EMBRACING SUSTAINABILITY: FROM BUZZWORD TO TRANSFORMATIVE BUSINESS MODEL
31 JANUARY 2024 – Sustainability used to be a buzzword that appeared in annual reports and gave shareholders the feeling that the company in which they owned a stake was doing something positive. Sustainability didn’t always align with company strategy but rather sat somewhere on the side lines, looking in. Today, those vagaries are long gone. In their place is a robust, transformative business model that resides at the core of operations, aligns fully with strategy and ensures marketplace differentiation. If there was any doubt that shift had taken place, the tale of the tape clearly tells the story.
A 2022 survey revealed 59 percent of C-level executives from major companies worldwide said their firms were incorporating more sustainable materials, and a further 59 percent said their companies were increasing their energy efficiency. A McKinsey study showed that brands with more sustainable products in their portfolio enjoy more loyalty from customers than brands with fewer sustainable offerings. PwC found in its 2022 study that 77% of people are influenced by a company’s environmental record when deciding from whom to buy, and a further study found products marketed as sustainable grew 2.7 times faster than those that were not.
It is unsurprising, therefore, that in 2022, 96% of the world’s leading companies reported on sustainability, including Axalta.
Fabien Boschetti, Sales Vice President for Axalta Refinish in Europe, Middle East and Africa, says, “There is compelling proof, if that’s needed, that sustainability is no longer some amorphous, fluffy buzzword that is sprinkled in presentations just to impress. It is a tangible, meaningful and frankly vital element to a successful business strategy. At Axalta, as a global paint manufacturer, we have always taken our commitment to sustainability seriously. We were recently named one of America’s Greenest Companies 2024 by Newsweek. But our ongoing commitment doesn’t stop with sustainable product and technology innovation, responsible manufacturing and ethical business practices. We also, and perhaps most importantly, look at what we in turn can do to help our customers achieve their sustainability goals.”
Commitment to a sustainable future
Axalta Refinish has a large portfolio of eco-conscious and sustainable products, tools and resources that fall under its banner of BELEAF, which aims to empower its customers' businesses for a better tomorrow.
“We are steadfast in our activities to reduce our own impact on the environment, including a commitment to becoming Carbon Neutral by 2040. Being smarter about who we are and what we create is embedded in everything we do - 80% of new technology and innovation will have a sustainability benefit by 2030, such as our patented Fast Cure Low Energy technology, which uses both temperature and ambient humidity to accelerate the drying process. What is key, is that this enables customer confidence that a partnership with Axalta Refinish is the right and sustainable choice,” Boschetti says.
Paving the way
Bodyshops across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region are facing several increasingly complex challenges: improving their cost efficiencies, reducing their environmental impact and improving their resource utilisation.
“Axalta Refinish believes that sustainability is not just a goal but a responsibility. We see our responsibility towards our customers to deliver solutions for these complex challenges through the vast portfolio of sustainable options under the BELEAF umbrella,” says Boschetti.
Axalta has developed high performance products with sustainability at their core. Axalta’s Fast Cure Low Energy System, delivered through the three premium brands of Cromax, Spies Hecker and Standox, reduces emissions, energy consumption – electricity by up to 49% and gas by up to 57% - and material use by up to 25%. Its patented technology uses temperature and ambient humidity to accelerate the drying process. It cuts process times in half without compromising on quality.
The company has invested in cutting-edge tools and sustainable practices while seeking ways to improve its own environmental performance.
Boschetti says, “From tool optimisation to product design, innovation is our partner in the pursuit of sustainability. Axalta Irus is an exceptional example. It is the best-in-class, end-to-end, cloud-based digital colour management process we launched in 2023. It is as easy as Scan, Match, Mix.”
Customer excellence is at the root of Axalta Refinish’s business.
“With industry leading consultancy and training offerings, such as the newly launched Axalta Academy and our successful Axalta Drivus, we provide customers with resources to optimise processes and increase efficiency every day,” says Boschetti.
Take the wins
“Sustainability is no longer a tick-box exercise. It requires commitment, time and dedication, as Axalta has done with its BELEAF portfolio. And while it is often easy to get distracted by all the negatives, there are positive outcomes from the global initiatives that have been put in place over the last few years. For example, there are over 20 cities in the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, who are aiming to minimise greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. So, even if, as a company, you are making only small steps towards sustainability, that is a positive shift towards a better and more sustainable business model,” Boschetti concludes.