Systematic environmental protection worldwide
For thyssenkrupp, environmental protection is a must. Our sites around the world utilize state-of-the-art environmental protection technologies. We invest continuously in equipment such as dust filters, wastewater treatment facilities, and oil separators. Our ongoing investment in environmental protection also includes measures at our local sites in the areas of waste management and recycling, air pollution control, noise control, energy, climate, soil and water protection, and nature conservation.
We have summarized this policy in five guiding principles:
- Environmental and climate protection and energy efficiency are important corporate objectives.
- We promote environmentally friendly and energy-efficient products and services.
- Environmental protection, energy efficiency, and the conservation of resources is a task for everyone.
- We comply with legal obligations and other requirements.
- We conduct an open dialogue.
To meet these aims we have installed Groupwide management processes, set out targets, and formulated a global environment and energy policy.
Continuous improvement process
Our approach to continuously improving environmental protection is based on a direct exchange of experience, clear responsibilities, and systematic internal monitoring and control processes. Environmental protection, energy efficiency, and climate protection are viewed as an integrated whole. At regular network meetings, the Group’s environmental protection community exchange notes on best practices, new topics, and management issues. To support them, we provide targeted training programs, such as the training of internal auditors.
Environmental management to ISO 14001
Our binding target for environmental protection is for all Group companies with environmentally relevant operations to have implemented an environmental management system in line with the international standard ISO 14001 by the 2019/2020 fiscal year. This will ensure that environmental protection at our sites is systematically developed through a continuous improvement process. This internal target currently applies to over 70 companies, 77 percent of which already comply with the standard. This means that more than 50 percent of thyssenkrupp’s total workforce is already covered by ISO 14001.
Risk management at thyssenkrupp addresses both material and financial risks. We pursue a systematic and efficient approach based on the principle of subsidiarity. Specific environment, climate, and energy risk categories help the Group companies identify and manage their risks. The corresponding risks are documented in the risk report.
One of the key resources for our production processes is water. At many of our sites, we have introduced sophisticated water recycling and treatment systems to reduce both water consumption and wastewater contamination. As a result, the majority of our water consumption and wastewater generation is accounted for by once-through cooling at large sites located directly on rivers whose water can be used for cooling without significantly affecting the water temperature. Remaining requirements are obtained from public utilities and our own water wells. The increase in water consumption and wastewater between 2011/2012 and 2013/2014 was due mainly to the ramp-up of the steel mill in Brazil and the reintegration of stainless steel production in Italy.
Avoiding, using, and recycling waste
For thyssenkrupp resource efficiency also means using materials effectively, avoiding waste wherever possible, and seeing byproducts and waste materials from the production process as raw materials. Intensive efforts are made around the world to find alternative uses wherever possible for waste that can no longer be used in our own processes.
In resource-intensive steel production, for example, all iron-containing byproducts such as dusts are collected and returned to the process as far as possible. Slags are used as valuable raw materials in the cement industry and road construction.