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COMPANY OF GOOD

AkzoNobel celebrates the power of colour - in useful fashion

It is innovating new uses for paint beyond the decorative or protective, and as a company, it gives back to the communities in which it operates

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About 400 AkzoNobel employees, their family members and business partners planted 51 trees and took part in other eco-focused activities in Kampung Kampus, a 26,000 sq m, sustainability-focused campus that promotes eco-education.

Singapore

AKZONOBEL, being in the paint and coating sector, wants to brighten homes and make cities more vibrant with the power of colour.

Headquartered in the Netherlands, it operates in more than 80 countries with its portfolio of brands that include Dulux and Sikkens.

The company strives to give back to the community in which it operates, and in Singapore, it has livened up community spaces through its various projects.

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Last year, it partnered South West Community Development Council to brighten up key communal spaces in Bukit Batok, as well as student care centres catering to students aged seven to 14.

The firm has also had a hand in safeguarding Singapore's heritage. In 2016, it restored Burkill Hall and the Bandstand in Botanic Gardens, Singapore's first Unesco heritage site.

Angela Tan, director of communications and investor relations at AkzoNobel South-east Asia, South Asia, Middle East and Australasia, said: "At AkzoNobel, we are dedicated to creating a colourful, protected world; sustainability is at the heart of our strategy and all that we do."

This is why the firm's scientists are exploring the potential of paints that extend their functionality beyond being decorative and protective. For example, its Dulux PureAir is formulated with air-cleansing properties and neutralises formaldehyde; its Dulux Light & Space Lumitec Technology reflects up to twice as much light, which reduces energy costs.

Li Ziqi, design director of Re-Source Design, said: "The common woe of home owners and interior designers in Singapore is the lack of space and natural light in closely-built, high-rise housing estates.

"But I always tell my clients you don't really need a big house to create that sense of space and luxury for your home. A clever choice of colour scheme and high-tech paint such as Dulux Light & Space means you can rely less on artificial lights during the day and/or have the option to enjoy a brightly-lit room using a lower wattage in lights."

AkzoNobel, in recognising energy as one of its single biggest expenditures, invests in energy-efficient and renewable energy with partners and, sometimes, its competitors. For example, in Netherlands, it led a consortium which included Google, Philips and DSM to purchase green electricity from two wind parks, which together will have a total capacity of 140MW, equivalent to the energy needs of 140,000 households.

Ms Tan said: "The best CSR (corporate social responsibility) practices are those that are integrated into the business strategy, by bringing more value to our customers, employees, investors and society in general."

Through such practices, AzkoNobel is able to better position itself for growth while increasing profitability.

"In fact, AzkoNobel's eco-premium solutions contributed to 20 per cent of total revenue."

Ms Tan added that a positive and socially conscious working environment makes employees happy and therefore more positive.

Jeremy Tan, senior legal counsel for South Asia at AkzoNobel, said: "We believe that the success of our business is synonymous with the well-being of our people and community. As employees, we're encouraged to kickstart CSR projects to give back to the very communities we serve. For many of us, these are also opportunities for personal development and team-bonding."

Ms Tan, agreeing, added: "I was involved in the six-month programme we had with Ang Mo Kio-Thye Hua Kwan Community Hospital. We had flown in colour experts from Global Aesthetic Centre based in Amsterdam to come up with colour scheme that will enhance the ambience ... I realised that colour can indeed brighten and affect a person's mood ... The exercise area was painted yellow, as we believe that yellow energises the environment. The bedrooms were in celery green to create a soothing ambience for rest.

"More than 170 staff turned up to help. It was the day when I felt really proud to work in AkzoNobel."

  • This article is part of a series highlighting Champions of Good who mean business when it comes to corporate giving. Find out at www.companyofgood.sg if you have what it takes to be a Champion of Good.