Select Note

Note 16: Climate change

The product lifecycle


We recognize that the effects of climate change are likely to have fundamental impacts on the environment, society and the economics of industrial activity. Our Carbon Policy commits us to move beyond controlling emissions from our own operations towards managing the strategic risks from dependence on fossil-based fuels and raw materials. In line with our commitment to develop eco-efficient solutions for customers, we acknowledge the societal imperative, as well as the business opportunity, of managing our carbon footprint through innovative products, technology and energy management.

We have a cradle-to-gate carbon footprint intensity ambition for 2015 to reduce our carbon footprint by 10 percent per ton of product, compared with 2009. Our 2020 ambition is to reduce by 20–25 percent, compared with 2009. We also aim to control the absolute Scope 1 and 2 (own operations) greenhouse gas emissions of our current business portfolio to ensure that they are no higher than extrapolated 2008 levels.

This year is the third time we have assessed the cradle-to-gate footprint of our operations. We have now assessed 330 key value chains over the last three years (2009: 158; 2010: 286). This year’s assessment indicates a total footprint of around 16.4 million tons CO2(e) assessed cradle-to-gate for our ongoing businesses. There was an additional 0.30 million tons CO2(e) in Scope 1 and 2 reported from Chemicals Pakistan. As in previous years, the cradle-to-gate assessment indicated around 70 percent was from raw materials extraction and processing (Scope 3 upstream) and under 30 percent from our own direct and indirect emissions from energy use.
The results of the cradle-to-gate assessments show a reduction of around 2 percent from about 850 kg/ton in 2009 to approximately 830 kg/ton in 2011 on a comparable basis.

2011 absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions, including Chemicals Pakistan, are at 4.8 million tons CO2(e) (baseline 2008: 4.6 million).

In addition, we have evaluated downstream and end of life scenarios for key product applications in order to identify improvement opportunities.

Assessment method

Each business calculates its cradle-to-gate carbon footprint annually. The AkzoNobel carbon footprint is obtained from the sum of all business carbon footprints. The data is verified at business level and critically reviewed and audited at corporate level.

Cradle-to-gate carbon footprint in million tons of CO2

Cradle to gate carbon footprint in million tons of CO2 (bar chart)

We measure and report our cradle-to-gate carbon footprint using boundaries in line with financial reporting. The assessment is carried out using recognized tools, staff experienced in lifecycle assessment and according to the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol. Cradle-to-gate includes Scope 1 and 2 and Scope 3 upstream.

We have developed a central raw materials/energy database to provide consistency/transparency of data use for the Scope 3 upstream footprint. This database includes default or proxy data which has been selected as the most representative data from recognized data sources, as well as specific supplier data. The absolute Scope 3 data and year-on-year comparison provide indicative assessments.

Direct (Scope 1) and indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions are reported from about 300 reporting units via the AkzoNobel HSE Accounting System. The business unit carbon footprint calculation is based on two related methods:

  • Extrapolation from key value chains – defined as products or groups of products with similar footprint characteristics, which represent at least 80 percent of total business unit revenue/production
  • Assessment of total raw material footprint from purchased materials and total production and transport energy use

We continuously update our raw materials database and the value chains. We have restated the 2009 and 2010 data on a comparable basis to 2011.


We continue to focus on improving the energy efficiency and managing the fuel mix of our energy intensive businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and potential carbon costs. We are also committed to reducing the impact of our raw materials and developing solutions that help our customers to reduce their energy requirements.

Businesses have developed carbon management plans which identify specific improvement opportunities and programs. These plans are consolidated at company level to manage carbon reduction against our ambitions. Examples of programs in place include:

  • Material strategies for key raw material groups (e.g. solvents and resins)
  • Renewable raw materials
  • Energy strategy including renewable energy targets and ambitions
  • Joint activities with suppliers to reduce the footprint of key raw materials
  • Reformulations using lower footprint raw materials
  • New curing developments to reduce energy use during product application
  • Site programs to improve yields, reduce waste and improve energy efficiency

In addition to activities to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in our value chain, we participate in different business initiatives, such as the WBCSD Chemical Sector group for carbon reporting. Our carbon management and performance is reported through the Carbon Disclosure Project. We have also taken an active part in developing the GHG Protocol Accounting and Reporting Guidelines for product lifecycles and corporate value chains (Scope 3). During 2012, we will evaluate how to cover and measure all Scope 3 categories in this new standard.

Keyword Search
Copyright © 2012 Akzo Nobel N.V.