Carbon emissions in our full value chain

Our efforts to mitigate climate change stretch beyond our own operations as we work towards reducing our carbon emissions by 50% throughout our whole value chain by 2030.

As most of our comes from our Scope 3 emissions, our ambitions are a key driver for innovation and collaboration with our value chain partners, especially suppliers and customers. In setting these ambitious targets, we’ve taken responsibility for the decarbonization of our operations and made the commitment to help our value chain partners decarbonize theirs. This is also the most challenging target, as it sits outside the scope of our direct control.

We encourage our value chain partners to join us in setting ambitious, science-based emission reduction targets. It’s only through shared responsibility that we can drive significant value chain decarbonization.

Greg Poux-Guillaume, CEO

Carbon footprint in our value chain

Our 50% (absolute) reduction ambition encompasses the categories below, covering around 95% of our total Scope 3 emissions:

  • Upstream: Category 1 (purchased goods and services, including packaging)
  • Downstream: Category 10 and 11 (application and use of sold products), emissions and Category 12 (end-of-life)

Our 2022 Scope 3 carbon footprint was 13.2 million tons, 9% down from 2021, driven by lower volumes and improvements in our portfolio such as more water-based solutions.

We’re focused on developing increasingly more sustainable solutions and are integrating carbon reduction into our internal plans and tooling. As the development of new solutions, investments in the value chain and market acceptance takes time, we expect the majority of the reduction of our Scope 3 carbon footprint towards the latter part of the decade.

Emission reduction levers

During 2022, we further analyzed the breakdown of our Scope 3 emissions. We identified key levers for reduction which can be grouped into four categories: Energy transition; Application efficiency; Solvent emissions; Circular solutions.

We’re actively running reduction projects throughout the company in these key focus areas, and have set up a governance structure to ensure they’re embedded in future plans, such as our pipeline and supplier engagements.

Upstream emission management

Throughout the year, we engaged with our top 200 suppliers, for example during a live webcast, to share our ambitions and encourage these key stakeholders to do the same. Key impact areas for our suppliers are: increasing process efficiency; moving to renewable energy; and reducing the use of fossil materials and fuels. We’re now working together on joint programs with key suppliers to achieve further carbon reduction in our full value chain.

In 2022, Together for Sustainability (TfS) launched the Product Carbon Footprint Guideline to ensure a consistent measure of carbon emissions along the value chain in the chemical industry and beyond. We fully support this new global guidance and encourage our suppliers to join us in using it as a way of identifying collaborative opportunities. This is in line with our ambition to move gradually from using industry averages to supplier-specific data. For more information about upstream emission management, see Sustainability and risk management with our suppliers.

Downstream emission management

We’re directly engaging with our key customers to align on potential carbon reduction in their processes, for example during coating application. An example is approaching customers using gas to cure our coatings and offering them products that require lower curing temperatures – which can help lower their and save energy costs. With this approach, we aim to become the partner of choice for carbon conscious customers.

There’s an increased demand for coatings that are less carbon intensive. In our Automotive and Specialty Coatings business, demand for ambient and UV curing coatings is rising. We’re looking to collaborate with customers and advise them on carbon reduction strategies for their coating processes.

The innovation and development of our sustainable solutions not only plays a key role, but involves the majority of our approxi­mately 3,000 people in RD&I teams and our €258 million innovation investments.

We saw a sharp increase in customer needs regarding product carbon footprint in 2022, especially in the transportation, energy and buildings segments. We’re now able to provide carbon footprint data where needed and our internal teams are trained to use it in customer collaborations.

Across our value chain

During 2022, we continued to integrate sustainability and innovation into our daily business to work towards our ambitions. For example, through our Paint the Future platform, we actively promote open innovation in areas contributing to carbon reduction (see Tackling climate change together, below).

Tackling climate change together

Guy painting wall in Port Moresby, Papua Guinea. Back View (photo)

A boundary-pushing approach to hacking carbon reduction challenges has been established by AkzoNobel and partners from across the extended value chain (including customers, suppliers, NGOs and academia).

The global Collaborative Sustainability Challenge, a new initiative of Paint the Future, kicked off in May 2022. It brought together senior and next generation leaders to begin hacking four key areas: energy transition, process efficiency, solvent emissions and circular solutions. In total, 28 partners signed up to continue working on possible solutions to help limit climate change.

Six months later, November’s Discovery Day brought everybody back together to present what they had learned and to agree on the five projects that will continue. AkzoNobel is involved in the following three and will help:

  • The coatings industry take sustainability into account by identifying potential value proposition-based metrics that could be used to measure sustainability of products and promote sustainable choices
  • Raw material suppliers realize disruptive new process technologies that enable sustainable product solutions by proposing working models that share risks along the value chain
  • The marine coatings industry provide products to the market with minimal solvent applications by campaigning for solutions for a faster decarbonization of the value chain

“Working together on this is vital,” says Wijnand Bruinsma, Director of Sustainability. “We know the only way to achieve our target of halving our carbon emissions across the full value chain by 2030 is to collaborate with our partners – and we’re thrilled to have generated so much momentum.”

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.


Research and development.

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.