Wising up with ColArt


ColArt has unveiled an ambitious sustainability programme that will see the world’s largest manufacturer of artists’ materials make sustainable development the core pillar of its business strategy.

ColArt's Griffin Gallery promotes the work of upcoming artists.

Known among art professionals for its high-permanence products designed to last for generations, the Lindéngruppen-owned company wants to give the business the same durability by making sustainability its cornerstone.

Based in London, ColArt owns world-famous artists' brands including Winsor & Newton, Letraset, Reeves and Lefranc & Bourgeois.

Get Wiser – in eight steps

The strategy is called Get Wiser and takes its name from eight focus areas: governance, energy use, toxic footprint, waste, innovation, social responsibility, economic and reach.

ColArt chief executive officer Thomas Bräutigam said: "We want to make sustainability part of our daily business decisions. Sustainability is truly fundamental to every part of the business in terms of our growth, our costs, the service we provide and the satisfaction of our employees."

He added: "For us, sustainability impacts on a lot of different areas. It's not just about prioritising the environment. It's also about producing the finest quality, engaging with the consumer, being a partner for artists and making sure we are economically successful so we ensure our long-term future."

Environmental leadership

A focus on green initiatives has seen ColArt install state-of-the-art equipment at its manufacturing plants in Le Mans in France and Tianjin in China to minimise environmental impacts.

ColArt's corporate headquarters, an energy-smart building in London's Notting Hill district, recycles rainwater as part of an extensive reuse, recycle and redesign programme.

The company has also taken an industry lead on developing alternatives to hazardous paint ingredients, in particular heavy metals – a component of high-quality paint.


Eco-friendly alternatives

"We have removed cadmium colours from our student ranges and our Liquitex brand recently introduced the world's first professional quality water-based spray paint that is more artist-friendly as it has low odour and can be used indoors," Bräutigam said.

ColArt is actively engaged in stakeholder outreach and community projects. The ground floor of its head office hosts the Griffin Gallery in London, which is open daily to artists and members of the public as an artistic space and forum for dialogue and ideas.

The company also runs a global artists' outreach programme called The Fine Art Collective and actively solicits feedback and interaction from consumers and other stakeholders.