Innovating a Sustainable Future

As an EcoVadis Gold rated manufacturer of water-based, performance-enhancing surface modifiers, Michelman actively works towards Innovating a Sustainable Future, aligning our operations to support sustainability initiatives. New product development efforts include significant focus on optimizing production to reduce our carbon footprint, eliminate Substances of Concern (SoCs), reduce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and transition to the use of more sustainable raw materials.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

As proud signatories to the United Nations Global Compact, we embrace the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seek to drive sustainability awareness and catalyze individuals, countries, and business to take actions that support a more sustainable future throughout the world. These SDGs address multiple challenges including “poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.” Although we actively support many of these goals through different initiatives, we are currently most focused on the following two goals:

UN Sustainable Development Goal: 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation

Clean Water and Sanitation: Michelman performs wastewater pretreatment at all of our sites to enable efficient treatment at downstream municipal facilities. We are committed to achieving zero wastewater discharge by making capital investments, increasing water reuse in our processes, and maintaining metrics on water and waste intensity to gauge ongoing performance improvements.

UN Sustainable Development Goal: 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Responsible Consumption and Production: Michelman has historically enabled responsible consumption for many of our customers. For example, our water-based coatings enable corrugated board and other paper packaging to resist water, yet still be repulpable and recyclable. When applied to food packaging, our coatings can help extend shelf life by reducing spoilage. Michelman promotes responsible production through our ongoing efforts to improve the footprint of our operations and reduce the use of SoCs.


2030 Goals: Sustainable Processes & Products

Developing Sustainable Processes to Reduce Our Footprint

Michelman is committed to contributing to the sustainability of our planet. We do this both by continually improving the footprint of our facilities (aggressively managing our water, energy, and waste) and by introducing planet-positive solutions into the marketplace.

We proactively assess the environmental impacts of our products and adjust our portfolio accordingly. We partner with our customers, suppliers, and peers to help all players in the value chain meet their sustainability goals, ensuring the positive impact of our products extends beyond our doors. Quantifiable goals we seek to achieve by 2030 include:



Zero Manufacturing Wastewater Discharge

We are investing in new wastewater treatment technologies, including reverse osmosis, ultra-filtration, and microbiological reactors. This system will not only reduce the amount of wastewater generated, but also decrease our consumption of fresh water by enabling reuse of treated water. The first full-scale implementation is under way at our Aubange, Belgium facility, where we expect to reduce water consumption by 45%, and wastewater generation by 90%. Global deployment will follow its successful completion.



50% Reduction of Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO2 Emissions

We currently source renewable electricity in our Singapore production site and will expand that practice to all production sites by mid-2023. In addition, we are working to reduce the energy intensity of our operations. Through the use of advanced instrumentation and automation in our plants, we continue to improve quality and consistency while giving our engineers the data needed to further optimize our processes. Future investments in heat integration will allow us to recover more of the energy put into production, minimizing waste.



50% Reduction of Solid Waste

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a simple mantra used by many organizations to espouse sustainable practices. We apply this thinking to minimize our manufacturing footprint and drive waste reduction in our global operations. Our production facilities have multiple recycling streams for incoming packaging, our processes are optimized to minimize the generation of scrap, and the same equipment being installed to improve water efficiency will also reduce solid waste by eliminating byproducts of wastewater processing.

Developing Sustainable Products With More Eco-friendly Materials

Michelman continually evaluates our products for materials which could have a negative environmental, health, or safety impact. Collectively, we refer to these materials as Substances of Concern (SoCs). We identify SoCs based on a variety of factors including expected regulatory action, heightened social awareness, unreasonable safety risk to our associates or our customers, and direct customer feedback.

We are replacing SoCs, including flammables, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other chemicals with environmentally friendly alternatives that are equally effective. Initiatives include transitioning to more bio-based and sustainable raw materials, monitoring evolving global regulatory needs, and collaborating with industry partners to develop comprehensive end-to-end solutions.


Enabling More Sustainable Solutions

We take a holistic approach to developing sustainable solutions within the various industries we serve. Whether enabling recyclable and compostable flexible food packaging, improving the quality, versatility, and efficiency of digital print runs, increasing the performance of composites which allow vehicles to weigh less, eliminating VOCs in commercial and industrial coatings, or protecting seeds to increase crop yields, we are motivated not only to improve the sustainability of our products, but also to help our customers achieve their sustainability goals.


Designing Packaging Structures for the Circular Economy

Escalating global concerns about the condition of our planet are creating a heightened sense of urgency among governments, industries, and consumers for the need to live sustainably and manufacture and consume products with minimal impact on the environment. With our ongoing commitment to Innovating a Sustainable Future, Michelman provides multiple alternatives that enable end-of-life solutions for both rigid and flexible packaging.

Whether you are working with film- or fiber-based substrates, or are transitioning from film to paper, our aqueous coatings can reduce the transmission of moisture vapor and oxygen, improve resistance to water, oil, and grease, allow for an airtight seal, and protect from marring and scratches. These coatings can replace less desirable materials, enabling packaging structures that are recyclable or compostable.

Expanding the Versatility and Efficiency of Digital Printing

The printed word is abundant in modern society. Whether reading a novel, a periodical, directions on how to assemble furniture, or nutritional information on a branded package, written content is printed on a wide variety of substrates. The technologies used to print content on these substrates have multiple implications for sustainability. Digital printing eliminates the need to create printing plates, and generates no appreciable paper or ink waste when starting jobs. The smaller runs enabled by digital printing also result in less excess inventory to dispose of when materials become obsolete.

Michelman’s water-based digital printing solutions contribute to the sustainability of printed materials. Our primers help reduce ink consumption and enable printing on a wider variety of substrates, including those created from recycled or renewably-sourced materials. Our OPV strengtheners increase the durability of printed materials, making digitally printed solutions viable in harsher environments than previously possible. And, our solutions provide these benefits without negatively impacting the inherent recyclability, repulpability, and/or compostability of the finished article.

Enabling High-Performance Composites for Lighter, More Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

The water-based fiber sizing solutions we have developed for the composites industry help our customers create more innovative and functional composite materials to enable continued metal replacement and down-gauging of materials. Additional product benefits include enhanced strength, lightweighting, impact resistance, durability, vibration damping, and corrosion resistance. When our products are used to help lightweight transportation vehicles, not only are fewer raw materials used in vehicle production, but also, over the life of the vehicle, less energy is consumed to power it.

Our sustainability contributions extend beyond enhanced product performance. Our solutions also enable SOC elimination and recycling via the reuse of recovered fibers. We work with our customers to ensure our products are efficient in their processes, thereby eliminating waste and other unwanted by-products, while offering their customers improved performance in the final application.

Leveraging Bio-based Additives to Reduce VOCs in Commercial & Industrial Coatings

Our performance-enhancing additives are used extensively in architectural and industrial coatings, as well as in automotive polish and high-traffic floor care solutions, to extend product life, protect packaging, improve care and maintenance, and generally protect a variety of metal, concrete, wood, and plastic surfaces.

Sustainability-focused efforts in these markets include the ongoing elimination of SOCs, reduction and elimination of VOCs, and increased use of bio-based raw materials in our formulations. Products in our NatureShield® line of additives for wood and concrete incorporate at least 50% naturally-derived content per ASTM D6866 testing and have earned USDA BioPreferred certification.

Our Growing Focus on Sustainable Agriculture

As crop production intensifies to meet escalating demand for food, feed, and fiber, Michelman is dedicated to finding ways of reducing the environmental impact of our agricultural products while simultaneously improving their performance. By developing products to help protect seeds through transportation and planting, Michelman has taken significant steps to help the agriculture industry meet the increasing demand for yield-enhancing products in a sustainable way.

Our next generation microplastic-free seed coating solutions perform as well, or better than, traditional microplastic-containing options. This allows seed companies to transition away from formulations containing microplastics without impacting seed flow and abrasion resistance, providing the dual benefits of ensuring maximum seed treatment adhesion and minimizing dust off.