Beckers Group launches sustainability drive


Lindéngruppen company Beckers Group has published its first sustainability report and adopted targets aimed at making it the world’s most sustainable industrial coatings supplier.

A rainwater harvest project at Beckers' site in Goa, India, cut water consumption by 23% there in 2012 from the previous year.

Beckers coatings are used widely across many industries and the company is bidding to become the greenest supplier and partner globally.

Fresh from issuing its inaugural sustainability report, Beckers is focusing on driving sustainable innovation at its research and development laboratories worldwide.

Phasing out harmful substances

The Berlin-based group has already notched major progress towards environmental sustainability, developing alternatives and replacements to harmful substances including cadmium, lead pigment, chromates, zinc phosphate, tin and phthalates.

Beckers also recently introduced a closed paint mixing system and a low-solvent "waterborne" paint cycle. Seventeen percent of the company's investments were sustainability-oriented in 2012.

More work to be done

Beckers Chief Operating Officer Karsten Eller stressed that the company was committed to further improvements.

"We already offer formulations 
that are free of many chemicals of environmental concern. We meet all REACH legislation in Europe, the most stringent regulations in the world, but there is still much more work to be done," he said.

"We purchase over 2,000 ingredients to manufacture our coatings and many more to ensure smooth operations. We have a long path ahead to reach the goal of developing completely sustainable coatings. But by taking strategic, incremental steps in the right direction we believe we can achieve success."

New targets adopted

The Beckers 2012 sustainability report commits the company to reducing use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in its products by 5 percent, to cut waste by 10 percent and to reduce energy use by 5 percent.

Achievements in 2012 included an 11 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from business travel.

In 2012 the company also completed implementation of a code of conduct throughout the organisation, which has 1,700 employees and 19 sites in 15 countries.

‍The innovative closed design of Beckers' BeckryMix mixing station in Montbrison, France, virtually eliminates excess mixed paint and brings a host of environmental benefits.

Sustainability an imperative

Lindéngruppen Chairman Jenny Lindén Urnes praised Beckers' green commitments, saying excellence in sustainable stewardship was a strategic imperative.

"I think our biggest challenge is to become much more sustainable. It's very important that all our businesses work actively to reduce their environmental footprint and embrace a sustainable approach in all their business dealings," she said.

The Beckers sustainability report was prepared in compliance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an independent international body that lays down standards for sustainability reporting.

The report measured Beckers' performance against more than 40 GRI benchmarks, ranging from governance and employee well-being to fossil fuel use and emissions.

The Beckers Group 2012 Sustainability Report is available here