The Paris Climate Agreement provides for the almost complete elimination of global CO2 emissions by 2050. voestalpine also wishes to make an important contribution to tomorrow’s low-carbon economy. For this reason, and for other environmental and climate issues, a long-term, proactive approach is required: a strategic environmental management plan.
Although CO2 emissions can hardly be avoided at a technology and capital goods group involved in processing operations, voestalpine is regarded as an environmental pioneer in its industry. Environmental protection is of overriding importance to the Group, and therefore it is firmly anchored by a specific guiding principle in the corporate philosophy. Environmental statements published annually by the various voestalpine sites also offer detailed information about the measures which have been implemented, and the levels of expenditure for operational environmental protection.
Contact persons for environmental protection
However, the entire range of operational measures falls under the umbrella of strategic environmental protection: this includes all those proactive, long-term activities which reflect complex technical, economic, and societal issues. As it is naturally not easy to separate operational environmental protection from long-term environmental management, the two topics are jointly and centrally managed, namely in the corporate department of Strategic Environmental Management. Here, at the voestalpine headquarters in Linz, around 15 employees provide support to over 120 voestalpine production companies around the world in matters pertaining to the environment, on everything from waste to water management. Besides the framework conditions specified by government policy, the department clarifies internally what needs to be measured, monitored or complied with, and where. There is also a specific contact person for environmental issues in each of the four divisions of the voestalpine Group.
2018: an important year in the environmental sector
Over the past decades there have been major changes in the duties of the environmental managers at the voestalpine Group. Not just because environmental protection applies across the board and impacts all areas of the Group, but also because today’s strategic environmental management involves constant dialog with environmental organizations, decision makers, investors, customers, and other stakeholders. And lastly, 2018 in particular is a decisive year in terms of environmental protection: this year the energy and environmental policy framework for the coming decades will be set at global, European, and national level. An important task for strategic environmental management at voestalpine—and in other areas of the Group including research & development—will be to demonstrate what is technically feasible and economically achievable in this field.
"The cornerstones of the regulatory framework conditions are set through to 2030, but how the energy transition progresses from there remains open. CO2 emissions should be drastically reduced by 2050, and we will actively contribute to achieving this goal."