Creating a sustainability framework is one thing. Filling it with life and integrating it into everyday work is another. Authentic values and impactful projects help make this approach a success.
In the last few blog posts, we have already written in great detail about the background to inSPire: About the necessity of the sustainability framework and its goals, the guiding vision and mission behind the endeavor, and key areas of focus. But a framework works best when it is filled with life and integrated into its environment. And that is exactly what we have done: We have imbued it with values that our employees can identify with, in both their professional and private lives, as well as projects that express these values in a tangible way.
Rootedness is what connects the past with the present: An established corporate structure provides the reliable basis for our actions today. We can draw on broadly diversified know-how and proven technologies, and combine these with new knowledge. Our traditions have also been shaped by the company’s global nature. They unite the different cultures of our locations across the globe and are deeply rooted in our corporate culture and way of working.
For Franz Eder, our many years of experience in the industry are crucial to this value: “For me, rootedness comes not only from our long-standing presence in the market, but also from our role as a job-creating company and the prosperity this has generated.”
Together we can achieve more. So for us, collaboration is a must-have. Michael Ebner explains why: “Only through solid teamwork can common goals be achieved. Collaboration increases productivity and effectiveness, and promotes teamwork and communication. Solid teamwork does not just mean achieving numbers and goals. It is also about growing together on a personal level, building trust, and working on shared values.” It is of great importance that everyone pulls together, especially considering our international partnerships and locations. This applies both to work within the company and with external partners, as Christoph Oberroither explains: “We are in regular contact with our suppliers. By working closely together, we can establish a sustainable supply chain and therefore have a positive impact.” This cooperative approach allows us to produce durable, high-performance materials and guarantee the best performance going forward.
“For me, courage in the context of inSPire means making brave decisions if they serve the cause. Many technologies that will accompany us in the future are currently still in the early stages of development. Using them requires courage and empathy for the concerns of skeptics,” says Thomas Steiner, summarizing the significance of this value. Only with this innovative spirit can we live up to our standards and always stay one step ahead. The motivation to drive sustainable change inspires us to constantly search for new solutions.
Josephine Müller particularly appreciates the freedom this gives her in her work on the Circular Economy: “What motivates me is that I have the opportunity to evaluate even small amounts of material and to conduct research in new directions. We have the courage to tackle even difficult challenges where others have already failed.” We demonstrate not only the courage to innovate, but also to cooperate. It is important to us not to see other players in the industry as competitors, but as partners for cutting-edge developments.
In line with our name “High Performance Metals Division”, we work with a focus on high quality and top performance. As the world’s leading supplier of high-performance materials, we take our entire supply chain into account to ensure optimal processes. Örjan Alm explains why this value is so important to us: “For me, high performance is important because it helps us drive change. We need to take concrete actions and achieve results in all three pillars of sustainability.” The inSPire vision motivates us to do our best every day: We make performance sustainable. And we want to keep it that way in the future, too.
According to Katharina Handler, this requires a certain adaptability: “For me, high performance also includes resilience to successfully master economic, social, and environmental challenges.”
We focus on the essentials, and that means actively contributing to a sustainable future. Our vision, mission, and tangible goals in the four focus areas of inSPire guide our daily actions. We pursue these goals with great conviction and the will to achieve them. On the one hand, our strong focus results from the high demands we place on ourselves and our performance and, according to Philipp Horner, is a key success factor: “It takes the appropriate focus to achieve good performance and drive change.” On the other hand, we are aware of the transformation processes necessary and want to continue to advocate for our ecological, economic, and social environment in the future. “We approach new topics with courage and develop focused solutions, but we are always open to constructive feedback and other points of view,” describes Philipp Aggarwal.
Empathy is the basis for strong collaboration. Michaela Kotnik is a firm believer in this: “Empathy toward people, our environment, and our planet provides us with purpose and deepens understanding.” Strong collaboration with diverse stakeholders is, in turn, a key success factor for sustained high performance. Added value can only be generated in the long term if all stakeholders are included, with consideration given to their strengths and any concerns they may have. Stefan Schwingenschlögl agrees: “For me, empathy means dealing with the challenges faced by all stakeholders and taking them into account in the best possible way.” In this way, we can ensure that diverse perspectives are included in our solutions and that we meet the highest standards.
Values are there to be lived. This happens above all in the daily actions of the employees, Julia Aigelsreiter tells us: “My work requires efforts in various dimensions. It requires empathy and courage to seriously reflect on the status quo and define the right measures for improvement. I firmly believe that the success of projects depends on intensive collaboration with the stakeholders. A shared understanding and a common focus on our goals are also important success factors. This makes outstanding performance possible.”
The implementation of the values is also being pursued by the company. For example, in December 2021, our subsidiary Uddeholm in Hagfors, Sweden, pioneered a climate-neutral week initiative that embodied both courage and focus. Fossil-free electricity has already been used there for years to produce tool steel. During the climate-neutral week, climate-neutral tool steel was produced on a trial basis, reducing CO2 emissions by 90% with additional measures. First, liquefied natural gas was replaced with CO2-neutral liquefied biomethane. Second, the company relied entirely on biodiesel and fossil-free electricity for non-electrified internal factory transport. Process-related emissions (graphite electrodes and CO2 in precursor material) were offset according to the United Nations Gold Standard. This courageous project has truly paid off. We have set ourselves clear goals, which we are pursuing with focus. For this reason, the project is being driven forward with success. In line with our aim to reduce emissions, we are striving to make the production site in Hagfors carbon-neutral by 2030, and its value chain by 2035.
Our values do not just exist on paper. They are part of our everyday life and therefore our actions. They support us as we keep pursuing our goals in the long term and remain authentic both now and in the future. The extent to which our employees identify with our values is evident far beyond their work. They also accompany them throughout their private lives. With a focus on a more sustainable future, many are making more climate-conscious consumption decisions, using public transportation, or getting involved in social issues.
It is plain to see that the individual values are closely linked, complementary, and mutually reinforcing—just like the team behind inSPire. Read more about this soon in the next blog article.
To learn more about inSPire at voestalpine High Performance Metals click here.