with young families or who are looking to start families and who want the health benefits. “Our

new range of 80

contemporary colours are proving very popular, as people are looking to break away from some of the better-known brands that are commonly used, so they can be proudly different and live in a healthier environment,” offers Jason. He adds: “Our corporate philosophy of ‘gentle chemistry’ is based on the use of biogenic, renewable

and mineral raw

materials. We use raw materials that are well-tolerated by humans and are extracted from natural sources as carefully as possible. They are processed according to the principles of gentle chemistry. Our ethos dictates social and environmental responsibility is always the starting point to develop the AURO concept.” However, Jason says, he doesn’t

For most DIYers, the drivers to make a change to their homes remain the same as ever. Moving home, the birth of child, the child moving out, the room looking dirty and ragged, or simply outdated. Akzo Nobel head of innovation Ted Szuman says: “It is unlikely that the use of technology itself will drive anyone to decorate a room. It might make a few of the steps along the process easier and, therefore, accelerate the time required between planning and getting the pain on the wall.” “Using technology to augment the traditional process of decorating means there are digital apps to help a user, at some point along the decorating journey, and it is increasing in number and scope. There are apps for every task – from gathering inspiration and selecting new furniture, to measuring a room size, finding expert design help or choosing paint colours. “However, I’m yet to see one app that covers the whole journey. Dulux

offer a simple app that covers what we believe is the most stressful part of the journey; selecting paint colour. It helps them to visualise the finished result. If they can visualise the end result, then they will be confident and actually go ahead with it and get it done. “A good analogy is holidays. People are happy and confident to go away on holiday if they know when and where they are going, where they will be staying and how long for. They would be far less confident if they were told to pack a suitcase and leave their home for an indefinite period of time.

“Since we launched the Dulux Visualiser app, there have been over 38million visualisations, proving just how many of us are looking to ‘try before we buy’.”

Other technology-led advancements in the industry Virtual reality, e.g. Google TiltBrush, which is a fully immersive 3D painting experience.

Haptics, “this enables you to feel what surfaces and textures are like. Combining haptic feedback with VR has huge potential,” says Ted. 3D projection mapping – this projects a realistic 3D image to scale on any surface. Combined with haptics, it makes the projected surface feel real.

24 DIY WEEK 10 AUGUST 2018

think the demand from consumers is necessarily about being conscientious about the planet, but is more about realising the health benefits of less toxic ingredients in their decorating products. “The demand is growing not so much for ‘eco-friendly’ products but for healthier products, as more people become aware of the harm that synthetic chemicals can do to their bodies, as well as the environment. There are a number of products that describe themselves as eco-friendly yet are still made using harmful chemicals. “Crucially AURO has never used the plastic microbeads favoured by much of the conventional paint. AURO has been discovered by a rising number of people looking for plastic-free products as a social conscience grows in this area.” Jason says the choice of materials has increased

over time, with

many more people returning to lime plasters. “These help prevent moisture becoming trapped and are also anti-fungal, preventing the growth of moulds and harmful bacteria,” he explains. “Some very clever products like

Breathaplasa by Adaptavate have become more

mentions frequently used to

help insulate and protect against condensation in buildings.” Interestingly Jason

that, as society develops and younger people, – often referred to as Generation Rent – are renting rather than buying, the demand for landlords to offer properties with a greener finish is increasing. “For landlords, or people looking to sell properties, the focus is on making the property look fresh rather

than worrying about the

long-term benefits of a natural material, he says. “But even in that

sector we are seeing an increase in tenants pressuring landlords and developers to use chemical-free and healthier finishes.”

What does ‘sustainable’ mean? Kingfisher’s Caroline Laury says: “We talked to thousands of customers across Europe in their own homes to gain a deeper understanding of how they live. We found that customers across our markets are more similar than different when it comes to what they care about in their home. It was clear that although terms like ‘sustainability’ don’t mean anything to many of our customers, there are lots of sustainability issues that connect with what our customers really care about.” At Kingfisher, the company believes it

is not only important

to introduce sustainable and eco- friendly products in store but to develop the company itself and help the business, as a whole, become more sustainable. Caroline says: “We put customer’s front and centre in our business, so we used these insights to shape Kingfisher’s Sustainable Growth Plan; our roadmap to becoming a net positive business. “Reducing the carbon impact of our business is also part of our commitment to being a sustainable company. To support that, we’re installing renewable energy sources across many of our locations, such as the energy storage batteries to be installed at B&Q’s Swindon distribution centre.”

When asked whether

environmentally-focused decorating is the future of the sector, Ben says the industry has to look at the bigger picture. “There needs to be clarity and a greater debate,” he says.

“Transparent debate about

what people mean by eco-friendly products, including sustainability and ethical production, all have to be part of the picture.” “There

is certainly a far

greater social awareness of the issues effecting health and the environment,” agrees Jason. “We have already seen our

products being used increasingly in the commercial sector for offices, schools and the leisure industry so I feel the market for more natural, greener paints is going to increase in the future,” he says. Consumers

in modern

are taking a stronger look into the products they use and how they can benefit, not only their health, but the effects on the environment, and this means businesses may need to look into the ranges they offer, as well as thinking about how the company itself can become more resourceful and greener.


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