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Frequently Asked Questions

On this page, we have collected frequently asked questions and answers related to Tikkurila Group’s sustainability approach.

SUSTAINABILITY AS PART OF TIKKURILA'S BUSINESS

Is responsibility and sustainable development important for Tikkurila?

Responsible business is a prerequisite of Tikkurila operations and sustainable development is integrated into Tikkurila strategy. Through high-quality products and services and our professional expertise, we protect the environment, enhance the sustainability of building stock and infrastructure, and make spaces more beautiful, thus having a positive impact on the living environment and people’s well-being. For decades, Tikkurila has persistently developed and promoted high-quality surface treatment solutions that are safe for both people and the environment. Throughout our operations, quality, durability and safety are our guiding principles.

We want to ensure that our operations comply with the norms and standards of international and national responsible business, and that we work with business partners who share similar values. 

Tikkurila’s Corporate Responsibility program “A Colorful Tomorrow” provides Tikkurila with a framework for responsible and sustainable development. We promote sustainable development and take environmental, financial and social aspects into account in our daily work as well as in our strategic business development and in strengthening our market position.

How is Tikkurila developing the responsibility and sustainability of its business operations? 

The demands of our customers increase and their purchase behavior changes, the legislation becomes more stringent, and different trends, such as climate change, increasingly affect our business operations. Therefore, we take into account the world around us, global shifts, sustainable development and people’s needs in developing our operations and products.

As part the company’s strategy work, we have defined concrete sustainability customer promises, which guide the company sustainability initiatives and support the business development from the sustainability point-of-view.

The sustainability promises are

  • We drive our portfolio towards maximized performance with minimum environmental impact.
  • We improve and protect air quality with our products and professional services.
  • We drive at better resource efficiency with quality, safety and durability on top of our minds. 
  • We are a responsible and active partner in our communities.
Who is responsible for sustainable development at Tikkurila?

The Group Management Team has the overall responsibility for the company's corporate responsibility performance within the framework agreed upon by the Board of Directors. The management of each country and function is responsible for the local and function-specific implementation, monitoring and reporting of sustainability issues based on the Group and local agenda.

In addition to the work carried out in Tikkurila’s operating countries and functions, the corporate responsibility manager is in charge of responsible business development on the group-level and reports to the Group Communications Director. The head of legal and Internal Audit supervises the compliance of operations and adherence to ethical standards with regards to, for example, human rights, bribery and corruption. 

Early 2018, a Group-level sustainable development team was established. The team will be responsible for supporting Tikkurila’s business, steering the development of new products and services that are safe for the environment and health, and promoting sales, marketing and communications. 
 

What are the environmental impacts of Tikkurila’s operations?

The main environmental effects of paint during its life cycle have been identified as raw materials and packaging materials production, energy used during the manufacturing of the product, emissions and wastes generated during the manufacture, as well as the distribution of raw materials, packaging materials and finished products, compounds evaporating (VOC emissions) from the paint during painting and drying, and the disposal of paint waste.

How is Tikkurila reducing the environmental impacts of its operations and products?

Tikkurila aims to continuously minimize the environmental impact of its operations and products, for instance, by developing products that extend the service life of the painted item and allow for longer maintenance painting intervals. Furthermore, we promote the use of water-borne products, and select the options which burden the environment less, whenever it is technically and financially possible. We also work to develop resource efficiency of our production processes by minimizing loss and increasing the reuse of waste.

In 2017, share of water-borne products in production was 75%. In 2017, 85% of decorative paints in sales were water-borne products. 

How does painting contribute to sustainable development?

Without protection, our cities and houses along our home streets would deteriorate, and without colors, our homes and environments would look bleak. Painting has a positive effect on our surroundings and its aesthetics. Paints make our living environment more beautiful and increase our well-being in a number of ways. Paints also protect surfaces from premature ageing, rotting, rust and corrosion. A longer service life reduces the load on the environment and creates savings in costs and natural resources, since structures do not have to be replaced so often. Surface treatment can also make surfaces more hygienic and easier to clean, increase water vapor permeability, and improve fire-retardation and water and chemical resistance.

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT PAINTS

What are the key environmental arguments of Tikkurila interior products?

Water-borne products. 

  • Water-borne paints are low-emission paints which ensure better indoor air quality and smaller health risks.
  • What is more, water-borne paints are nearly odorless, which means that it is safe to be in the painted room soon after painting. 
  • Water-borne paints are proven to be safe, and using them is easy, as they dry fast and the painting tools can be washed with water (Note! Do not wash tools under running water, but observe the proper cleaning instructions, available at www.tikkurila.com/decorative_paints/instructions/paint_waste_disposal_and_recycling). 

Breathability.

  • The higher the water vapor permeability of the product, the more breathable it is.
  • Tikkurila interior products are breathable.

High-quality raw materials.

  • All Tikkurila products are made from high-quality raw materials. We always select raw materials which have the least possible impact on the environment. 
  • Our raw materials and raw materials suppliers are carefully selected and we aim to ensure that the operations of our suppliers are responsible.

Certified operations.

  • Nearly all Tikkurila production facilities are certified either in accordance with the environmental, quality and/or occupational health and safety management system standards. 

Eco-labeled products.

  • Several hundred Tikkurila Group products have been eco-labeled. The Nordic ecolabel, the Swan, is a testimony to the proven safety and environmental effects of the product. What is more, a Swan-labeled product is durable. Its technical quality – such as adhesion, wear resistance and hiding power – has been tested and verified. The M1 certification granted to products by the Finnish Building Information Foundation guarantees low emissions. The products that have been granted the allergy label by the Finnish Allergy and Asthma Federation meet stringent product-specific criteria and do not contain fragrances, irritants and other allergy-causing agents. 
What is the difference between water-borne and solvent-borne paints?

In water-borne products, the thinner in the paint is water, whereas in solvent-borne paints, the thinner is a solvent. Water is a safer choice in terms of both the environment and the health of the painter. Particularly in the painting phase, the environmental impact of water-borne paints are smaller than those of solvent-borne paints. Due to the lower emissions, also the indoor air quality is better and the allergy risks are smaller.

Water-borne products dry fast and are nearly odorless. The odor of solvent-borne products is stronger. Water-borne paints are better for your health, because almost only water evaporates from them. From solvent-borne products, VOC compounds (Volatile Organic Compounds), i.e., solvent emissions, evaporate. The most significant harmful environmental effect of using paints is the evaporation of solvents, the VOC emissions, which are known to increase ground-level ozone formation and to enhance air pollution, for example. 

Which eco-labels are granted to paints?

Paints are awarded with international eco-labels (the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, EU Ecolabel) and national allergy and asthma labels or M1 classification measuring compounds emitted into the air from building materials for interior use. Tikkurila Group has more than 300 eco-labeled products.

The eco-labels and classifications increase the knowledge regarding environmental and health impacts of paints and their product characteristics as well as indicate the proven safety characteristics. They help and guide consumers in their purchase decisions. The ecolabels and classifications awarded to paints are a testimony to the proven safety and environmental effects of the product.

What is M1 certification?

Building materials for interior use, such as paints, can be classified according to the compounds they emit into the air. In Finland, the Sisäilmayhdistys association for good indoor air has published a building material classification which divides products into three classes (M1, M2, M3). The classification has also aroused interest in the other Nordic countries and in the Baltic countries. 

The M1 class is for materials that emit extremely low levels of compounds into the room space, while materials belonging to the M3 class generate the highest amounts of emissions. Materials that have not been tested do not belong to any class. M1 certification is granted by the Finnish Building Information Foundation to products that have been examined by an accredited testing laboratory and have undergone an organoleptic assessment. Many of Tikkurila’s products are M1-certified.

Will Tikkurila expand its list of eco-labeled products?

Applying for an eco-label is always considered when new products are being developed. Almost without exception, we apply for ecolabeling* for every product manufactured in Finland and Sweden. Of our products made in Russia, all water-borne interior paints, solvent-borne varnishes and exterior paints are classified in accordance with the standards of the Russian Quality Paint Association. 

* international or national eco-label, allergy or asthma label or M1 classification

RAW MATERIALS

What raw materials are included in paints?

Paint typically consists of binders, pigments and fillers, solvents or water, and the so-called additives. When developing new paint, the raw materials are chosen for the compatibility with the object to be painted. The mixing ratio varies depending on the type of paint.

The choice of raw materials plays an important role in the environmental impact, quality and safety of the products. The most significant impacts on the environment result from the production of raw materials, for instance titanium dioxide and fillers, and the release of solvents during the application of solvent-borne paints.

How will Tikkurila ensure that the used raw materials are safe and of high quality?

Tikkurila strives to use raw materials in its products that are as harmless to health and the environment as possible. When we introduce a new raw material, we employ extremely stringent criteria with regard to the quality, durability, functionality and safety of the material. Each raw material is tested and researched before it is taken into use in our production. The right choice of chemical is an efficient way of reducing harmful environmental effects.

The risks caused by chemicals are managed with legislative and financial means as well as with voluntary methods for the operators. The applicable legislation is influenced by national objectives, EU legislation as well as several international agreements aimed at reducing chemical risks.

DEVELOPMENT AND MANUFACTURE OF PAINTS

Where are Tikkurila paints developed and produced?

Tikkurila's product development sites are located in Finland, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Estonia and Denmark. 

Tikkurila has 11 paint manufacturing units to produce various paints and coatings. The factories are located in Finland, Sweden, Russia, Estonia, Denmark, Kazakhstan and Germany. In addition, the Group purchases painting related merchandising from external cooperation partners that are sold further.

How many employees work in production?

Approximately half of Tikkurila’s personnel work in the supply chain (production, sourcing, logistics and HSEQ). At the end of 2017, Tikkurila Group employed 3,037 (2016: 3,033) people in 14 countries. 

How many employees work in research and development?

At the end of 2017, Research and Development employed 193 (191) people. 

Are Tikkurila operations certified?

Tikkurila's objective is to create independently audited and certified quality, environmental, and safety management systems for each of its production sites. Currently, 11 of our 12 production sites have a certified quality management system (ISO 9001), 10 have a certified environmental management system (ISO 14001) and 7 have a certified health and safety management system (OHSAS 18001). 

Tikkurila's operations and operational systems, and their compliance with the requirements, are assessed and monitored in various reviews and due diligence evaluations. In addition to external audits and certification organizations, the Group HSE function sets targets, audits the company's various sites, gives recommendations and follows up on the local development work with regards to health, safety and environmental issues.

How the quality of products is ensured?

We carry out thorough field testing and extensive laboratory testing to ensure that our products have all the desired properties. Products undergo testing at our own test fields, test painting facilities and test sites. Field tests are done to make sure that our products can also withstand outdoor exposure. In addition to test fields at various Tikkurila sites, we also have testing areas on seaside, where products can be exposed to a saline and humid climate with high levels of ultraviolet radiation. Prior to field testing, Tikkurila paints undergo a number of demanding laboratory tests. 

How is the health and environmental impacts of development and manufacturing process of paints are taken into consideration?

Quality, durability and safety are our guiding principles – for raw material selection and product development, as well as throughout our operations. 

The raw materials selected by Tikkurila greatly affect the environmental impact, quality and safety of the paints. Our product development selects raw materials based on purpose of use and the properties required from the product. 

We are constantly looking for options that are safer for both health and the environment, studying the use of renewable raw materials, and increasing the share of water-borne products of our product offering. When we introduce a raw material, we employ extremely stringent criteria with regard to the quality, durability, functionality and safety of the material. 

Are there ever any mistakes in the manufacturing process? Are some batches non-marketable? If yes, what happens to such batches?

After mixing, we take a sample for quality control from each paint batch we produce. Quality control ensures that the quality requirements set for paints are met. Only once the quality control laboratory has approved the sample, the paint of the batch is filled in cans. Every now and then, batches do become un-marketable either in the manufacturing process or during transport. The quality of the product allowing, we try to re-utilize the paint in our manufacturing processes. If this cannot be done and the paint is nonetheless of prime quality, we may use it in different social projects of our Sustainable Beauty program (read more: Sustainability > Community involvement) or sell it to our staff. The disposal of the paint is the last option.

Are Tikkurila’s products and raw materials tested on animals?

Tikkurila does not test its products on animals. 

The animal testing of chemicals is regulated in the EU REACH directive, which strives for better chemical safety whilst at the same time for avoiding unnecessary animal testing. To secure the user safety, the substances used for instance in paints are tested on animals on behalf of the manufacturer. Alternative testing methods are being developed. Animal testing of chemicals is the last resort. Chemical manufacturers carry out new tests only when they have exhausted all other relevant and available data sources. The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) gives guidance and grants the permissions for animal testing of chemicals.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

What are the negative impacts of paint factories and how those are taken into consideration?

The main environmental effects of paint production are energy used during the manufacturing of the product, emissions and wastes generated during the manufacture, as well as the distribution of raw materials, packaging materials and finished products. We aim to be more energy efficient and increase the use of renewable energy, reduce the VOC and CO2 emission of production as well as decrease the amount of waste and increase the share of recyclable waste. 

Tikkurila aims to reduce the environmental impact of logistics by choosing environmentally friendly logistics, centralizing transportation and improving transportation safety and efficiency. Moreover, we pay attention to optimizing cargoes and transportation routes, and to the loading of vehicles. Another factor impacting the environmental effects of our logistics is that Tikkurila has production units and logistics centers in many countries, which reduces the distance of transportation. In the selection of our logistics partners, the defining factors include safety and the ability of the transport company to provide more environmentally-friendly options.

What are VOCs?

During painting and drying, a paint releases compounds. For instance, solvent-borne paints release volatile organic compounds (VOC) into the air. The most significant harmful environmental effect of using paints is the evaporation of solvents, the VOC emissions, which are known to increase ground-level ozone formation and to enhance air pollution, for example. 

Tikkurila has significantly reduced the VOC emissions from its products by transferring the production from solvent-borne products to water-borne products. Water-borne paint releases mainly water.

How are the emissions from production measured and monitored?

The emissions from production are measured and assessed numerically, although there are country-specific differences in the methods of carrying out these processes. The environmental permits in different countries define the emission limits, control and measurement of VOCs and wastewater. The applicable legislation and the requirements of the environmental permit are observed in all countries.

The VOC emissions of our production facility in Vantaa are measured from inlet and exit sides of the catalytic combustor at intervals defined in the environmental permit. The annual estimates are defined numerically based on the measurements and the operating time of the combustor. In Russia and Poland, where combustors are not used, the measurements are made at different points in the process, and the annual estimate is calculated similarly. The factory in Sweden does not produce solvent-borne paints.

Where are the greenhouse emissions generated in paint production?

The most significant direct greenhouse emissions in paint production are generated by burning fuel for heating and internal transport as well as in the production of solvent-borne paints caused by inert cases and by burning the volatile organic compounds.
 

How much waste from production have your managed to reduce in the past five years?

Tikkurila’s objective is to utilize its resources more efficiently and to minimize the amount of landfill waste. We strive to reduce the amount of hazardous waste and to increase the share of recyclable waste. In the past five years, we have managed to significantly reduce the amount of landfill waste (2012: 3,255 tn > 2016: 812 tn) and the amount hazardous waste (2012: 4,810 tn > 2016: 2,789 tn). On the whole, the amount of other waste has remained on the same level, but the amount of recyclable and reusable waste has increased.

Liquid paint waste is classified as hazardous waste. Where is such hazardous waste delivered from the Tikkurila sites?

In all countries in which Tikkurila has operations, hazardous waste is sent to a company authorized to dispose such waste. 

Is wastewater cleaned locally at the production facilities?

In Finland, Poland and Germany, wastewater is cleaned at the production facilities. In other countries, wastewater is sent to be cleansed or disposed of by external operators.

SUPPLIER MANAGEMENT

Where does Tikkurila purchase its raw materials and packaging materials?

The Tikkurila Group has approximately 500 local and international raw material and packaging material suppliers. More than 90% of the raw materials and packaging materials for Tikkurila's units in the EU are bought from the EU region. In Russia, more than 60% of all raw materials and packaging materials are bought from local suppliers.

How does Tikkurila ensure the responsibility of its suppliers? 

We only cooperate with suppliers that have been approved by our principles for supplier collaboration and make a group-level agreement with our most significant suppliers. By the end of 2017, 43 (2016: 39) % of raw material and packaging material purchases were covered with the Group agreement. 

Our principles, based on our values, Code of Conduct and Corporate Responsibility program, for supplier collaboration define our expectations with regards to quality, safety and the environment as well as to procurement matters from the selection and assessment of suppliers to the continuous improvement of the cooperation.

Tikkurila monitors and assesses the supplier collaboration on a regular basis through evaluation and auditing processes. During 2013–2017, Tikkurila has audited 35 suppliers. The audits and evaluations look into the suppliers’ order, delivery and production processes, quality control measures, environmental and safety protocol as well as the suppliers’ social responsibility and ethical business practices, such as their practices with regard to human rights, bribery and anti-corruption.

To enhance and follow-up sustainable chemicals management, the Tikkurila Supplier guidelines set principles for the supplier cooperation. According to these guidelines, Tikkurila expects its suppliers to work actively on removing raw materials that are hazardous to the environment or health and minimizing the environmental impact of their operations in the whole supply chain, including packaging and transports. 
 

REGULATION

Are the raw materials used by Tikkurila REACH regulated?

The REACH regulation is European Union’s directive on the registration, evaluation, authorizations and restriction of chemicals. REACH obligates manufacturers and importers of chemicals to assess the risks related to the use of the product and to provide end-users with the instructions on the safe use of chemicals.

Paints themselves are not the substances specified in the directive but raw materials contained in paints must be registered in the EU. Therefore, paint manufacturers must ensure that the raw materials they use in paints comply with the REACH, and they are under the obligation to inform their customers of the substances contained in their paints. Tikkurila has ensured that all raw materials used in the EU region have been or will be registered by 2018 in accordance with the schedule specified in REACH.

What is CLP and how it affects Tikkurila business?

The CLP regulation (Classification, Labeling and Packaging) concerns the classification, labeling and packaging of chemicals. The purpose of the regulation is to ensure a high level of protection for human health and the environment. The regulation harmonizes the classification criteria of substances and compounds and the rules governing labeling and packaging.

The CLP regulation is effective in all EU countries and along with it, the Globally Harmonized System of classification and labeling of chemicals (GHS) will be implemented globally. Tikkurila has been preparing for the new labeling and safety data sheet requirements of the CLP regulation since 2013. The warning texts on the labels of Tikkurila's paint products manufactured and sold in the EU region have been replaced by June 2015.

How the VOC emissions are regulated?

The VOC directives define the maximum volume of VOC emissions in production and the maximum allowed amount of volatile compounds contained in paints. The purpose of the directives is to prevent or reduce the direct or indirect impact of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions on the environment or people.

How the biocide regulation affects Tikkurila business?

The biocide regulation governs the use of preservatives in paints. The regulation became effective on September 1, 2013.

GUIDELINES FOR PAINTING

How to ensure safe use of a paint product?

Before starting to paint, read the instructions for use on the product label and check the product safety data sheet. When painting we recommend you to use protective gloves and goggles. In this way, you can avoid spattering the paint onto your hands and subjecting yourself to unnecessary skin contact. 

How soon can a painted room be taken into use?

If the room is being painted with water-borne interior products, such as wall and ceiling paints, or with low-emission M1 classified products, it can be used around 4–6 hours after painting. In the case of other water-borne paints or lacquers, avoid being in the room until the next day. Allergic and sensitive individuals should avoid being in freshly painted rooms for a bit longer period.

Highly allergic and sensitive persons should consider carefully whether it might be a good idea to let someone else do the painting. However, if you do decide to do the job yourself, we recommend the use of low-emission M1 classified and eco-labeled products.

Ensure adequate ventilation during drying; for example, open the window. However, bear in mind that the room temperature should not fall below the minimum temperatures given in the product specification.