Giving paints and coatings the EcoTain® edge

Clariant discusses the introduction of its EcoTain label and highlights a selection of products and solutions that it covers

Clariant’s EcoTain label is designed to visibly let customers know which of its products exceed market standards and are best-in-class related to sustainability. It offers a level of transparency and credible support, as yet unique from a speciality chemicals company. Customers looking to improve their own sustainability can currently take advantage of more than 145 EcoTain-labelled products; a number that is continuously growing - and of which 45 EcoTain-labelled products are specially designed for paints and coatings manufacturers. In April 2015, this market segment was the first to be presented with a full set of EcoTain ingredients covering processing, functionality and colouration needs. The EcoTain label is carried by products featuring renewable raw materials, as well as those that support broader sustainability during production and application without loss of performance. Before highlighting a selection of the available flagship products and solutions, we look at the system behind Clariant’s introduction of EcoTain.

Greater transparency is a must

Joachim Krüger, Senior Vice President, Corporate Sustainability & Regulatory Affairs at Clariant, shares Clariant’s viewpoint:


»Considering sustainable development will be a success factor for companies in the future. Without embracing sustainability, business will lose out. That is why sustainability is an integral part of Clariant’s business strategy. As a leading speciality chemicals company, we feel we are uniquely positioned to be able to create added value through sustainability and innovation for our customers and our shareholders and for our employees and society. As part of this, providing information about the sustainability aspects of different products and processes is essential.« In 2013, Clariant launched the Portfolio Value Program (PVP) with the objective to get more transparency on the sustainability performance of its product portfolio. Assessment of current standards and stakeholder involvement were integral elements of the programme and resulted in an enhanced, company-wide sustainability excellence label for its best-in-class products. Clariant’s EcoTain label was initially designed by one of the company’s business units, Industrial & Consumer Specialties (ICS) and set the basis – besides best-practice approaches for portfolio assessments in the market – for the development of an enhanced EcoTain standard. Clariant’s PVP is a systematic approach to consistently evaluating the entire product portfolio utilising sustainability viewpoints. This is done with an absolute observation (‘How sustainable is a product really?’), as well as with a relative observation (‘How sustainable is a product compared to similar products on the market?’). The result of this analysis gives indications of the nature and extent of necessary or potential improvements in order to continuously optimise the entire product portfolio. Existing sustainability instruments, such as the EcoTain concept, market standards and expectations of stakeholders have been analysed and assessed as part of the PVP, accompanied by the ‘Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production’ (CSCP), a renowned ‘think and do tank’ founded by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the Wuppertal Institute, Germany. On the basis of 36 criteria in the areas of environment, society and economy, the portfolio’s products are examined throughout the entire life cycle on their strengths and weaknesses with reference to sustainability. Subsequently it becomes clear which products already fulfill Clariant’s sustainability standard, which have potential for improvement and which qualify as best-in-class products for Clariant’s enhanced EcoTain label.


Supporting People, Planet and Performance

The criteria measurements include safe use of products, their contribution to global trends, environmental impact, raw material sourcing, integrated business models and performance advantages. Company experts carry out the PVP screening process by reviewing each product and solution across its entire life cycle. Offerings meeting the sustainability excellence standards are then put forward and confirmed by a corporate steering committee, the EcoTain Panel. This analysis provides additional arguments for marketing and better visibility of specific product performances, which achieve the sustainability standards with customers. The analysis also shows the need for improvements and concrete action steps in order to optimise individual product attributes; for instance, with regard to their energy consumption, the raw material base or relating to disposal. Such an approach gradually reduces risks in the product portfolio and increases its competitiveness in operating markets. Each optimisation also increases these products’ competitiveness and benefits for the customers. Clariant believes the system and EcoTain labelled products will provide customers with the assurance and clarity they require when choosing solutions to support specific sustainability targets. Joachim Krüger adds: »Sustainability is more than a strategy, it’s a cultural movement, it’s Clariant DNA. With EcoTain, we showcase this by our products and solutions offering exceptional value to our customers, society and the environment. Renewable materials are an important feature in those aimed at paint and coatings but this is only one aspect of supporting greater sustainability.«

Renewable raw materials for high-performance pigments

Today, a significant share of quinacridone pigment production at Clariant’s plants uses bio-succinic acid supplied by Myriant, a recognised leader in the development of renewable chemicals. The bio-succinic acid derived from natural sugar-based resources is a reliable substitute for fossil-based succinic acid, reducing the environmental footprint of the end products being manufactured without any impact on the production process or pigment quality. Clariant is the only pigment producer to offer high-performance quinacridone pigments based on the renewable raw material bio-succinic acid. They cover all application areas for the pigments industry. The broad portfolio includes high-performance pigments to meet the exact demands of the automotive, architectural and plastics industries, as well as colourants used in printing applications tailored to individual needs. An example is Hostaperm® Pink E (P.R. 122), one of Clariant’s most important polycyclic pigments. Here, Clariant has switched to a renewable raw material without changes in the product properties, the product quality or the guaranteed specification. Clariant has been able to replace more than 35% of the pigment’s molecule weight derived from petrochemical raw materials with renewables. The quinacridone pigments were assigned the EcoTain label for a variety of reasons. No hazard labelling is required. They are suitable for water-based colourants enabling eco labels; and the use of renewable bio-succinic acid reduces petrochemical consumption and accordingly the carbon footprint and volume of greenhouse gases released to the environment. Importantly, all this is achieved without any drop-off in performance.

Bio-based waxes for wood coatings

Clariant offers innovative solutions for wood coatings based on renewable sources that can protect effectively against surface damages and meet the demand for more sustainable coating systems. Ceridust® 8090 TP and the latest innovation Ceridust® 8091 TP are based on polysaccharide from renewable sources not in conflict with food. They carry Clariant’s EcoTain label because of their outstanding sustainability profile and excellent performance. Both Ceridust solutions offer wood coating producers a step-change in performance from a bio-based wood coating additive. In addition, Ceridust outperforms in terms of scratch resistance and higher coefficient of friction compared to standard waxes. Ceridust solutions are offered in different particle size distributions to provide a variety of surface properties, from a silky touch to natural wooden haptic effect. The value proposition of Ceridust 8090 TP and 8091 TP solutions is based on their superior

performance, as well as their use of renewable raw material. Ceridust 8090 TP – the coarser version (30μm) of this additive for wood coatings – creates a protected and smooth surface with the pleasant feel of untreated wood. The micronised polymer increases coefficient of friction in combination with outstanding scratch resistance performance in water-based formulations. Ceridust 8091 TP – the fine grind (8μm) of the renewable based micronised polymer – combines smoothness with very high scratch resistance. The high matting efficiency, together with these properties, enables the manufacturer to formulate more sustainable coatings with top quality.

Resource Efficiency and other customer benefits

Clariant’s efforts to support the sustainability goals of its customers go beyond simply addressing demands for renewable raw materials. The EcoTain label is also given to best-in-class products and solutions with an emphasis on resource reduction and/or efficiency improvements, while maintaining the performance expected by producers of paints and coatings and end-users. Easily Dispersible Pigments (ED Pigments) is one such innovative range. These pigments can be easily incorporated into paint systems with a dissolver and without an additional milling step. The increased pigment dispersibility allows higher colour yield, thus enabling increased material efficiency in the use phase of the product. Compared to standard powder pigments, ED Pigments significantly improve the eco footprint. The shortened processing time leads to increased production capacity, while simultaneously generating less waste water and up to 90% reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the use phase. So far the complete ED range has been granted the EcoTain label. ED Pigments are suitable for solvent-based industrial coatings and water-based decorative colourants, and have a broad application field, for example, road markings, marine coatings, corporate colours, as well as industrial and decorative coatings. Further examples include an EcoTain product for customers looking for superior UV stabilisation of pigmented coatings and clearcoats. Hostavin 3070 Disp features innovative HALS technology, which allows customers to change from high performance solventborne coatings to waterborne coatings, without loss of performance. Easy dispersion also enables energy reduction for the customer. EcoTain-labelled flame retardants are also available for more environmentally compatible intumescent coatings used in construction applications. Halogen-free non-hazardous flame retardant Exolit® AP 422 offers constant high quality and hydrolytic stability. Its production is highly material efficient with extremely low waste.


More in the pipeline

EcoTain sets an ambitious benchmark, which distinguishes products that significantly exceed market standards in general and have best-in-class performance in one or several criteria screened. By uncovering value adding sustainability benefits, EcoTain is empowering customers to differentiate at the market and contributes to achieving their sustainability targets.
More information on Clariant’s full set of EcoTain labelled products for paints and coatings and the on-going additions to the evolving portfolio is available via


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