Honour ... Page (left) receives the award for Ecoplus.

SIGMA Paints’ eco initiatives have paid off yet again with its Sigmacryl Ecoplus winning a green accolade in Qatar.
At the Qatar Today Green Awards (QTGA) 2010, the company’s Sigmacryl Ecoplus, an environment-friendly paint with zero VOCs (volatile organic compounds), was conferred a runner-up award in the Green Product or Service category.

The event held in Doha saw good participation from all sectors with more than 80 large and small organisations engaged in diverse products and services, competing for the awards.

Initiatives included recycling of used equipment, upgrading the education curriculum to include environmental studies and process-related eco-endeavours, such as carbon neutral constructions.

The awards were instituted by Qatar Today, the flagship publication of Oryx Advertising Company. Since its launch in 2008, Qatar Today Green Awards has recognised a broad spectrum of environmental activities.

“Winners of the third edition of Green Awards 2010 were chosen in each of the nine categories through a two-tier selection process by a select panel of renowned environment experts comprising Dr Benno Boer from Unesco, Dr Nobuyuki Yamaguchi from Qatar University, Kanchan Ghoshal, KPMG, Deena Al Abdullah and Katrin Scholtz-Barth – Sustainable Qatar,” says Malcolm Page, the general manager of Sigma Paints Qatar.

Sigmacryl Ecoplus, which was launched on the Qatar market recently, has attracted significant interest from Dohaland and Qatar Foundation, he adds.

Sigma’s marketing manager for the Middle East Antoine Lejuez points out that the paint manufacturer has a long history of producing environmentally-sound products. “We are achieving success by incorporating green values into our production and are leading the way towards green thinking in a broader spectrum, being a role model in this region,” he says.

According to Lejuez, Sigmacryl Ecoplus stands out in the “green paints” sector as it combines superior sustainability, durability and performance. It has the highest European certification with verified low impact on the environment, without jeopardising the technical features of the product.

“Sigmacryl Ecoplus – the first ‘zero VOC’  paint system in the Gulf – represents the highest sustainability paint concept in the Middle East,” says Steven Rijkaard, brand manager for Dammam-based Sigma Middle East.

The product launched early last year followed Sigma’s introduction of the Eco Protection concept, a wide ecological product line bearing the eco protection label that indicates the products are water-based, lead-free and contain low amounts of VOCs.

Sigmacryl Ecoplus is a leap forward in Sigma’s compliance with the highest environmental standards. These water-based products are absolutely ‘clean’ paints with no harmful substances that can affect human health, Rijkaard states.
“It provides many benefits to various client segments, amidst an increasing awareness of sustainability and a change in consumer behaviour,” he says.

Rijkaard elaborates on the cost benefits that can be derived by using this range of paints. “To the professional painter,” he says, “Sigmacryl Ecoplus helps cut costs due to its high opacity and scrub-resistance qualities, which translates into good coverage with a smaller quantity, in addition to less damage to the environment.

“The high durability feature contributes to extended maintenance that in the long run again means less environmental burden and a reduced need for paint and therefore, cost for the painter (subject to maintenance contract), property owner and end-user.

“The abundant colour options give an added value for all segments. End-users, in particular, will appreciate the health-promoting properties coupled with the sustainable colour and design flexibility afforded by the zero-VOC paint.”
The Sigmacryl Ecoplus product range carries the EU Eco-label – the ‘Flower’ – which represents a unique certification meeting the most stringent environment rules in Europe.

Meanwhile, Sigma Paints, which was the first company in the Middle East to introduce plastic paint drums to the market, has launched a new packaging design in the shape of visually striking plastic drums.

Sigma aims to establish the new corporate identity through the new packaging design for its entire product range. The design, which is highly aesthetic, incorporates:

Colour codes, which indicate the product groups, enabling purchasers and users to quickly identify from a distance whether the drum contains a primer, emulsion texture, solvent-based, varnish or other products;
Gloss levels identification by colour – so within the range a flat, satin or other gloss rate can easily be identified without needing to read the text;
Practical self-explanatory symbols on the back label, indicating if the product is water-based, can be used inside, outside or both and how to apply it. “No explanation is needed, the symbols speak for themselves,” says Rijkaard;
The Eco-label, which is on all the water-based products.

“This apart, the packaging for the decorative finishes and the wood varnishes are distinctive in that the label itself shows the effect created by the product or the finish provided by wood varnish on a wooden surface,” he says.

“This new design will change the face of merchandising,” he says. “The drums displayed on the shelves will have a high visual impact, making it very easy to select a product.”

The drums were rolled into the market last November.