Stretching boundaries in paints and coatings

Innovation is the spark that ignites our ability to turn great ideas into reality. Inspired by our company purpose – People. Planet. Paint. – the products and technologies we develop aren’t just important for our own business, they’re also essential for our customers – and the planet.

From saving energy, reflecting heat and protecting and beautifying assets, to making ships go faster, lighting brighter and air cleaner, our world class reputation for pushing boundaries can be found in all our products.

Transforming the industry

The paints and coatings industry can play a key role in decarbonizing manufacturing industries globally. As an innovation leader, we’re working on a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 for the whole value chain (baseline 2018) – a commitment that’s been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). In 2022, we reduced Scope 3 emissions 6% (baseline 2018).

The size and the scale of this challenge requires the transformation of our generation. And it’s this huge opportunity that’s winning over our innovation eco­system – of colleagues and partners – as they understand the possibilities and grasp the momentum gathering among suppliers and customers in the value chain. What’s required in particular is a more collaborative approach, based on the realization that each contributor will need to innovate changes which will lead to carbon reduction at several different points in the chain.

“Collaborative innovation will play a major role in helping us to meet our own sustainability ambitions – and those of our cus-tomers.”

Roger JakemanChief Technology Officer
Jan-Piet van Kesteren, Director of Decorative Paints Europe, Middle East and Africa (photo)

And we’re confident we can meet and solve this innovation challenge of the coming decade, because we’ve had a head start:

  • A vision, based on our company purpose People. Planet. Paint. to transform the market by bringing sustainable value to our customers through collaborative innovation
  • An innovation network underpinned by different initiatives and actions:
    • Together with nine partners, we were involved in ENVISION – a unique collaboration which set out to devise a way of invisibly harvesting energy from surfaces. We supported the project with an innovative coatings solution that allows heat to be captured by colors that traditionally reflect near-infrared light, making buildings energy positive – and existing houses more sustainable
    • In 2021/2022, we held two Paint the Future start-up challenges – a regional event in India and a global edition. We’re currently exploring the value proposition of the three global winners (SolCold, Aerones and SprayVision), along with the two regional winners (HyperReality Technologies and Fluid AI). We also launched our Collaborative Sustainability Challenge, where we invited partners from across the value chain to develop a shared approach to tackling carbon reduction
    • We continue to invest in new equipment and facilities. In 2022, we opened a new €11 million global center at our Slough site in the UK
  • A track record of bringing commercial innovations to market
    • In 2022, we extended our wall paint platform, Kids Paint in China, by introducing new products with anti-viral and anti-bacterial functionality
    • We launched a mosquito-repellent coating in Brazil which helps combat disease. Its repellent action is specifically designed to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito (see the Biting back to combat disease case study)
    • We developed cutting-edge 3D color technology that offers a super-realistic color and gloss experience to help make paint selection as smooth as possible for both architects and home decorators

The paints and coatings industry has entered a very exciting period of transformation. Because we act on this responsibly, we’ll continue to attract the best problem solvers and support them with the innovation culture that’s required to succeed.

Innovation in numbers

~3,000 R&D professionals worldwide

€1.25 bln spent on R&D (last five years)

2,825 patents/patent applications

70 laboratories worldwide


Research and development.