SolCold (Israel) for sustainable self-cooling coating based on anti-Stokes;
  • Aerones (Latvia) for robotics for wind turbine maintenance; and
  • SprayVision (Czech Republic) for data-driven approach to optimal spray application of paint.

“Through Paint the Future, we’re bringing innovation and sustainability together as a key driver of our business,” said Thierry Vanlancker, AkzoNobel CEO. “In our ecosystem, we collaborate with startups, suppliers, customers and academia around exciting solutions that will ensure a more sustainable future.”

“Collaborative innovation is truly transforming the paints and coatings industry,” said Klaas Kruithof, AkzoNobel’s Chief Technology Officer and Chair of the Paint the Future jury. “I’m looking forward to mixing the skills of these passionate entrepreneurs with our knowledge of paints and coatings. Together, we’ll bring our customers new solutions that go beyond imagination.”

This startup challenge launched in May last year, with AkzoNobel reporting 245 submissions from 62 countries. Of these submissions, ten finalists were invited to Amsterdam to participate in the bootcamp program.

In addition to the second global startup challenge, AkzoNobel has created regional startup challenges in Brazil, China and, most recently, India.


Tagged categories: AkzoNobel; Asia Pacific; Business management; Business matters; Business operations; Carbon footprint; Coatings; Coatings Technology; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Emissions; Environmental Controls; Green coatings; Industry News; Latin America; Net Zero Energy ; North America; Paint; Program/Project Management; Quality Control; Sustainability; Z-Continents

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