“Built spaces are where we meet, have fun, live and work, and these structures have a material impact on how we feel,” says Heather Goode, Technical, Quality And Colour Services Manager at Dulux New Zealand. “Our paints and coatings protect, enhance and increase the durability and lifespan of those structures.”
Dulux’s considerable product range includes highlights such as Dulux envirO₂® which delivers premium quality with independent, third-party environmental credentials. “This high-performance range has a very low volatile organic compound content which means that it provides better indoor air quality with less odour,” Heather says. “We’re also working to support the industry with products that are easier and more efficient to use such as our Professional FASTFINISH™ which is a wet-on-wet paint that can have its second coat applied while the first is still drying, saving both time and labour.”
Heather is passionate about Dulux’s role as a sustainable product manufacturer, and she says that a big part of her role is in ensuring that their product solutions and processes are as environmentally forward-thinking as possible. “We’re working hard to improve performance while lowering our environmental impacts over time. This involves creating products that are water-based with fewer chemicals, but it also involves examining the potential environmental impact at each stage of the product lifecycle.”
The journey toward more sustainable paints and coatings has been a long one, Heather says, and some big-picture thinking is required to keep moving the industry forward. “We are looking at everything from the specification stage right through to end-of-life disposal. This approach provides us with opportunities to reduce environmental harm at every touchpoint. In particular, we’ve recently launched our ENVIROSOLUTIONS® range which enables end users to sustainably treat paint washings. We have also introduced a packaging take-back scheme at trade stores which allows us to repurpose those used materials into new packaging that is made from 20-50% recycled content.”
The team has been working hard in recent years to ensure that these efforts are recognised, Heather says, both in New Zealand and internationally. “We have an Environmental Choice New Zealand eco label, which is a really tough standard that is only given to ‘best-in-class’ manufacturers, environmentally speaking. We also looked globally at endorsements which align with the work we’re doing and were recognised with a Global GreenTag certification. This is a holistic environmental certification which looks at every part of your process and supply chain.”
While Dulux’s accolades and partnerships may be global, Heather says that her focus is decidedly local. “It’s really important to us to manufacture domestically so that we can reduce the footprint of getting products to our customers, while also providing jobs locally and supporting our communities. New Zealand’s coatings can take a beating with the variable climate, high ultraviolet ratings and harsh coastal locations of many of our built spaces. By manufacturing here, we can tap into an intimate understanding of exactly what the market needs, as well as embracing Māori ideas and approaches around Kaitiakitanga [protection and guardianship of the environment, including the land, sea and sky]. New Zealand also provides our palette, with inspiration from the natural landscape informing our range of paint colours with names that tie in with places all around the country in the Dulux Colours Of New Zealand range".
Dulux products are perhaps put most to the test in their partnership with the Department of Conservation. “We’re really involved with DOC,” Heather says. “We provide them with products that assist in their work to protect and maintain huts in some of New Zealand’s most challenging sites. On the community side, we’re also proud to partner with Pet Refuge, a charity which provides safe spaces for the pets of people who are leaving family violence situations.”
Looking ahead, Heather says that Dulux is excited to increase its production with a new laboratory for research and development. “This will up our ability to create and test products for the New Zealand market, and enable us to better meet the environmental demands and goals of the company. Everything that is old is new again,” Heather reflects as she considers Dulux’s appoach to sustainability. “A circular approach is one of the key drivers for me, personally. I’m excited to keep pushing the package recycling forward. We’ve increased the number of packaging pick-up points and we are currently developing partnerships to build an industry scheme which can take that idea even further.
“I love working in manufacturing. I love developing products that people actually use and get benefit from, and I love colour’s ability to inspire. It’s great to be involved in a field that is creating good in people’s lives.”
To learn more and connect with Heather, visit https://www.duluxconstructionsolutions.co.nz/ and visit Dulux on YouTube to hear Heather’s thoughts on the importance of environmental awareness and credentials in the specification and design space.