In particular, this is indicated by the EU Commission’s “Green Deal,” which assigns great importance to the EU’s long-term industrial greening (i.e., ecologization) strategy. It is in this sense that the EU’s Circular Economy Package aims to boost both resource and energy efficiency.
Steel is a multifaceted and environmentally friendly material with a long useful life that can be repaired, reused and, in the final analysis, endlessly recycled. Hence steel products are key to turning societies into circular economies, specifically, by developing and creating closedloop substance, materials, and value added chains to boost resource and energy efficiency.
voestalpine makes robust and comparable information available to facilitate comprehensive assessments of the sustainability of its products. Life cycle assessments (LCAs) provide a key methodology for doing so. A life cycle assessment entails determining a given product’s environmental effect, taking all phases of its value chain into account: from the extraction of the raw material and the provision of energy, to its production and downstream processing, all the way to its consumption and utilization up to the end of its useful life.
The question of product sustainability concerns analyses of the three pillars of sustainability—environmental as well as social and economic factors—along the entire supply and value chain, even though the main focus currently is on the determination and assessment of ecological issues.
Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) play an important role in communicating products’ environmental effects based on their life cycle assessments. voestalpine has published EDPs for a number of products such as colofer®, hot-dip galvanized strip steel, electrical steel strip, heavy plate, roll-bonded clad heavy plate, and rails. The EDPs are based on two standards (EN 15804 and ISO 14025), were verified by independent auditors, and have been published in the declarations program of the German “Institut Bauen und Umwelt” (IBU), an association of building product manufacturers.
As regards the decarbonization of steelmaking and the sustainability of its products, voestalpine is in regular contact with various stakeholders. These dialogues serve to obtain key information on customers’ and other stakeholders’ requirements and views. In turn, this process gives voestalpine the opportunity to communicate its progress, projects, and limits.
In addition, the voestalpine Group participates in cross-sectoral policy initiatives such as “ResponsibleSteel” and publishes its performance via external assessments such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in ways that make it transparent to the public as well. voestalpine achieved “leadership” status in the CDP’s 2019 Climate Change assessment and was included in the CDP’s “global leaderboard” supplier engagement rating.
voestalpine uses a comprehensive methodology to determine the Group’s water footprint and publishes the data with CDP among others.