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Sustainability sounds great, but where’s the evidence?

Any good sales or marketing professional understands the power of having public opinion behind them. And in today’s age of heightened sustainability awareness, companies of all shapes and sizes are keener than ever to demonstrate their ‘green’ credentials. Indeed, a great many have made positive and long-lasting changes to their business models and the world around them… 

What I take issue with, though, is the practice of ‘greenwashing’ – i.e. bold sustainability claims that don’t hold up under scrutiny. Whether automotive companies claiming their vehicles are more environmentally friendly than they are, or retailers placing eco-certification labels on products that are far from sustainable, many businesses clearly understand that ‘sustainability sells’ – and are willing to bend the truth to their advantage. 

Time to face facts
When it comes to offering environmentally friendly products and services, consumers and customers need to be able to make informed choices. And for this, they need real, quantifiable information based on hard facts. I’m immensely proud of our sustainability record here at DSM – most of all because the many positive innovations we’ve introduced over the years have begun from a starting point of clear scientific proof. Before launching a new product, we conduct lifecycle assessments (LCAs) to develop an objective, tangible understanding of the solution’s sustainability value. It’s all very well telling companies we can help them reduce their carbon footprint, but exactly how many kilos of carbon dioxide are we talking here?

We know that offering objective proof of sustainability is especially important when it comes to our furniture coating solutions – products that inhabit people’s homes and places of work for years on end. From the manufacturing and application stages to end-of-use, we need to know the potential impact of our coatings and across the entire product life cycle down to the last decimal point. One of our most recent LCAs offers just that: an in-depth study of the impact of our coating resins for metal substrates, such as metal office furniture. 

Getting the full picture
The assessment proved that, on a flat-metal surface, powder coatings produce the lowest carbon footprint compared with other industrial coating systems. Putting my marketing hat back on, that headline reads like a great value proposition; but the scientist in me wants to know more. More importantly, before incorporating our solution into their product development, paint and coatings customers deserve the full picture. Office furniture coated with our powder coatings, for example, generates less than 0.3kg of CO2 per square meter than that with a conventional coating. I could go on, but I recommend you take a look for yourself: the full LCA is available to view here.  

In a world full of noise and media soundbites, distinguishing between fiction and reality is harder than ever. Whether we’re talking about furniture coatings ingredients or any other solution, science must remain the foundation of sustainability conversations. We can only find answers to the current climate crisis if we’re straightforward and transparent with each other. Because people can only start making changes to their business practices and personal lifestyles once they have all the facts to hand. In short, a brighter future starts with having a clearer understanding of the present. 

Feel free to reach out to us to discuss our innovation efforts within coating resins for the furniture segment! And stay tuned for our next blog.

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