SwedCham HK’s Sustainability Platform consists of 15-20 companies, all committed to adopt sustainable business practices in Hong Kong and beyond. We have given the committee members a chance to further explain their ambitions and thoughts on the subject. Their views are presented as a series of sustainability stories on our website every week. This week’s story comes from Joakim Cimmerbeck  at Eicó, a paint manufacturing company with a large focus on quality and environmentally friendly products.

How would you describe the way you work with sustainability in your company today?

– Eico is one of the most sustainable paint makers in the world. We as one of the few companies are looking at the processes from cradle to grave. For example, we do not use fossil fuel in production. We only produce in locations where there is no water shortage and also the quality of water is very pure. That in combination means that our products will make, already at the production stage, a significantly smaller carbon footprint – and thereby reducing the risk of our production having negative effects on the environment.

Adding to this, we are also very focused on what goes into our paint. We constantly improve and work to lessen our impact. As an example, we are soon to use food waste binders and food waste acrylics. Most of our competitors are still using petrochemical products. Additionally, we are APEA as well as MI free, differently to our competitors.

As we are mainly a product providing company, a lot of what we do is focused on improving our products and continuously reducing our impact. Sustainability is eternal and we can all improve.

We also promote sustainability in many different ways. Presentations in schools and workplaces. We support many sustainable and socially aware projects in all locations we have established. In HK we have helped Chinese International School to build a sustainable vegetable garden. We arrange beach cleaning. We collaborate with other companies that share our ethos. In short, every single aspect of what we undertake in the name of Eico, according to our own Eico standard, has to be sustainable and/or socially aware.

It is not a “do-good” thing. It is an all business. If companies, as well as individuals, ignore to change we will have nothing left. Change for the better is the only way to survive as a business.

Tell us about your own journey within sustainability!

– Being Swedish it is really hard not to have a sustainable mind. The brainwashing that most of us been exposed to during our informative years will make an impact. I do not think standing screaming on a soapbox is very effective or even very smart. You will get a following, but you will not change a lot. So my journey has had very little screaming and aggressively forcing my view on my surroundings, but the road to a better way of life is nevertheless straight and focused. As a former investment banker, I have had the fortune of earning some money and all of that is now spent on doing good. I have been given a chance to make a difference and I took it!

What made you join SwedCham HK´s Sustainability Committee?

– I bullied my way into the committee with the sole purpose to let everyone that cares (I suspected that in a sustainability group that would be easy) know that we really do need to look at what surrounds us and how it is made. We are immersed in paint products most of the time yet we do not know or even worse care.

How would you like to help make Hong Kong and the world more sustainable?

– I wish I could make enough money by selling Eico products so I can focus harder and more on making a real difference. Modern life is all about how much money you have as that will dictate what you can afford to do!

But before that can happen I have more modest targets such as to convince all in my immediate surroundings to use a better decorative product based on knowledge about the risks and benefits. If that ends up being Eico I am happy. However, first and foremost I want us all to question the providers we use. By changing what we consume we can change the world. Standing on soapboxes are little bit more than self-marketing!

If I can help to change the way we procure I have succeeded. It is at the end of the day all about knowledge. The lack and the unwillingness to obtain knowledge are what make many companies a lot of money.