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UN Sustainable Development Goals

SSAB welcomes the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that strongly tie in with our vision of a stronger, lighter and more sustainable world. As the new agenda commits every country to take action to pursue a sustainable future, we at SSAB also commit to take action towards a more sustainable world.

Steel plays an important role in a sustainable world. It is 100% recyclable and the most recycled material in the world. Steel is an integrated part of the circular economy, which promotes zero waste, reduced use of natural resources and better reuse and recycling of materials. Use of steel leads to fundamental advantages.

We see the new SDGs as a tool for how corporations can apply sustainability and promote collaboration across industries, nations and governments to create a common goal to combat climate change and promote sustainable growth. Even if we can be part of the work to achieve all goals in different ways, we have chosen to concentrate on goals that are closely linked to our business and where we believe we can have the biggest impact. These goals are:

Goal 5. Gender equality - achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

At SSAB, we strive to create a diverse work place where everyone has equal opportunities to develop and where all our employees feel empowered. One prioritized area is to increase the share of women employees across SSAB.

To support this work, in September 2015 we launched a target for gender diversity with the aim to increase the level of women in top management positions to 30% at the end of 2019, compared to a 2015 base rate of 21%. By focusing initially on top management positions, we believe that, in time, we will increase the share of women across SSAB.

Rad more about the target and how SSAB will work to achieve the target in the Diversity and equal opportunities blog on our Careers pages.

Goal 7. Affordable and clean energy - ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

A well-functioning, sustainable energy system is critical for SSAB to produce steel in an efficient and sustainable way. SSAB purchases fuels such as natural gas, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and oil, which it uses in addition to the energy-rich process gases it recovers as fuel, electricity and heat from the steel production process. The combined heat and power plants at SSAB’s production sites in Sweden and Finland generate 40% of SSAB’s electricity requirement in the Nordics, as well as supply the district heat networks in Luleå, Oxelösund and Raahe with heat. Recovered heat from the steel production process is also delivered to the district heat networks in Borlänge, Finspång and Hämeenlinna. By being active in the social dialog around the future set-up of energy supply in the areas where we have steel production, we believe SSAB can contribute and influence decision- and policy-makers and help to push development toward a more sustainable energy supply. To exemplify this, in the spring of 2015, SSAB decided to buy “guarantees of origin” (GoO) regarding renewable energy for the share of energy it buys externally in the Nordic countries. These guarantees of origin mean that at least 50% of the electricity that SSAB buys on the Nordic electricity market is derived from renewable energies of which a minimum of 30% is hydroelectricity and a minimum of 20% is wind power. 

The switch from oil to natural gas in our Borlänge operations in 2014 opened up possibilities to mix biogas with natural gas. We hope to be able to use biogas on a large scale as it becomes more available in the market and priced competitively compared to other fuels.  At our Raahe site, investments are on-going to start using natural gas in 2018.

Read more about SSAB´s work with energy efficiency and our target to reduce the amount of purchased energy

At SSAB, we have defined our approach and core contribution to the circular economy. We believe that by applying a circular way of working we can also contribute to an affordable and clean energy supply. 

Read more about SSAB and the circular economy here

Goal 9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure - build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

As an industrial company, SSAB is determined to contribute to establishing sustainable processes and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For these purposes, we continue our Research & Development efforts, as well as collaborate with research institutions and other industrial companies in order to support sustainable industrial development and foster technological progress. By focusing on research in environmentally-sound technologies and production processes, we seek new opportunities to further improve our performance and make our high-strength steel even stronger and lighter for more resilient and resource-efficient infrastructure.

Goal 12. Responsible consumption and production - ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

SSAB produces steel from iron-ore in the Nordics and steel from scrap in the USA. Iron ore-based steelmaking is intense with regards to the use of natural resources. SSAB has made it a priority to work with material efficiency, i.e. making more from less, which results in greater efficiency in the use of natural resources. 

Producing steel made from iron ore gives rise to a range of residuals. Recirculating and returning material to the steelmaking process reduces the need for virgin raw materials. This in turn, reduces CO2 emissions and makes the company cost-efficient. Material that cannot be recirculated internally can be processed into by-products and sold externally, creating new revenue streams for the company while reducing CO2 emissions by substituting natural resources in other industries. 

Read more about SSAB´s work with material efficiency and our target for residual utilization

At SSAB, we have defined our approach and core contribution to the circular economy. We believe that by applying a circular way of working we can also contribute to more sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Read more about SSAB and the circular economy here

Goal 13. Climate action - take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

SSAB is committed to continuous environmental work aiming at minimizing the adverse environmental impacts of our operations. In 2017 we decided on a new Sustainability strategy with higher ambitions for our long term objectives. By 2045 SSAB aims to be totally fossil-free. However, in the mid-term, the most noticeable sustainability impacts will be achieved by our sustainable offering: 10 million tonnes in annual customer CO2 savings by 2025.

As our blast furnaces are already among the most efficient in the world, there is very limited potential for further emission reductions in the steel making process using current technology. No technology is available today that can enable the replacement of coal as a raw material in steel production. This means technology breakthroughs are needed to deliver significant emission reductions. In 2016, SSAB, LKAB (Europe’s largest iron ore producer) and Vattenfall (one of Europe’s largest electricity producers) decided to join forces to create HYBRIT, a joint venture project that endeavors to revolutionize steel-making. HYBRIT aims to replace the coking coal traditionally needed for ore-based steel making with hydrogen. If successful, the result will be unique: The world’s first fossil-free steel-making technology with virtually no carbon footprint.The project involves universities and institutes such as KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Luleå University of Technology, SWEREA MEFOS, Lund University, Stockholm Environmental Institute, and RISE - the Swedish Research Institute.

Read more about SSAB´s work with CO2 efficiency and our target to reduce CO2 emissions

Even though it is crucial for SSAB to work with improving the environmental footprint from its own operations, SSAB’s greatest contribution to supporting the combat of climate change today lies in our ability to produce and sell high-strength steels. Upgrading from standard steels to higher strength steels enables a reduction in the weight of end-products, while increasing their productivity and durability. This is a crucial environmental aspect from the lifecycle perspective, since most of the negative environmental impact comes from a product’s use-phase. High-strength steels are stronger than standard steels. Consequently, less steel is used in the manufacture of a product, which also reduces emissions. This leads to improved total economy, reduced environmental impact, and products with a longer lifespan. 

Read more about Ssstainability and high-strength steels

At SSAB, we have defined our approach and core contribution to the circular economy. We believe that by applying a circular way of working we can reduce our environmental footprint and help to combat global climate change.

Read more about SSAB and the circular economy here

Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions 

SSAB is a signatory to the UN´s Global Compact and we continually enhance our efforts to protect and respect its 10 principles and promote its spirit within the areas of human rights, labor standards, the environment and anti-corruption.  

Read more about SSAB and anti-corruption and business ethics here

Goal 17. Partnerships for the goals - revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

At SSAB we see collaboration across industries, nations and governments as a key driver for sustainable development. SSAB is already involved in multiple international research projects and initiatives, and through the HYBRIT initiative we are cooperating with a number of Nordic and European universities, research institutes and industry associations.

By assuring an open dialogue and transparency around our production processes, we believe we can increase awareness and bridge knowledge gaps around the challenges and possibilities we have in promoting a sustainable steel industry. 

However, the most important partnership may be the one SSAB has with its customers, where significant contributions can be made towards reducing energy consumption and environmental impact, for example through the SSAB EcoUpgraded concept.

Read more about SSAB EcoUpgraded here

At the same time, we aim to expand our partnerships to be able to facilitate collaboration in technology, innovation and knowledge sharing.
 SSAB is also a signatory to the UN Global Compact and is a member of a number of other organizations in this area. 

Read more about SSAB memberships here