Circular solutions

How would your solution enable circular use of materials at any point in our value chain?
Join us
Countdown visual
Countdown visual

What we’re looking for in your solution

Your solution has proven technical feasibility and is ready to be further developed for this purpose. It contributes to the circularity of materials without increasing other environmental impacts (such as climate change, biodiversity, toxicity, etc.)

It’s an innovative solution that impacts one of (but is not limited to) the following areas: 

  • Better management (reduction, handling, etc.) of paint and coatings residues, reuse through recycling or disposal alternatives, and high value repurposing
  • New solutions for bio-based raw materials
  • Raw materials from the recycled waste streams of other industries
  • Renewable energy use and energy management
  • Circular packaging (new materials and innovative solutions)

Be sure to also think about possible requirements that customers are not yet aware of. Your solution should help push boundaries and exceed customer expectations – let’s explore together!

Pioneering sustainable solutions

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Sustainability is one of our core values and is integrated in everything we do. We strive to lead our industry by pioneering a world of possibilities to empower people and reduce our impact on the planet, while consistently innovating to deliver the most sustainable solutions for our customers.

As we strive to minimize our environmental footprint, reduce carbon emissions and move towards zero waste, we’re pioneering increasingly sustainable solutions and processes. We constantly innovate to bring surfaces to life by offering our customers the most sustainable solutions that go beyond generations. We seek out collaborations because we know we can’t drive the sustainability agenda by ourselves. Join us, let’s do it together!

A value chain of opportunities

When looking at the full value chain for our paints and coatings products, we know there are many opportunities to close the loop of materials.

We strive to be resourceful, inventive and sustainable in enabling the circular use of materials, products and packaging – and we need your help. Together, let’s find new ways to eliminate waste throughout our value chain, have a better management of waste, and adopt alternative sources for our raw materials (for example the waste stream of a different value chain).

Looking for some inspiration?


An inorganic pigment obtained from the waste stream of the paper industry is supplied to us by Alucha – one of the winners of the 2019 global startup challenge. Read more on

Bio-based raw materials

A revolutionary process to make new bio-based raw materials for resins has been developed in collaboration with the Dutch Advanced Research Center Chemical Building Blocks Consortium (ARC CBBC). Read more on

Do you have the solution?

To summarize

What can you see in our value chain that we cannot? Have you found a new way to improve resource productivity? Will your solution help us offer competitive and more sustainable solutions to our customers?

If you think your solution will help us answer the question:

How would your solution enable circular use of materials at any point in our value chain?

We are now closed for submissions

The submission phase of AkzoNobel’s second global startup challenge was live from May 18 to July 20. All the solutions are now being evaluated by our experts, who will give online feedback to the startups. A selection of participants will be invited to a three-day bootcamp in March.

Curious about the submissions we received? They came from startups all over the world – join our ecosystem to see them all.

Join us


We respect ownership of Intellectual Property (IP). IP that you already own prior to the Paint the Future Challenge remains yours; and similarly, our existing IP remains ours. In addition, our starting point is that both parties should have appropriate rights in what we create together during the Paint the Future Challenge. If you get invited to the final of the Challenge, we will communicate clearly what specific IP terms will apply.


Whilst we respect IP rights, we also value the open sharing of non-confidential information, and building on contributors’ ideas. This is what makes the Challenge useful for all participants, and contributes to identifying successful innovations. This means that during the submission phase, your submission, and the information you share with us, will be received by us only on a non-confidential basis.