Here are some frequently asked questions, please also find our glossary at the bottom of this page.

General - Product information - Terms


What is the difference between CO2 and CO2e?

It is not just CO2 that is released when burning fuel or producing raw material or products. Also other Greenhouse gases are released like Methane CH4, and Nitrogen oxides N2O etc. These gases warm our planet more than CO2 and a way of expressing this is to talk about CO2e which means emission of all Greenhouse gases not just CO2. We use CO2e in all our calculations.

What benefits do I have by switching to S-W plant-based coatings?

S-W water-based plant-based coatings contain up to 40% plant-based materials. There are many benefits by switching to plant-based products. Our cradle to gate lifecycle analysis shows customers can reduce dependency on fossil based raw materials, the VOCs of our waterbased plant-based coatings range has lower VOC and our plant-based products can reduce the Carbon Footprint potential by up to 40%.

How much is 10 metric tons of CO2e equal too?

It’s equivalent to driving 4,5 cars for one year or driving one petrol powered car 84 000 km.

What does plant-based mean?

It means that some of the raw materials for our resins originates from plant-based sources, as opposed to fossil fuel sources.  For our water-based plant-based products range, up to 40% comes from plant based sources, including soybean oil, food waste, castor oil and technical corn.

What does CFP mean?

CFP means Carbon Footprint which is the amount of CO2e that is released into the atmosphere because of the activities of a person, an organization or a product being made. It is expressed in kg CO2e.

Product information

Can you give an example of what renewable raw materials are used to make our Biobased products?

There are a lot of different raw materials used. Some examples are Soyabean oil, fermentation of food waste and molasses.

What is the CFP potential saving?

Using the CFP for coating 1m², switching from a 100% fossil based solvent borne product to a partly plant based waterborne product can reduce CO2 emission potential by up to half. Further reductions in CO2 emission potential can be achieved by using a partly plant based waterborne UV product. 

Why do the WB Bio raw materials have a lower VOC?

They are usually made with a more modern production technology which means less use of VOC.

Do we have Bio-based for Solvent Based (SB) products?

No, we have concentrated on WB, WBUV and UV products since they reduce the carbon footprint emission potential by up to 50% vs Solvent based products already from the start. Making water-based products, plant-based offers an additional 30-40% reduction in CFP potential.

Does Biobased have the same performance as fossil-based products?

Yes, we have more than 250 biobased products in our range right now and all of them has been verified to have the same performance as the fossil-based version.

Why don’t we use cradle to grave in our calculations?

Cradle to gate focuses on the key elements of coating production over which we have the most control.  We have chosen to do the calculations based on what we know and can influence as part of our sourcing, development, manufacturing and logistics processes.

How were the LCA calculations determined for the products?

The Sherwin-Williams sustainability team calculated the LCA for all of our products. Please contact your local Sherwin-Williams representative for a discussion about your sustainability drivers.

What Carbon Footprint Potential (CFP) are our Bio-Based products estimated to have?

For most WB, WBUV and UV products our cradle to gate LCA shows CFP potential is around 30-40% lower compared to standard fossil based products. For example CFP for a white pigmented fossil-based WB topcoat is around 2 kg CO2e per kg product. CFG for an equivalent fossil-based SB topcoat is around 4 kg CO2e per kg product.

What C14 content do our products have?

For 1k WB products we will have up to 40% C14. For WBUV we will have up to 20% and for UV it will be up to 10%. To see the exact value please look in our TDS.

Term explanation

What does cradle to gate mean?

It’s the total CFP generated until the product leaves our manufacturing site. It includes CFP from both our suppliers, that make the raw materials, and those generated from our processes.

What does Mass balance (MB) mean?

Mass balance MB, It’s about mixing fossil and renewable or recycled raw materials (RMs) in a factory. Those paying for MB will get a certificate they are buying renewable RMs. Requires 3rd party audits for verification of certification. Very small amounts of C14 can be detected since it’s being distributed in everything that is being made. Only the party paying for MB will get the certificate. Same principle as Green/renewable electricity. We are not using MB right now. Only raw material with C14 that can be detected with an analysis.

What is Carbon 14?

Carbon 14 is an isotope of normal Carbon 12 which indicates that it is of renewable origin. Fossil based products only contain C12.