Sustainability in the sealants and adhesives market

by Madelein
Sustainability in the sealants and adhesives market

Sustainability has become an essential value proposition in the adhesives and sealants market. Manufacturers in this sector need to continually take steps to advance transparency and rigor to meet stakeholder demands.

According to the newest report issued by Credence Research, Inc. “Global Adhesives & Sealants Market – Growth, Future Prospects and Competitive Analysis, 2018-2026,” the global Adhesives & Sealants market estimated at US$ 51 745.3 Mn in 2017, is supposed to grow at the CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 4.9% from 2018 to 2026.

• Adhesives hold at least two substrates together in a strong and permanent manner
• Sealants perform the same function but also fill the gap between two substrates to block the passage of air, water and/or chemicals. It usually has movement capabilities as well.
• Adhesives and sealants are often made of similar materials and are sometimes used in similar applications in end-use industries such as paperboard & packaging, building & construction, woodworking & joinery, automotive & transportation, etc.


Water-based adhesives are the largest segment because of their versatility and reasonable price, followed by solvent-based adhesives. The increasing demand for environmentally-friendly adhesives acts as an opportunity for market water-borne segment growth. Water-based adhesives are free of toxic elements and hazardous organic elements, thus fulfilling the regulations. Consumption of solvent-based adhesives is declining in developed countries owing to strict VOC (volatile organic compound) emission regulations.

Sharon Margon, Technical Advice Supervisor at TAL, says that cementitious tile adhesives are comprised mainly of ordinary Portland cement and other inorganic minerals, such as silica, calcite and/or dolomite, which makes them inorganic in nature and therefore produce no organic emissions.

“The fraction which may contribute organic emissions generally comprises 1 – 6% of polymer powders which are also organic in nature,” says Sharon.


A variety of terminology and criteria has emerged from manufacturers who want to not only differentiate themselves in the market, but also meet the expectations of their clients. Everything from bio-based and bio-renewable to recyclable labels can create confusion among product formulators and end users about their meaning and their impact on the quality of the product.

Verifying claims of bio-based products
The Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN) pioneered the bio-based certification scheme that is used to specify and validate the amount of biomass in a product. It is based on the European Standard EN 16785-1 and the certification provides a method to determine the bio-based content of solid, liquid and gaseous products using radiocarbon analysis and elemental analysis. NEN-approved certification bodies can undertake certification audits, which gives manufacturers a way to prove that their products meet key specifications.


Consumer companies like IKEA have committed to using only renewable and recycled materials by 2030 as part of their pledge to the circular economy. Big commitments like this will drive the impact upstream, leading manufacturers and formulators to continue to find ways to not only produce greener adhesives and sealants, but also effectively measure sustainability throughout their value chain.

A tool that enables this measurement is the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a methodology for assessing environmental burdens across the entire product cycle. The LCA helps manufacturers improve their product’s overall environmental impact and verify their sustainability claims.

Some specialty chemical companies are using the LCA methodology to meet more stringent specifications. Interface, the modular carpet manufacturer wanted to create a more eco-conscious carpet tile backing so they selected global specialty chemical company, Kraton, based on their broad bio-based portfolio to collaborate with them for a greener product.

Michael Berg, Business Manager at Den Braven, says that CE markings, test references and approval institutes are currently used to track the environmental performance of products. “We focus on more environmentally conscious production techniques at our factories, modified and improved formulations, as well as optimisation with a holistic and responsible sustainability approach,” says Michael.

Reducing waste
There are a number of options to reduce waste within a sealants and adhesives business.

“Recyclable cartridges, nozzles and smarter packaging contribute to waste reduction at Den Braven,” says Michael.

Specialised tip: Consumption of solvent-based adhesives is declining in developed countries owing to strict VOC emission regulations.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.credenceresearch.com, www.marketwatch.com, www.adhesivesmag.com, www.denbraven.co.za and www.tal.co.za for some of the information contained in this article.

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