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Sustainability and climate change are topics that continue to dominate conversations across almost every industry. Businesses, governments and leading figures are under intense pressure to deliver products and services that reduce environmental impact and support the journey to a carbon-neutral future.

The yacht industry is rightly playing its part. Protecting the marine ecosystem is key to ensuring the sector’s
longevity. A healthy yacht industry is entirely dependent on healthy oceans.

Launched in 2019, Awlgrip HDT has significantly lower VOC content than typical high-gloss coatings.

Launched in 2019, Awlgrip HDT has significantly lower VOC content than typical high-gloss coatings.

Sustainability has been at the forefront of everything we do at AkzoNobel for more than a century. Our yacht brands have a 140-year track record of meeting key sustainability credentials, with our team of experts creating innovative products that deliver sustainable solutions for customers, the wider industry and the planet. AkzoNobel has set some of the industry’s most ambitious sustainability goals, and we deploy numerous strategies to achieve them.

Our corporate program called “People. Planet. Paint.” drives everything we do, ensuring that sustainability and the environment are at the front of our minds when developing new products. Our commitment is reflected in our sustainability credentials, and we are consistently recognized through a number of ratings that our shareholders use to assess environmental, social and governance-related performance.

In October 2020, EcoVadis — a corporate social responsibility platform — awarded AkzoNobel with a platinum rating, placing us at the top 1 percent of more than 65,000 rated companies, and cementing our position as a global sustainability leader in the paints and coatings industry. Also in 2020, we reached No. 1 on Sustainalytics’ ESG Risk Ratings for the paintings and coatings industry. We have also received the highest possible MSCI rating (AAA) from the global investment firm for the past six years, and we were part of Clean 2000, a ranking of the companies with the highest revenue from sustainable solutions.

Our technology is also geared toward sustainability. We meet our customers’ needs by drawing on our vast coatings innovation experience, playing a pivotal role in driving forward industrywide change. We’re able to develop ecologically minded coatings that not only encourage adoption for DIY and professional applications alike, but that also offer an improved performance at the same standard of traditional products, without compromise.

Within the sustainability conversation, the subject of volatile organic compounds is a specific area of increased attention for the industry. In high concentrations, VOCs can cause adverse health effects and contribute to climate change. Legislation across the globe is getting much tighter in this area. Our Awlgrip and Interlux brands include a number of low-VOC products, while AkzoNobel’s development program is focused on providing a full range of even lower-VOC products in the future.

This year, Interlux set a new sustainability standard with its Micron Navigator, a water-based, copper-free product designed to meet future regulations without compromising performance. Micron Navigator’s water-based makeup is very low VOC, and is easy to clean after application, therefore allowing use by a wider customer base. The copper-free antifouling properties mean that it can also be used as one antifouling solution from bow to stern (including aluminum and underwater metals) on all boats, in all waters. It is available in a range of bright colors, including bright white.

AkzoNobel’s low-VOC, water-based Navigator is formulated to meet stricter future regulations.  

AkzoNobel’s low-VOC, water-based Navigator is formulated to meet stricter future regulations.  

Meanwhile, the Awlgrip HDT topcoat created a new standard in appearance and durability when it launched in 2019. Its formulation contains significantly lower VOC content than typical high-gloss coatings, while its mirrorlike finish and its 24-month, best-in-class warranty provide a combination of great appearance and durability.

And Awlgrip Quick Build Sealer and Surfacing Primer products — designed for boatbuilders, dealers and small-part applications — help customers save time, resources and budgets by speeding up applications.

We’ve also been working on a new product that we believe will be an industry game-changer. Launching soon, Micron Extra SPC is a true self-polishing antifouling that will be available to DIY customers. It will enable boaters in all waters to benefit from the class-leading resin technology previously reserved for professionals.

As industry leaders, we believe it’s important not only to lessen the ecological footprint of our business, but also to drive widespread change across the industry by drawing on the vast amounts of knowledge, resources and research we’ve accumulated during the past 140 years. That’s why, with Interlux and Awlgrip, we are continually driving research, development and innovation across 13 global R&D sites, led by 350 colleagues.

We strive to be the sustainability leader in the paints and coatings industry. We are empowering people, reducing our impact on the planet and consistently innovating to bring the most sustainable coatings solutions to our customers. n

Matthew Anzardo is global yacht segment manager at AkzoNobel Yacht Coatings.

This article was originally published in the July 2021 issue.

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