“The paint and coatings industry has made major strides with a shift from solvent-borne paints to water-borne paints.”
DSM believes everything it does should contribute to a better world and a sustainable one. The company’s Decovery arm is a platform of plant-based resin solutions for paints and coatings. It is replacing fossil fuel-based materials with plant-based ones. Its Decovery family contains anywhere up to 49% plant-based content, comprised of seeds, tree bark, corn, castor beans and other agricultural waste.
Here, Liz Gyekye, senior content manager for Bio-Based World News, catches up with Tineke Woort, project director for Decovery at Royal DSM.
Liz Gyekye (LG): Welcome to 5 Minutes With. Can you begin with a brief description about DSM (@DSM)?
Tineke Woort (TW): DSM is a global science-based company, which is active in health, nutrition and sustainable living. Our purpose is to create brighter lives for all and we do this by promoting our core value which is sustainability. Therefore, everything we do should contribute to a more sustainable world.
The paint and coatings industry has made major strides with a shift from solvent-borne paints to water-borne paints. However, these water-borne paints are not only made up with water, but still contain fossil fuel-based materials. With our Decovery solutions, we replace these fossil fuel-based materials with plant-based materials. As such, we are leading the industry to the next transition, the transition to plant-based paints and coatings.
LG: Describe your DSM career journey?
TW: I have been with DSM for more than 13 years. I spent about ten years working in DSM’s HR department and three years’ ago, I stepped into this role to take on a new challenge.
LG: Who do you feel is driving the sustainability agenda?
TW: I think we all should be driving this agenda. DSM is driving this green transition because it truly believes that this is the future for our industry. Therefore, DSM has invested in and continues to develop this innovative technology. We go beyond our customer’s expectations and aim to increase awareness for plant-based coatings in our value chain to the consumer. We explain to them how these plant-based coatings reduce carbon emissions and as such contribute to a more sustainable world.
LG: What is the biggest challenge your company currently faces?
TW: One of the main challenges is to balance cost and scale. We are dealing with new raw materials, which have a higher cost than conventional ones, while scale is relatively small because the market for bio-based coatings hardly exists. Despite this, we have shown that we are able to offer a competitively-priced product. It is our dream to make plant-based coatings at mainstream prices. However, to make this transition to plant-based paints a reality it requires the commitment of all the partners in the value chain.
LG: What is coming up next for your company?
TW: We are continuously looking for new bio-based materials that enhance the performance of our products. Our current products can be used on wood, floors and walls and we are looking for new applications, both for interior and exterior use. We want to grow the market for bio-based materials. Currently, our product has plant-based content up to 49%. However, we are aiming to get this number up to 100% in the future to reduce our carbon footprint even further.
LG: What advice would you give to somebody starting out in this space?
TW: It’s all about finding the right partners – partners who share your belief, partners who share your view and your dream. You need partners who dare to stick out their neck and want to make a difference. We cannot make this transition all by ourselves.
LG: What is your favourite bio-based/sustainable product?
TW: Niaga carpets. Carpets made with the Niaga technology are fully recyclable and can be turned back into new carpet. Traditional carpets create a massive amount of waste that end up in landfill or incineration. With Niaga that is a thing of the past!
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