At voestalpine, environmental sustainability is more than simply reducing CO2 emissions. We use life cycle assessment and state-of-the-art methods to record all environmental impacts.
How much energy is consumed to produce one ton of hot-dip galvanized steel strip at our Linz site? How much water? And how much does production contribute to global warming? The answers to these and other ecological questions can be found in our environmental product declarations. These declarations are at the center of our life cycle assessments.
Overview of the entire supply chain
We have a long tradition of conducting life cycle assessments. For years, we have been using this method to determine the environmental impact of our products. It requires taking a holistic approach and recording all environmental impacts over the entire life cycle of our products and over the entire value chain. After all, extracting and processing raw materials and supplying energy also have an impact on the environment.
Steel’s ecological footprint
When viewed holistically, a life cycle assessment shows that steel has clear strengths and advantages. Steel is never used up, and can always be returned to the material cycle. Viewed over the entire life cycle, this reduces its ecological footprint. 100% of the steel produced is recyclable and can be found in virtually all areas of life. 75% of all the steel products ever made are still in use and can be recycled over and over again. 16% of CO2 emissions per ton of crude steel have been reduced since 1990.
There are a large number of ecological aspects other than the CO2 footprint that we take into account in life cycle assessment. These include primary energy demand, water consumption, and acidification potential. It is important to consider all the relevant environmental indicators in order to identify burden shifts, i.e., shifts between the indicators or the life cycle phases. For example, when the environmental impact during use is reduced, but the use of alternative technologies or other materials in production increases the environmental impact.
Life cycle assessment a necessity in many areas
Whether in the automotive industry, the construction industry, or public procurement, life cycle assessment is now a specific requirement in many supply chains and business sectors and is increasingly becoming a decision-making criterion.
The challenge here is to ensure that the data and methods can be compared. This is what environmental product declarations do. They are based on international standards and are checked, verified, and published by independent third parties. This makes them an ideal instrument for neutrally and objectively determining and presenting environmental impacts. We have drawn up and published environmental product declarations for many of our products. We also closely monitor international developments in the field of life cycle assessment and comply with initiatives such as the EU Commission’s recommendation on the use of the environmental footprint methods.
"Life cycle assessment gives us a holistic view of our products. It’s all about the big picture."
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As a globally leading steel and technology group, we bear a lot of responsibility. We are all working with great passion and know-how to shape our future as a global company, and to lead by example. Instead of just talking about innovations, we show them in a human context.