Outokumpu Krefeld: Talks about sustainability and climate protection with North Rhine-Westphalian minister Mona Neubaur

March 20, 2023

Outokumpu Krefeld: Talks with North Rhine-Westphalian minister Mona Neubaur about sustainability and climate protection

Today, Mona Neubaur, Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy and Deputy Prime Minister of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, met for talks with company representatives at the Outokumpu mill in Krefeld.

The entire steel industry is facing the huge challenge of becoming more sustainable and making the production processes of the future climate-neutral. With a carbon footprint that is already 70 percent lower than the global industry average, Outokumpu takes a leading role towards more sustainability and climate protection and has set ambitious targets. Already in 2021, the company has committed to the 1.5°C climate target of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and is still the only stainless steel manufacturer having committed to these ambitious CO2 reductions. And currently, the certification procedures according to the standards of ResponsibleSteel are ongoing for all European production sites.

With launching the new product line Circle Green, Outokumpu has set a further milestone in sustainability. With Circle Green, the total CO2 emissions (scopes 1, 2 and 3) could be reduced by around 90 percent compared to the global industry average. This means that our customers save with this product more than 5 tons of CO2 emissions per ton of stainless steel compared to the global industry average of around 6.1 tons of CO2 emissions per ton of stainless steel. For the respective transparency, Outokumpu provides its customers with so-called Product Carbon Footprints (PCF) for all of the company's products, i.e. product-specific information on the total emissions along the production chain, which include scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and do not comprise any climate compensation (offsetting).

“We have a strong track record of sustainability. With Circle Green, we are now setting completely new standards for sustainable stainless steel and can show how environmentally friendly stainless steel can already be produced today,” says Stefan Erdmann, Chief Technology Officer & Group Sustainability. “But for us, sustainability is not just an end in itself. Our development efforts directly benefit our customers: in the end, the lowest possible CO2 emissions also improve their carbon footprint through reduced emissions from the upstream supply chain and thereby make our customers’ products more sustainable.”

Minister Mona Neubaur in the Outokumpu training center.

Mona Neubaur, Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy: "To secure the industry in North Rhine-Westphalia in the long term and continue our state's success story we need strategies for decarbonization and resource efficiency. As the state government, we support energy-intensive companies with tailor-made funding instruments and support offers to master the major challenges of the climate-neutral transformation. I am therefore very pleased that Outokumpu is massively saving CO2 in steel production here in Krefeld with the Product Carbon Footprint. It shows how the transformation of our industry can succeed.”

Sustainability plays an important role at Outokumpu's mill in Krefeld, where the Circle Green material, which is manufactured in Tornio, Finland, is processed according to customer specifications. Investments of in total around 7 million euros are planned for different energy efficiency projects. These investments should help to further optimize our already efficient processes. Outokumpu has set itself the target of increasing energy efficiency by a total of 8 percent in 2023 and 2024, and with this reducing significantly the consumption of resources per ton of stainless steel produced. In addition, Outokumpu is currently investigating the feasibility of a biocoke plant to generate regeneratively gas from waste wood.

"We check regularly all options for making our production even more sustainable," says Dr. Cem Kurutas, Managing Director and Head of Operations Krefeld. "This applies to the recovery of heat from our production processes as well as to measures with which we can save resources and promote biodiversity at our sites." To support the latter, the “bee meadows” which have been successfully planted at the Outokumpu mill in Dillenburg a few years ago will soon also grow in Krefeld.

The new plant for producing high-quality stainless steel powder for additive manufacturing, which was set up in cooperation with the SMS group in Krefeld, is about to start production. This metal powder atomization plant converts stainless steel scrap into high-quality powder, which is used, amongst others, for the metallic 3D printing of components in the aerospace, automotive, oil and gas or tool industries. This does not only open up a new customer segment for Outokumpu. The plant is also a further building block for more sustainability. Because the stainless steel scrap, which is completely recycled here, is residual material from our own mills.

“What we as a company do for sustainability today will determine how the world of tomorrow will look like. That is why Outokumpu's sustainability strategy does not only reach people's heads, but also their hearts," summarizes Managing Director and Labor Director Henrik Lehnhardt.

Group from left to right: Stefan Erdmann (Outokumpu, Chief Technology Officer & Group Sustainability), Marc Blondin (Member of the NRW State Parliament), Meral Thoms (Member of the NRW State Parliament), Guido Görtz (Member of the NRW State Parliament), Mona Neubaur (Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy), Henrik Lehnhardt (Outokumpu, Managing Director and Labor Director), Dr. Max Menzel (Outokumpu, Head of Sustainability & Technical Customer Service), Hasim Cantürk (Outokumpu, Chairman of the Works Council) und Dr. Cem Kurutas (Outokumpu, Managing Director and Head of Operations Krefeld)

For more information please contact:

Claudia Fischer, Communications Manager Germany, tel. +49 (0) 176 56907575, e-mail claudia.fischer(at)outokumpu.com