AkzoNobel: Environmental Impact Analyser

By Emma Ringström & Johan Widheden

Described here is an example from AkzoNobel of how environmental issues can become incorporated in the product development process.

To be able to evaluate the impact on global warming, water usage and waste generation already in the R&D phase of a product, a tool for calculation of carbon, water and waste footprints has been developed for one of AkzoNobel’s business units producing paint.

The reasearcher can by adding the formulation (recepie) and the use of utilities such as electricity, heat etc. into the tool (excel-based) receive the footprints. The raw materials and utilities are chosen from a list and the amounts are typed in. The footprints are then calculated and presented in graphs. By calculating footprints for changes in receipes the researcher can see how the impact on global warming, water use and waste generation is changed and thereby optimize the formulation. Also the effects of changing raw materials can be analyzed in the tool.  

The tool was developed in cooperation between environmental specialists, R&D and marketing personnel and it has lead to an increased understanding of the environmental considerations needed in R&D.

To develop the tool questionnaires were sent out to all suppliers to gather the information on carbon emissions, water usage and waste generation for the raw materials. The information includes the suppliers operation but also the upstream supply chain. This information was added into the excel-tool for each raw material.