Outokumpu's firm objective is to minimize the environmental burden of the Group's operations as much as is economically and technically feasible. Environmental impacts always have to be analyzed per life span, not only by production phase. The use of stainless steel in modern society minimizes emissions by creating efficiency in for example transport, construction, industries and power plants. Therefore stainless steel is solution in combating climate change.
The most substantial environmental impacts that result from the production of stainless steel include emissions of dust and particles into the air, discharges of water from production plants, and direct and indirect energy consumption during production. Landfill waste is also created during the production process.
Our EHSQ and environmental policies form the basis of our environmental work. Our past achievements in minimizing environmental impact such as reduction of waste to landfills, world class energy efficiency, dust control, reduction of emissions to air and water and acid recycling improvements are great examples what innovative and persistent work can create.
Outokumpu's key environmental objectives are to prevent environmental incidents, to reduce emissions into water and air, to improve energy efficiency and to optimize the use of water. The enhanced use of recycled steel as raw material and the reduction of process waste are also important.
Outokumpu reports environmental performance annually: check our environmental performance in our reporting tool.
For more information on our environmental performance, please also check our latest reports.
Our environmental network follows closely the quarterly environmental performance of our operations, their permit status and legal compliance.
The company’s environmental network conducts internal site audits in the production units according to risk screening. In 2018, emissions and discharges were generally at normal levels within our environmental permits. There were 18 permit breaches, but all were temporary and insignificant. Outokumpu reported each incident to environmental authorities, carried out corrective actions immediately or resolved the incidents together with the authorities. No environmental damage was reported, and there were no significant environmental incidents.
All Outokumpu production sites have environmental permits and certified ISO 14001 environment management systems. The local supervising environment authority and independent ISO certification body are both auditing our production sites, environment permit conditions and compliance.
Outokumpu is not a party to any significant judicial or administrative proceeding concerning environmental issues, nor is it aware of any realized environmental risks that could have a material adverse effect on the company’s financial position.
Outokumpu did not receive any monetary or non-monetary sanctions in 2018.
During recent years, Outokumpu has completed restructuring and closures of its Kloster production site in Långshyttan, Sweden and production sites in Benrath and Bochum and the melt shop in Krefeld, Germany. These areas have been examined or are under examination in close cooperation with the authorities and communities. In Krefeld, some areas of the melt shop site are being revegetated to exclude the potential exposure route of soil to humans. Development on the future use of closed sites is ongoing.
Outokumpu follows emerging environmental initiatives and legislation closely to prepare for future changes. In 2018, we studied the following initiatives:
- EU CO2 emission trading rules post 2020
- EU Resource efficiency & Circular economy initiatives
- EU Non-toxic environment initiative
- Cobalt hazard classification proposal in the EU
- Ambient air standards in the US.
In case there are impacts from emerging legislation, Outokumpu analyzes the situation and takes action through industry associations and federations, such as EUROFER.