Environmental protection in operations 3 minutes spent reading

Environmental protection in operations

Volkmar Held
As a freelance writer, Volkmar Held reports for voestalpine on topics that move people. The content of his stories ranges from archaeometallurgy to future technologies.

From A for “air quality” to Z for “zero emissions”, the ABCs of corporate environmental protection cover an extensive range of tasks.

Environmental protection concerns everyone, and technology and industrial companies are no exception. It is particularly important when the manufacturing technologies used require high energy input—as do many production stages in voestalpine companies.

Villares Metals

Environmental protection at Villares Metals in Brazil

Corporate environmental protection

The Group therefore ensures highly efficient and sustainable use of energy, raw materials, and auxiliary materials, in line with corporate responsibility logic for environmental protection and business management. Another focus is on avoiding possible harmful effects of production on the climate and the environment.

The range of tasks for operational environmental protection is broad. The German Works Constitution Act (BetrVG) defines that environmental protection in the establishment comprises

“all personnel and organizational measures as well as all measures relating to the establishment’s buildings, rooms, technical equipment, working methods, working processes and workplaces that serve the protection of the environment”
Federal Republic of Germany: BetrVG, Section 89(3), 2001

Key aspects of environmental protection

The focal points of environmental protection in companies include:

  • Efficient use of energy to achieve the highest possible usable result from the energy used (electricity, gas, coke…),
  • Air pollution control by minimizing gas emissions, filtering dust, and effectively damping plant noise,
  • Water management that contributes to the lowest possible abstraction and discharge of water for industrial processes,
  • Waste and recycling management that recycles as many materials as possible in the production cycles and disposes of waste that cannot be avoided in an environmentally sound manner.

Given the many different tasks, corporate responsibility at voestalpine is strategically oriented. The Group’s environmental management also includes promoting environmental awareness among employees and stakeholders, selecting environmentally optimized technologies and materials, optimizing logistics, and auditing suppliers’ production processes and products for environmental compatibility and sustainability.

Environmental protection pays off

For voestalpine, as for all companies, corporate environmental protection involves high investments. These investments serve to protect the environment for us and future generations and also to secure the future of the site. The Group’s environmental investments and expenses break down as follows: 50% on air pollution control measures, 26% on waste recycling, treatment & disposal, and 20% on water protection.

Corporate environmental protection also helps to secure positions and new opportunities in a market where awareness for products which are manufactured ecologically responsibly is constantly increasing.

Environmental protection measures in the companies

The voestalpine production companies are aware of their corporate responsibility and have been taking targeted measures for years to minimize the effects on the environment and to meet the highest standards.

More on the topic environment: http://www.voestalpine.com/environment

Volkmar Held