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UN Sustainable Development Goals

SSAB welcomes the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that strongly link to 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 encourages the reuse and recycling of materials. Using steel, these are all fundamental advantages.

We see the SDGs as a tool for how corporations can apply sustainability and promote collaborations 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 four 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 we in time will increase the share of women across SSAB. 

Please read more about the target and how SSAB will work to achieve the target from block Diversity and equal opportunities from 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 blend biogas into the natural gas. We are currently piloting this on a small scale, but long term we see and hope to be able to increase the share of biogas as it becomes more available in the market and priced competitively compared to other fuels. 

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 efforts in Research & Development, 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 solid technologies and production processes, we seek new opportunities to 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 US. 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 out of 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. In 2014, 4 million tonnes of residuals were produced at our Nordic steel production sites. 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-efficiency. 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.

In May 2015, SSAB launched a target to increase the utilization of residuals by improving internal recirculation of material and external sales of by-products. The target is to achieve a lasting reduction of 30,000 tonnes in the material being sent to landfill by the end of 2019, compared to the 2014 baseline.

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. Our blast furnaces are among the most efficient in the world in terms of CO2-efficiency. Despite this, we are constantly looking for opportunities to improve to remain at the forefront and continue to improve the way we operate. That is why, in May 2015, we launched a target to decrease CO2 emissions by 200,000 tonnes by the end of 2019. 

As SSAB's blast furnaces are among the most efficient in the world the potential for further emission reductions is very limited with current technology. No technology is available today that can enable the replacement of coal as raw material in steel production. This means it requires technology breakthroughs to achieve significant emission reductions. Industry-wide co-operation is important for identifying new technical solutions that can further decrease the impacts of the steel making processes. In the Nordics, SSAB is collaborating with KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Luleå University of Technology, Dalarna University, Swerea, Oulu University, Aalto University, Åbo Akademi University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. In SSAB Americas, the American Iron and Steel Association is an important partner.

Read more about SSAB´s work with CO2 efficiency and our target to reduce the amount of 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 lies in SSAB’s 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, a reduced impact on the environment, and products with a longer lifespan. 

Read more about Sustainability 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 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 into multiple international research projects and initiatives, e.g. ULCOS, BASTOR, “CO2 Breakthrough Program” in the US and the UN Global Compact, however, we aim to expand our partnerships to be able to facilitate cooperation on technology and innovation, as well as knowledge sharing. Moreover, 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 sustainable steel industry.