Outokumpu surveys its stakeholders view on what are material issues in sustainability. For more information on our sustainability performance please see our latest Annual Report.
Being a global leader in stainless steel means that a large share of the global stainless steel demand is satisfied by Outokumpu. Therefore, because of our sustainability practices, the global society benefits overall. Our main areas of direct economic impact are our financial interactions with customers, suppliers, employees, the public sector, and shareholders. Outokumpu contributes to the well-being of local, national and international communities through tax payments, through direct and indirect employment and by participating in other societal activities.
See more about our economic impact in our sustainability data tool.
Our tax approach
As a global corporate citizen, we are fully committed to report and pay taxes in a timely manner, in compliance with local regulations in the countries where we create value. All transactions must have a solid business rationale in accordance with the corporate strategy. Our objective is to ensure predictability in all tax matters. We support competitive business growth in a tax efficient manner without compromising on tax compliance principles.
Outokumpu acknowledges that aggressive tax planning and artificial arrangements purely aiming at achieving tax benefits are not in line with good corporate citizenship and constitutes a direct threat to the company’s brand and reputation. Such arrangements are therefore strictly prohibited. No transaction is to be executed solely based on tax planning schemes. Tax is an integrated part of business processes.
Double taxation, i.e. when the same income is taxed in more than one country, is costly. If it occurs, mutual agreement procedures and other legal proceedings are used in order to eliminate double taxation.
Many Outokumpu production sites have long and interesting histories. For example, most of our sites in Finland, Germany, Sweden and in the UK have been in use by the metal industry and integral parts of their local communities for centuries already. It is natural for Outokumpu, as a major employer in several locations, to have a strong presence in local society and activities in many ways.
As a major employer, Outokumpu’s decisions may have significant impacts on the lives of local communities. In all these locations, the main impact comes from direct and indirect employment: we are economically important for local society through the incomes and taxes Outokumpu creates in the region. We maintain continuous cooperation with community officials and representatives, other commercial companies, schools and universities. We aim to actively listen to local communities.
Because of the restructuring of its industrial operations, Outokumpu has closed down some of its mills over in 2013–2016 in Germany and in Sweden. In all restructuring and layoffs Outokumpu has complied with local legislation, collective bargaining agreements and other applicable regulations. In some cases we have been able to find new positions for the employees in our other sites, and we have also arranged trainings and help in looking for new employment, while some employees have retired.
As a heavy industry company, Outokumpu has at least some local community engagement, impact assessment or development programs in every production location.
Our units have yearly discussions with neighbors or local community representatives on relevant topics such as employment environment, energy or sponsoring of local events.
Typically, Outokumpu also organizes open-door events at its production sites for neighbors. Based on feedback and participation in recent years, these events have been successes. The production units received a lot of good and constructive feedback, as well as some helpful ideas on how to reduce environmental impacts on the surrounding community.
Traffic loads also have an impact on local communities, with the Kemi-Tornio region and Sheffield being good examples. Our Tornio site has participated in the new railway connection project in northern Sweden, called the North Bothnia Line (Norrbotniabanan), which would mean a 270-km extension of the Bothnia Line north of Umeå to Luleå and would provide a new transport route for the Tornio plant. The detailed planning of the project is ongoing. In Sheffield, Outokumpu is located very close to the UK’s M1 motorway, and steps are being taken to ensure that our operations have minimal impact on this primary transportation route.
Local stakeholders are also taken into account in the Group’s emergency planning. In Sheffield, representatives of the local police force, fire and emergency services, and national health organizations have attended health and safety days organized for Outokumpu employees. In Avesta, Sweden, the renovation of our former, centuries-old production site, Koppardalen, received excellent feedback due to its efforts to preserve local cultural history. Yearly, 30,000 visitors visit the old mill building and art exhibition “Avesta Art”.
As part of its community engagement, some Outokumpu sites also continued their dialogue with environmental NGOs related to ongoing permit processes or other environmental issues. The Finnish Network for Sustainable Mining was founded in 2014. Network is a forum of discussion and co-operation for mining sector and its stakeholders. Network developed a new liability standard based on Canadian ”Towards Sustainable Mining” system. Kemi Mine committed to adopt the reporting system. Outokumpu aims to further increase transparency and information related to these and to our products’ sustainability properties.
Sponsoring and cooperation
In sponsorships, Outokumpu prioritizes connections to stainless steel, sustainability, talent and education. Outokumpu also makes discretionary donations for the common good as a responsible corporate citizen. These donations are approved by the Leadership Team or by the Board of Directors. Local sponsorship follows the same guidelines, and locally Outokumpu has sponsored for instance artworks by donating stainless steel, significant local projects and sports associations. Outokumpu does not take part in or otherwise support political activities, whether they are local or national.
Outokumpu supports research related to its field of industry and maintains close cooperation with educational institutes. Apprenticeships have been offered to local colleges and student placements have been made available in the form of one-year programs, and schoolchildren and local students have been introduced to our operations.
Outokumpu has also been among the founders of a number of national technology, research or educational funds. These funds support and promote university-level research and teaching and business opportunities. Examples of these type of funds are the Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation and the Fund for the Association of Finnish Steel and Metal Producers.
Associations and federations
Outokumpu is committed to sustainability and is a signatory to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) charter, follows and supports the United Nations Global Compact, and is an active member of the UN Global Compact Nordic Network. Outokumpu has signed the World Steel Association's Sustainable Development Charter and the ISSF’s Sustainable Stainless Charter.
Outokumpu is a member of international organizations and confederations, including International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF), International Chromium Development Association (ICDA), Eurofer, EUROALLIAGES and EUROSLAG. Outokumpu is also an associate member of the World Steel Association (worldsteel). Outokumpu provides relevant information to decision-makers and experts relating to the development of the business environment and legislation. Outokumpu also participates in the work of trade organizations.
Our public affairs practice is to communicate via industrial associations like Eurofer towards governing bodies and regulators. In these organizations, Outokumpu participates in different working groups whose aim is to provide expertise to help decision-makers. In these forums, members share best practices and obtain benchmark data relating to, among other things, the environment, R&D, product life cycles, product and chemical safety, and occupational safety. Members also contribute their own data for use in official industry or authority reports, such as the World Steel Association’s, its (International Stainless Steel Forum) ISSF’s and ICDA’s safety and sustainability reporting.
Outokumpu is a member of industrial federations and associations in Germany, Sweden, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, the US and Australia. These cooperation organizations advance industry views and contribute to national legislation. Outokumpu’s Kemi mine has also signed the Finnish sustainability mining commitment and reporting initiative Sustainable mining network.
Outokumpu is strongly committed to legal compliance and an ethical way of conducting business. Outokumpu’s Code of Conduct sets out these ethical standards and provides guidelines for a common way of working with the aim of ensuring that all Outokumpu employees live up to Outokumpu’s ethical standards.
The objective of Outokumpu’s compliance program is to ensure that Outokumpu and its employees comply with laws, regulations as well as Outokumpu’s internal policies and instructions. The program also aims to globally mitigate compliance risks for the corporation as well as for each individual employee by a set of preventive and supervisory measures. Raising awareness of and training on the Code of Conduct and its topics are central elements of the program. Outokumpu’s Code of Conduct sets zero tolerance for corrupt practices and requires compliance with applicable competition laws.
Outokumpu constantly develops its compliance program with special efforts in the defined key focus areas: competition law compliance, anti-corruption, trade compliance, data protection and corporate governance.
Compliance risks, including risks related to corruption, are assessed and reviewed annually and described in the Corporate Governance statement and Key risks section in our Annual report.
Outokumpu has an externally operated communication channel for reporting serious misconduct confidentially and, if desired, anonymously. The SpeakUp system is available both internally and for external stakeholders.