How voestalpine defines sustainability

Workpiece – Martin Lagler, Metal technology/Civil engineering technology, second-year apprentice (photo)

Martin Lagler
Metal technology/Civil engineering technology, second-year apprentice

Steel plays an important role in all areas of human life: people are surrounded on a daily basis by products that are either made completely of steel or that have a steel core. Around 1,500 million tons of steel are produced and processed annually worldwide, with 7.5 million tons thereof produced by voestalpine.

The material steel not only has a wealth of applications but has high potential in the area of sustainability–with complete recyclability being its greatest strength. Steel production is resource- intensive, and its specific processes impact the environment: high levels of emissions, large amounts of waste, and sometimes high water consumption.voestalpine actively endeavors to prevent and minimize these environmental impacts by developing and using processes that conserve resources, implementing measures to manage waste, and adopting active climate protection policies.

Steel production is also very labor-intensive. As is the case in all areas of heavy industry, it is characterized by a great deal of shift work and a workforce that has a high percentage of male workers.voestalpine takes its social responsibility very seriously by implementing comprehensive safety measures, maintaining a Group-wide health management system, and offering diverse opportunities for training and continuing education; it also provides programs to stimulate the interest of women in technical professions. For years, voestalpine has had a generation management program that responds actively to the changing demographic situation in society.

voestalpine’s products and services are needed in a host of applications in daily lives. The company is taking product responsibility seriously by expediting the development of products and solutions that further safe mobility and alternative energies. Within the scope of international bodies, voestalpine is actively working on standards for recycling and life cycle assessments. voestalpine is researching products that indirectly reduce CO2; the material steel is definitively part of the solution to carbon issues.

All of the sustainability measures voestalpine implements must take the company’s economic success into consideration. Sustainable action begets business success, and voestalpine is prepared to bear short-term burdens to achieve its goal. What the company does not accept, however, are political policies–whether on the national, the EU, or the international level–that distort fair competition and dramatically threaten the competitiveness of the products manufactured at the Group’s main sites in Austria and Western Europe. It is because voestalpine takes its social responsibility seriously that is actively fighting for good framework conditions that will help preserve jobs in those regions where people have been melting steel for 600 years.

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