Edward Bulmer Natural Paints are one of our sponsors at the Big Tent Ideas Festival on 11th June at Queen Square, Bristol. Their concern for solutions for more equitable and sustainable systems chimes with the key themes of this year’s festival. Here, founder, Edward Bulmer, explains how greenwashing is on the rise in the design industry and why it is a problem.

Edward Bulmer has poured over 30 years of experience into every tin made, creating beautiful colours backed up by ecological principles. The plant-based recipes offer more than just a colour choice; the paints are highly breathable, healthy with no harmful VOCs or microplastics. Historically resonant yet robust for modern living, these pigment rich paints give outstanding coverage, are easy to apply and create an unrivalled finish.

We have BIG plans
Our mission is to change the paint industry with a solution for regenerative manufacturing based on ecology and the protection of nature’s biodiversity is at the core of all our product development.
We want to help build a fairer economy through a business model which prioritises value over cost, service over sales, local over global and kindness over exploitation.
We strive to make natural paint for the future to protect people and the planet and we want everyone involved in our business, employees, customers and stakeholders to be having a positive experience.

– Edward Bulmer

BIG Problem
When choosing paint, it’s becoming evident that the contents might not always be exactly what it says on the tin! Many claim to be ‘eco-friendly’ or contain low levels of VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) but when you look further, there is more to it than meets the eye.

Greenwashing is a big issue in the design and paint industry and at this present time it’s so important to get the facts right. We have noticed a rise in the practice of greenwashing which is extremely misleading for consumers. Like whitewashing, it is a device used to deflect ‘heat’, in this case to give the impression that something embodies an intent to be ecologically or environmentally responsible – the term many use is ‘eco-friendly’.

Basically, paint is called eco-friendly when it is water-based, despite almost all paints containing resin binders that are forms of acrylic, vinyl or alkyd – all polymers that are derived from petro-chemicals. Also, for the record all paint is water based, that is how paint is made! So, while the world’s governments now accept that using fossil fuels, fossil sources and petro-chemicals must be reduced to be eco-friendly and address the climate emergency, the paint and coatings industry apparently does not.
Greenwashing is on the rise – it is a useful tool for companies to deflect criticism or attention while they figure out how to address future production without fossil derived materials and carbon emitting processes. It is not necessary however, if the plans to meet this reduction in environmental damage stack up and are acted on within an urgent time frame.

So, we have always strived to give our customers as much information as possible for them to make an informed decision. We are the only paint brand on the market that uses plant-based binders, the alternative is a polymer derived binder, which is full of micro-plastics and other nasties. We use our plant-based binder to bring all our natural ingredients together and then inject this base white paint with a combination of our mineral and earth pigments.

“I think that the paint industry could lead the charge for the appropriate use of plastic by switching to natural binders. Currently, it uses a lot of water, a fair amount of theoretically recyclable packaging and writes ‘eco-friendly’ on the tin. This is basic compliance, but it must go further. Legislation always helps when an entire industry needs to change and the first and obvious step to this is to make a clear declaration of ingredients mandatory.”

– Edward Bulmer, Founder of Edward Bulmer Natural Paint

Website: www.edwardbulmerpaint.co.uk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edwardbulmerpaint/

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