Meet our pioneers of colour: “If a company wants to be sustainable, everyone needs to participate”

Getting to work with sustainability gives a purpose, says our sustainability manager Elisabet Sahlin.

Elisabet Sahlin started her career as an environmental engineer 24 years ago, and now she leads our product sustainability team. We asked Elisabet about colour as a reformer.

“Sustainability is not a one-person job. If a company wants to be sustainable, everyone needs to participate, as every decision you make can either be sustainable or not. That is why I believe my biggest responsibility is to educate colleagues whenever I can.

Sustainability affects everything we do. In practice, we need to use resources in a responsible way, ensure social responsibility, and prevent all exploitation. On the other hand, it also means that the company needs to be able to continue to exist and prosper."

Elisabet Sahlin

The paint itself is the key to sustainability

"As a paint company, our responsibility is particularly heavy. Dealing with chemicals, we need to be sure our products are safe and produced in a safe way without harming people or the environment.

The paint itself is the key to sustainability: a product that doesn’t work can never be sustainable or have an ecolabel. A wall painted with poor paint needs to be painted again, and a paint that is not functional will be thrown away.

I’m happy about the reform we’ve been making. For over ten years, 99 per cent of our architectural products in Sweden have been water-borne instead of solvent-borne. We are constantly increasing the number of products that fulfil the requirements for ecolabels, such as the Nordic or EU Ecolabels."

Yellow stands for hope

"Getting to work with sustainability gives me a purpose. When I started working, the climate crisis was hardly a topic, but based on what we now know, and how we have been treating the earth, it is obvious we need to act.

When I think about colour and the symbolics that colours carry, I naturally wish for Tikkurila’s future to be green, but also see the future as yellow. For me, the colour yellow stands for hope.”