Carbon emissions in our value chain

Guy painting at the Dulux Decorator Centre in the UK

A new initiative from our Dulux Decorator Centre network in the UK is helping to make a real difference to disadvantaged young people while bringing new talent into the coatings industry. A range of jobs has been made exclusively available for those aged 18 to 24 who are facing long-term unemployment. Launched in partnership with The Prince’s Trust Kickstart program, the initiative is also boosting the decorating trade, which has suffered a skills shortage in recent years.

Climate change mitigation is an integral part of our approach to sustainable business and plays an important role in our company strategy. It brings risks, but also creates opportunities. In 2021, we announced an ambitious target of reducing carbon emissions across our full value chain by 50% by 2030, taking 2018 as our baseline.

Our Scope 3 is currently at 14.5 million tons. It includes:

  • Upstream: Category 1 – purchased goods and services (including packaging)
  • Downstream: Category 10 – processing of sold products; Category 11 – use of sold products; Category 12 – end-of-life treatment of sold products and emissions in processing/use

While we continue to make investments and launch new products, it will be several years before we really start to see the impact. So we expect to deliver the biggest benefits and improvements in the second half of the decade.

We’re encouraging all our value chain partners to transition to more sustainable products and commit to our SBTi target.

Our ambitions are aligned with the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit climate change and ensure the global temperature doesn’t rise more than 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels. Approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), this will help to drive our innovation and collaboration with our value chain partners, including customers and suppliers.

The innovation and development of our sustainable solutions plays a key role. We’re able to offer our customers – and their customers in turn – sustainable solutions that enable them to reduce their own emissions and use products with a lower carbon footprint. Developing these sustainable solutions and services involves the vast majority of our 2,699 people in RD&I teams and of our €230 million innovation investments.

In 2021, we continued to focus on product carbon footprint assessment, helping our customers to analyze and reduce their own carbon footprints. We’re encouraging all our value chain partners to transition to the use of renewable energy sources and work with us to reduce the carbon emissions from VOCs and from the application and use of our products, and to increase the use of renewable raw materials.

SBTi approval for carbon reduction target

SBTi approval for carbon reduction target illustration (illustration)

One of the year’s most significant developments in our ongoing drive to help tackle climate change was gaining official validation for our science-based sustainability targets from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

It confirmed our status as the first paints and coatings company to receive this approval and is a clear signal of our intent.

The commitment we’ve made covers the full value chain and is aligned with the Paris Agreement – which aims to limit global warming and ensure that global temperature rise doesn’t exceed 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels. This includes our own operations (Scope 1 and 2), as well as Scope 3 upstream and downstream. Scope 3 covers purchased goods and services, application and use of our products, and end-of-life.

We set the carbon reduction target for our own operations in early 2020 – we’ve targeted a 50% reduction by 2030 – and remain well on track, having reduced our footprint by 21% in 2021 (baseline 2018).

Science Based Targets logo (logo)

Read more: Responsible sourcing | Planet | Paint

“We’re proud to be the first company in our industry to receive SBTi approval for our carbon reduction target,” says AkzoNobel CEO, Thierry Vanlancker. “It’s a clear signal that we’re committed to taking stronger action to tackle climate change and will be an enormous innovation driver for what we do in our supply chain and with our customers.

“Successfully combating the impact of climate change is everyone’s responsibility. So we have to work with all our value chain partners to transition to lower carbon alternatives.”

We’re already looking for innovative ways to tackle the issue and have a clear plan to reach our Scope 1 and 2 commitment by transitioning to 100% renewable electricity and reducing our energy by 30% compared with 2018.

For Scope 3, we’re taking action by increasing our sustainable solutions, while our pioneering Paint the Future collaborative ecosystem approach continues to gather momentum. It’s focused on engaging with suppliers and customers around the world to collectively find solutions to the challenge of cutting carbon emissions by 50%.

Carbon footprint

The total amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused during a defined period of a product’s lifecycle. It is expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide equivalents CO2(e) emitted. Greenhouse gases include CO2, CO, CH4, N2O and HFCs, which have a global warming impact. We also include the impact of VOCs in our targets.


Volatile organic compounds.