11 October 2019

Blanchon eco-produces eco-responsible paints and varnishes!

Independent French company Blanchon specializes in innovative, high-tech paints and varnishes. As the market leader with a 64% share, the company prides itself on local, environmentally friendly production and eco-responsible products. Today the company is known for its combative stance, being the only one with a range that is 100% HQE (high quality environment) compliant.

Blanchon’s commitment to sustainable development is not just talk. It involves a policy that underpins the values of a determinedly sustainable company, founded almost 200 years ago by directors from the rural world. Even back then, they paid every attention to their environment.

Eco-responsible products, 100% Blanchon

“Today, 80% of our paints and varnishes are water based, with more than a hundred carrying the European Ecolabel*. Our initiative in this direction was cemented more than 30 years ago. Now it is bearing fruit in a context of ecological transition,” explains Blanchon’s Sales Manager Guillaume Uni. It’s a visionary company. Already, in 1950, it modified the formulation of its solvent products, transitioning them to aqueous phase. In 1982, Xylodhone®, the first lindane-free protective coating, was launched on the market. In 1992, on its launch, Aquarethane®, a range of surface coatings, varnishes, and hard glazing products obtained the NF Environment label. Since 2004, the company has been engaged in a “Haute Quality Environmentale®” (high environmental quality) initiative in which it controls the whole of a product’s lifecycle. For Guillaume Uni it’s an essential approach. “Our business relies on chemical mixtures, so it is vital that we manage each manufacturing stage ourselves. We make our own raw materials in the Saint-Quentin-Fallavier factory in the Isère department; we can thus monitor the toxicological profile of all our products.” Blanchon’s excellence has been long recognized. Many conformity labels, including the famous German “Blaue Engel” (blue angel) label awarded in 1988, have already validated this meritorious approach.

Biosourced chemicals to become even greener

All the company’s products combine technical performance with ecology. In 2009, when the biosourced concept was still finding its feet, Blanchon created the first hard coating for floorboards based on biomass. Since then, petroleum-based raw materials have been gradually replaced by biosourced products such as vegetable oils. Worlds away from the chemical industry approach, it’s a new vision arising from biomass. These products are indeed much more than simple alternatives to solvent-based materials. “We operate in the B2B market. Our customers are very demanding when it comes to performance and product quality. They were very quickly won over by our hard coating solution. It was lauded at the latest Plant Based Summit, held last May in Lyon, which brought together the main stakeholders in the biosourced products market.”

One step further with eco-production

Today, a genuine eco-production policy is in full swing. An approach which, Guillaume Uni says, frowns on greenwashing: “We are determined to keep our carbon footprint under control. This year, our greenhouse gas emissions are down 22% on the previous year.”

The company’s five manufacturing plants, four in France and one in Italy, all work in “zero air-soil-water waste” mode.

Labo BLANCHON (2).jpg

Tankers instead of drums are used for the transfer products between factories, dispensing with unnecessary containers. The lorries are fitted with a double deck to allow twice the load, improving their eco-transport rating. The company is also committed to eco-consumption, putting an end to pointless overwraps, plastic, cardboard, and other expendables. Last but not least, the new company HQ, raised in 2016, is certified “BBC” (low consumption building). The approach is comprehensive, reaching throughout the company’s organization and global operation.

Safety and environment, an innovation lever

Innovation is a driving force in the company, 30% of whose turnover comes from products developed in the last four years. To achieve that, it has put its money where its mouth is with 4 laboratories. One of them is dedicated to fundamental research. Another, unique in Europe, specializes in air quality measurement, assessing Blanchon products’ compliance with European standards as well as testing new raw materials prior to product design. To assist Blanchon in its furthering of user safety and environmental friendliness, it has teamed up with a whole range of partners, the Plant-based Chemicals Association, the IAR, the Bioeconomy cluster, Axelera, and others.

Reaching out to the world

Today, France is a step ahead in the market for eco-responsible products. Many countries still use solvent-based products, for example in exterior and interior finishes. Although water-based products represent 80% of sales in France, the North American trend is quite the opposite. With presence already in 55 countries across all six continents, Blanchon’s ambition is not to stop there but to firmly implant its good environmental practices even wider.

*the only official European ecology label that can be used in all member states of the European Union

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