The Switcher offer to accelerate the ecological transition in the coatings industry

⭐ Winners⭐, SME, France

A leading project by Ecoat.

Ecoat, a mission-driven company committed to ecological transformation in the coatings industry, has introduced the “Switcher” service. This initiative aims to assist paint manufacturers in expediting their eco-friendly transition by offering life cycle assessment studies, ecological design approaches, Environmental Footprint Declaration (EPD) support, and marketing guidance.  

Responding to global challenges with bio-based and water-based binders   

The world is experiencing rapid and significant changes, such as wildfires, heatwaves, and rising sea levels. Fortunately, there is a growing global awareness of sustainability. Consumers and manufacturers are increasingly seeking products with a reduced environmental footprint, biobased alternatives, and energy-saving features. However, the coatings industry, especially wood and metal coatings, still heavily relies on solvent-based products. In 2020, only about 5% of sales value and 1% by volume of the paint and coatings market were biobased. Ecoat, in contrast, is dedicated to sustainable development and has introduced a range of bio-based and water-based binders as alternatives to petro-based and solvent-based binders. These products cater to various consumer segments, emphasising attributes like bio-based content, local sourcing, low VOC, health, durability, and fair-trade practices.  

Despite the potential benefits, sustainable paints remained niche due to unstructured marketing and technical challenges like drying time and color stability. Moreover, they often carried premium price tags.  

With climate change becoming a pressing issue, regulations are being implemented worldwide. For instance, the European Green Deal mandates European companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Companies are also increasingly required to report their GHG emissions, particularly those related to raw materials sourcing.  

Supporting paint manufacturers in their sustainability journey   

Ecoat seeks to address the growing interest in biobased systems while addressing critical questions: Are biobased systems always sustainable? What are the key criteria for integrating ecological design into product development? How should sustainable paints be promoted and certified? To what extent can carbon footprints and GHG emissions be reduced? Ecoat aims to support paint manufacturers in their sustainability journey by integrating Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) during R&D and paint formulation, enabling early evaluation of formulation sustainability and comparison with existing options.  

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a comprehensive method for assessing the environmental impacts of products throughout their lifecycle. It involves compiling data on resource use, human health, and ecological consequences, and interpreting results to identify ways to reduce environmental impact. Ecoat acquired the SimaPro software and invested in expertise to conduct LCA studies. They actively participate in sustainability working groups to refine best practices.  

Proof of Concept Through Ecoat Products  

Ecoat’s journey into LCA has revealed insights into carbon footprint reduction. For example, it was observed that higher biobased content doesn’t always result in a lower carbon footprint, as demonstrated by comparisons between two Ecoat products. These findings highlight the importance of considering the entire supply chain and integrated LCA tools. Comparative LCA studies have shown the significantly lower carbon footprint of Ecoat’s binders compared to conventional technologies.  

Ecoat now offers the “Switcher” service, extending beyond product supply. It includes raising awareness, assessing carbon footprints, collaborating with raw materials suppliers, offering ecological paint formulations, and using LCA as a decision-making and communication tool. Ecoat has a dedicated team to support customers in their ecological transition.  

Accelerating the transition  

Ecoat is dedicated to driving the coatings industry towards lower-impact products. The “Switcher” service, which integrates LCA and ecological design into the formulation process, aims to accelerate this transition and involve small to medium-sized companies. By actively participating in sustainability initiatives and providing reliable data, Ecoat contributes to the industry’s transparency and accuracy in measuring environmental impacts.