A Circular Approach to a Sustainable Future

Posted by Performance Coatings Team on 01/20/2022

Sustainability gets a lot of attention these days, but it’s been a focus at Lubrizol for decades as we have a long history of developing product solutions that deliver environmental and societal benefits. We see chemistry as an enabler for our customers’ products that contribute to a cleaner and healthier planet.

As a member of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), Lubrizol subscribes to the principles of Responsible Care® and maintaining the health and safety of our employees, customers and neighbors.

Sustainability is a vital driver to our customers and the coatings industry. Lubrizol Performance Coatings is committed to responsible design that is mindful of our manufacturing impact (footprint) and maximizes our positive downstream impact (handprint) through our innovative technologies.

A Focus on Circularity

To understand our impact, we consider the entire lifecycle, or circularity, of our products, from raw materials, manufacturing and supply chain to in-use impacts all the way through the end of the product’s life. Improving circularity means we’re focused on how to maximize a product's environmental and societal benefits at each stage (cradle-to-grave):

 

 

Circularity means making the most of scarce resources and keeping the materials we create in use for as long as possible. Once maximum value has been obtained from the materials, then the emphasis shifts to recovering and recycling to be used again.

Lubrizol is further upstream in the supply chain—we make raw materials that then go into products such as ink, coating, or composite formulations that then go to end-use products. We create raw materials with the intention of adding value by making them integral to producing high-quality formulations and products that will have extended use. The objective is to maximize overall product handprint—or positive impact—to enable our customers to meet their sustainability goals. At a high level, maximizing our positive impact is intrinsic to circularity.

We work closely with our customers to provide them with solutions that meet and exceed their needs and enable them to achieve their sustainability goals without sacrificing performance or other benchmark requirements.

Sustainability is Built In

Sustainability is not something new at Lubrizol, it is integral to all of our processes. Ethical chemistry is part of our process, looking at the materials that we use and where we can substitute to minimize less desirable chemistry. That has always been part of the way that Lubrizol thinks and the way that products are developed.

Bio-based materials are an important component of circularity. The goal at Lubrizol Performance Coatings is to replace fossil-based resources with renewable bio-based raw materials wherever possible. Bio-based materials in the coatings sector are not new and Lubrizol has a solid bio-based portfolio already. In particular, we offer many bio-based waxes and bio-derived backbone components in dispersants and polymers, and wax alternatives. Our R&D teams continue to explore new sources of bio-based materials to supplement existing products, and to provide alternatives to synthetic materials in more market spaces than ever before.

Water is another important part of circularity, which is why we are committed to reducing the amount of water used in production and transportation. Less water also reduces transportation costs and storage costs because packages are smaller. High solids formulations enable greater formulation flexibility and help reduce downstream emissions.

Digital printing is another area where circularity can be seen. As demand for personalization increases, so does the growth in digital printing applications. Lubrizol technologies for digital inks help enable greater design flexibility, cost-effective short print runs and waste reduction through more efficient ink management. Our 100% active dispersants eliminate solvents for reduced shipping and packaging costs while enabling low-energy curing.

United Nations SDGs

Further proof of our commitment to sustainability is how we follow the United Nations SDGs (sustainable development goals) during product development. Our strategic roadmap and performance metrics reflect this commitment to the following SDGs with specific goals and metrics that drive initiatives that create a positive impact. These include:

  • #3 Good Health & Well-Being
  • #4 Quality Education
  • #12 Responsible Consumption & Production
  • #13 Climate Action
  • #14 Life Below Water
  • #15 Life on Land
  • #16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

 

 

While sustainability has been a part of product development in different ways for many years, we are looking now to quantify those efforts. This focus includes looking at supply chains, database content, lifecycle assessments, etc., for our products and raw materials used to created them in order to establish a baseline. Establishing a baseline gives way to quantifying growth.

At Lubrizol, our innovation process will continue to focus on delivering performance, productivity and sustainability benefits to customers. Future blog articles will dive deeper into how we employ the concept circularity. We will share examples highlighting innovations that can deliver benefits in various categories cradle-to-grave and invite customers to collaborate with us on achieving their opportunistic challengers.

Contact us to learn more.

Performance Coatings Team

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