September 2, 2008
Paint Maker Ups Sales Of Green Products
A Dutch business is counting on green products to drum up more sales, to keep up with increasing global demand and head off raw materials shortages.
"Sustainability is a precondition for economic success nowadays. Companies that are able to contribute to economic growth at a lower input of raw materials and energy are the winners of the future," said Akzo Nobel's Director of Sustainability Andre Veneman.
Veneman said 18 percent of Akzo Nobel's revenue is made up of sustainable products, and the company is aiming for 30 percent by 2015.
"We develop products that are produced with lower energy but also offer energy efficiency to our clients," said Veneman.
Since 1990, Veneman said the company made a 30 percent cut in energy use.
That move has saved 200 million euros a year at current energy prices.
Akzo Nobel is the world's biggest paint company and producer of brands such as DuLux, Sikkens and Flexa.
It needs high-margin products to offset mounting pressure due to slowing housing markets in the United States and Europe.
One of the Dutch company's sustainable products is Intersleek 900. It's a paint for ships' hulls that allows large vessels to pass more efficiently through the water, reducing fuel consumption and transport costs by at least 6 percent.
The company says the new paint costs five times more than a conventional hull coating. However, it could deliver up to $2.5 million savings in five years for a typical vessel.
Other products include an additive that enables steelmakers to produce steel at 4 percent lower costs. The company is also offering car paint that cures in six minutes under ultraviolet light instead of an hour.
"We no longer sell a product, we sell energy savings, and clients are willing to pay extra for it," Veneman said.