The agreement concerns widely used oxygenated solvents, specifically bio-Butanol and bio-Acetone and their derivatives. Through the collaboration renewable solvent volumes of up to 10 kiloton per year are targeted by 2017.

President of Solvay Coatis GBU, Vincent Kamel, said: “This partnership demonstrates that sustainable development is not only an ethical attitude from companies but also a means of doing business and creating value for our customers and our businesses”.

AkzoNobel global purchasing director for solvents, Keith Gater, said: “We are looking for innovation in our supply chain and this partnership provides exactly that. The collaboration supports our desire to develop both new solvents as well as improving the sustainability profile of existing ones.”

Outlined to take over two years, the collaborative project will see the first formulations tested in Brazil and then extended globally.

Speaking to edie, Akzonobel’s director future-proof supply chains, Peter Nieuwenhuizen, said collaborating with suppliers was vital to finding more ways to engage the company’s employees and the communities it operates in.

“Becoming radically resource efficient is a huge challenge and we can’t do it alone. Only by partnering with our customers and suppliers will we be able to realise our ambitions. This is particularly true for biobased chemicals, which requires the value chain to work together to deliver a competitive product,” he added.

AkzoNobel’s objective is to create a sustainable supplier base that is resource efficient and supports the company’s license to operate. Moving towards all its suppliers signing the AkzoNobel Code of Conduct, it currently has 96% of product related suppliers signed up, while 80% of non-product related suppliers also agreeing to the code.

Nieuwenhuizen stressed that innovation was a key element to establishing effective partnerships, which the company backed up in 2012 by investing €374m in research and development.

“We have nearly 4,000 active scientists and technologists in AkzoNobel who perform leading-edge research, product & process development and provide technical support for our customers and manufacturing operations. But we know there are times when we need to work with others to find those breakthrough innovative solutions. That is why open innovation is a big part of our innovation strategy,” he added.

Read more on Akzonobel sustainability strategy here

Leigh Stringer

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