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Leading coatings supplier Beckers Group is relaunching an improved version of its Beckers Sustainability Index. With it, Beckers wants to set a new sustainability standard that can help transform the coatings industry
Beckers Group’s ambition with the relaunch of Beckers Sustainability Index (BSI) is to raise the bar when it comes to sustainability in the coatings industry. Up until now, indexes used in the industry have either concentrated on specifics, such as raw materials and chemicals, or have been designed for use in other industries, such as construction.
In the BSI, Beckers Group has incorporated current indexes into a tailor-made index that will help the industry develop more sustainable products specifically for the coatings industry.
“We asked ourselves how we could take a more holistic approach to the sustainability of coil coatings that goes beyond carbon footprint. Our answer, Beckers Sustainability Index, uses existing indexes, but is designed specifically for coatings, including how they add value when applied to a surface,” says Gavin Bown, CTO at Beckers Group.
A sustainability tool for all
With the Beckers Sustainability Index (BSI), Beckers is now hoping to bring more transparency and comprehensiveness to the coating industry’s sustainability efforts. The index, which recently underwent a thorough audit and validation process by a third-party auditing firm and has been in use at Beckers Group since 2016, helps stakeholders keep track of coating products’ sustainability performance.
BSI was originally developed by Beckers Group to measure the progress towards its own ambitious sustainability targets, and to address questions from customers about various sustainability aspects of its products. With access to the BSI, stakeholders can assess every single product’s performance in terms of sustainability, including life cycle analysis and carbon footprint, down to formulation level.
“Beckers Sustainability Index can be used as a tool to accelerate the development of more sustainable coatings. The index has been, and still is, very important for us to realise our own sustainability ambitions and to further develop our product portfolio. In the future, we hope that it will also help others to take significant steps towards a more sustainable future”, continues Gavin Bown.
The idea behind BSI is to transparently map and measure the sustainability of coating systems by assessing the materials and processes used to make the coatings and, just as important, how they add sustainable value to the surface where it is applied.
How each product performs in these two sustainability dimensions – the material and the functional – is important when rating its overall sustainability. The coatings receive a score for both dimensions and the combined score then determines what specific sustainability category it falls into – Achiever, Improver, Qualifier or Concern.
The highest sustainability performance category is Achiever, where the product exhibits a broad range of functional sustainability attributes, while also making a minimal impact on the environment and climate. On the other side of the spectrum is the Concern category. These products are harmful and can have a significant negative impact on our planet. The Qualifier and Improver categories are for coatings that currently only live up to either the material or functional sustainability ambitions.
“The categories are a clear way of illustrating the impact different products have on people, the environment, and the climate. The ambition for everyone in the industry should be to encourage achievers, develop qualifiers and improvers, and phase out concerns,” says Christophe Perin, VP Global Marketing.
Beckers Group has made a commitment to reach a minimum of 50% of the products in the Achiever class and to have no products in the Concern class by 2030. All newly developed products are also to be rated as Achievers by then.
As of 2022, 34% of the products in the group’s current portfolio were categorised as Achiever by the index, while 7% was labeled Concern.
Reviewed, validated and verified
The methodology used for the index is based on a scientifically derived coating formulation and performance data. This ensures that the BSI analysis is thorough and provides results that are consistent, accurate and reproducible. All formulation data used in BSI is also determined according to well-established, international, or national scientific standards and controlled methodologies that have been used by Beckers for many years as part of its organisation, management and communication of product characteristics.
The Beckers Sustainability Index has also recently been verified by the international auditing firm Ernst & Young. The decision to initiate a third-party review and evaluate the methodology was made in order to increase transparency and credibility.
“We learned our lesson after the initial launch of BSI. Its potential was obvious right away, but we could also understand the skepticism and reluctance to use a Beckers Group labeled index. Now, after seven years in use at Beckers Group and with third-party verification, we have full transparency around the Beckers Sustainability Index’ methodology. We are now confident that the index will be beneficial for the whole industry” says Nicklas Augustsson, Global Sustainability Director at Beckers.