Three years in a row the Dutch coating producer Royal Van Wijhe Verf has been awarded with the prestigious title "Best For The World” by B Lab for its high environmental standards and commitment to sustainability. In an interview in European Coatings their CEO, Marlies van Wijh explains how they work with sustainability.
Royal Van Wijhe Verf will never consider sustainability as a trend. Being sustainable is a necessity and asks for continuous innovation for future generations. Their purpose is to reduce the use of fossil fuels every year by using bio-based raw materials in their products. In their production process they also aim to reduce the volumes of hazardous waste by 10 % per year. They believe they can do a lot of improvements themselves, but they know they will be more successful with partners who have the same purpose. They need involvement by everybody in the value chain.
Several years ago they adopted a product strategy that is based on the use of bio-based raw materials and superior performance of their products in respect to durability. They were the first paint manufacturer who introduced a bio-based wall paint in 2015. Today a lot of their products contain bio-based raw materials. However sustainable paint is not only about bio-based raw materials. Their developments are also focused on reduction of emissions of their products and production processes. Over recent years they have created a database with all the CO2-footprint information of their products. They now know exactly which raw materials and which parts of their production process influence CO2 emissions and to what extent. They are using this knowledge in order to evaluate and plan improvements on the footprint of their products. In improving their production processes, they always consider the environmental consequences:
Their progress in development of bio-based products is dependent on the availability and pricing of new raw materials. That is why they work together with universities and raw material suppliers. Without these partnerships it is hard to improve their products as quickly as they do now. They have many product ideas for future developments and they hope to realize these ideas when they become technically feasible.The paint industry has still a long way to go but they believe there will be no modern sustainable future without a substantial dose of innovation.