AkzoNobel highlights sustainability agenda to support UAE's green vision

AkzoNobel highlights sustainability agenda to support UAEs green vision

Dubai - In an interview, Peter Tomlinson, Managing Director of AkzoNobel Middle East & Performance Coatings Africa highlights the company's focus on promoting sustainable development and its innovative approaches in this regard.



AkzoNobel is focusing on driving the sustainable development agenda as part of an organization-wide commitment that complements the UAE's Vision 2021 and green development agenda.
At the heart of this approach is AkzoNobel's 'Human Cities' initiative, which is led by sustainability as a key pillar. Human Cities is derived from the company's commitment to support urban environments to cope with the common set of challenges such as demands from a fast-growing population for energy and water, and concerns about climate change.
AkzoNobel can play a major role in this because over 60 per cent of its products are used in buildings, infrastructure and transport. Through its Human Cities manifesto, AkzoNobel aims to create more 'human' urban environments by making cities come alive, enabling people to make more of an emotional connection with where they live.
AkzoNobel highlighted this recently in the UAE by ushering in new-look surroundings for students at the Secondary Section of The National Charity School in Garhoud, Dubai, as part of AkzoNobel's first 'Human Cities' project in the region.
The company - a leading global supplier of paints and coatings and owner of the Dulux brand - chose to renovate the school as part of its Human Cities initiative, which is focused on improving, energizing and regenerating urban communities across the world. 
In an interview, Peter Tomlinson, Managing Director of AkzoNobel Middle East & Performance Coatings Africa highlights the company's focus on promoting sustainable development and its innovative approaches in this regard. Excerpts:
What are the main environmental and social trends that have driven change in AkzoNobel in the regional market sector over the last five years?
The Middle East is a fast growing region that not only offers opportunities for business but also ensures that companies adopt and follow a strict sustainability agenda.  For example, the UAE Government wants to ensure sustainable development while preserving the environment, and to achieve a perfect balance between economic and social development.  To do that, the UAE vision 2021 National Agenda focuses on improving the quality of air, preserving water resources, increasing the contribution of clean energy and implementing green growth plans.
In the last five years, to support this 'green vision' of the government, our focus has moved towards sustainable products, features and even projects.  
What are the main environmental and social trends that you think will drive change over the next 5-10 years?
The increasing knowledge and awareness of climate change, energy efficiency and economic instability will result in focused attention at the healthcare sector, sustainable infrastructure and environment and a first class education system. These are all social trends that AkzoNobel is taking into consideration, and areas that we focus as part of our sustainability agenda.
What do you think are the major sustainability-related opportunities for AkzoNobel in the medium-term?
There are many opportunity areas, especially in relation to delivering products that drive the sustainability agenda. There is a greater focus on water-based products that are low in volatile oil compound content. We are in a unique position to deliver such 'clean' products. Further, our Human Cities initiative is a path-breaking initiative that brings us closer to the community, and enables us to partner in addressing urban development challenges.
Which actions by AkzoNobel are central in driving the region's environmental agenda?
In addition to our focus on delivering products that support the sustainable built environments, our Human Cities initiative is truly path-breaking. It has been very helpful in promoting our sustainability agenda in all parts of the world. 
As someone who has led the Middle East business for the last five years, covering more than 16 countries, I feel that our commitment to the community has shone through.
Our focus would continue to be to collaborate with government and independent agencies that promote sustainability. There are opportunities to use platforms and forums to talk about our sustainability and approach. We are indeed setting an example for others to follow within our industry. AkzoNobel is a leader in the area of sustainability, not just in terms of our products, low carbon credits, etc but an overall sustainability ranking that includes our company purpose and our continuous efforts to engage and develop people.
Our customers, suppliers and governments are increasingly more demanding in terms of sustainable products and our own sustainability agenda enables us to lead within our businesses.


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