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Related contacts
Contact Sustainability
Contact Sustainability

Thomas Hörnfeldt

Vice President Sustainability & Public Affairs

Direct phone: +46 8 5623 2140

Send E-mail

Harri Leppänen

Head of Environment, Health & Safety

Direct phone: +358 20 592 2389

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Liisa-Maija Seppänen

Investor Relations Manager

Mobile phone: +358 50 314 4455

Direct phone: +358 20 593 9232

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Jonas Larsson

Director Environmental Affairs

Direct phone: +46 2 437 2648

Send E-mail

Kristin Nordström

Vice President and Head of Ethics and Compliance

Direct phone: +46 8 454 5749

Send E-mail

Maria Långberg

Executive Vice President and Head of HR and Sustainability

Direct phone: +46 8 454 5727

Send E-mail

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SSAB's sustainability operations

Sustainable operations

Health and safety

SSAB strives to be the safest steel company in the world, with an objective to achieve zero accidents, work-related injuries or illnesses. Ensuring a safe and secure environment for our employees, contractors and visitors is our highest priority.

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Making progress in safety culture at Hämeenlinna

SSAB Europe’s site in Hämeenlinna continued to make good progress in safety during 2015. Hämeenlinna sustained a 12-month period without a single injury resulting in absence.

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Making progress in safety culture at Hämeenlinna

SSAB Europe’s site in Hämeenlinna continued to make good progress in safety during 2015. Hämeenlinna sustained a 12-month period without a single injury resulting in absence.

The site’s target for 2015 was to achieve less than 6 injuries per million hours worked, compared to an injury frequency rate of 9.5 accidents per million hours worked in 2014. Lost time injury frequency fell in 2015 and was 1.9, clearly exceeding the target.

The reduction in incidents was driven by systematic safety training sessions for both foremen and front-line employees at the site. “Must intervene” training highlighted the importance of intervening in unsafe work and being responsible for coworkers and oneself. There was also a strong focus on the orientation of summer workers, none of whom were involved in any incidents in 2015.

Safety information is displayed on info boards, the intranet and noticeboards. Safety rounds and safety “moments” are additional tools foremen use daily to improve the safety culture. These tools are intended to engage as many people as possible in safety improvement at work.

SSAB Europe’s facilities provide safety alerts, made in conjunction with incidents and near-miss situations, to other facilities to enhance best practices.

Steel production

Steel production is resource intensive and generates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The most significant environmental impacts arise at SSAB’s production sites in Luleå, Borlänge, Oxelösund, Raahe, Hämeenlinna, Mobile and Montpelier. However, the impact on the local environment in the vicinity of SSAB’s production facilities has decreased significantly over time. SSAB is committed to continuous improvement aimed at minimizing the adverse environmental impacts from the company’s operations.

Durability and recyclability of steel

Steel is a durable material with characteristics that promote the sustainable development needed to meet the requirements of a growing population.

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Durability and recyclability of steel

Steel is a durable material with characteristics that promote the sustainable development needed to meet the requirements of a growing population.

Its combination of strength, recyclability, availability, versatility and affordability makes steel unique.

Because of its strength and wear toughness, steel lasts longer than other materials. This means that less virgin raw materials need to be sourced. Product durability contributes to reducing the depletion of virgin raw materials.

In addition, steel can be recycled over and over again without losing its properties. Steel is the most recycled material in the world. In theory, all new steel could be made from recycled steel. However, this is not practically feasible due to the long life of steel products, given steel’s strength and durability. Around 75% of steel products ever made are still in use today.

Two processes for steel production

There are two different ways of producing steel. The processes differ by the raw material used in the process – iron ore-based or scrap-based.

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Two processes for steel production

There are two different ways of producing steel. The processes differ by the raw material used in the process – iron ore-based or scrap-based.

In scrap-based production, carbon dioxide emissions are less than one-tenth of those generated in conjunction with iron ore-based steel production. Today, available scrap accounts for approximately 30% of the demand for new steel, this means we are dependent on both steel produced from scrap and steel made from virgin material, so-called ore-based production in blast furnaces. In 2050, it is estimated scrap-based steel will meet 50% of demand, which means that 50% of demand will continue to be met by steel made from virgin material.

At SSAB, we produce steel from iron-ore in the Nordics and from scrap in the US. In SSAB as a whole, an average of 45% scrap was used in steel production in 2014. SSAB uses approximately 20% of scrap in conjunction with steel production in the Nordics, and 100% in the US. The processes have entirely different environmental prerequisites.

1. Iron ore-based steel in Sweden and Finland

SSAB’s steel production in the Nordics is blast furnace-based. Hot metal is produced by the reduction of iron ore, through coke and coal being added to the blast furnaces. This process gives rise to carbon dioxide.

With current technology, it is not possible to produce steel without carbon dioxide being formed. The process has been continuously developed and improved to become extremely efficient, with process gases and waste energy being utilized for the production of electricity and district heat.

International comparisons show that SSAB’s blast furnaces are at the forefront as regards low carbon dioxide emissions per tonne of hot metal. There are several reasons for this: the use of high-grade raw materials in the form of iron-ore pellets, high-quality coke, and efficient processes in which the blast furnaces produce without disruption.

A large number of usable residuals, such as heating, gas, slag and dust, are recovered to minimize waste.

 
2. Scrap-based steel in the US

Steel is one of the most recycled materials in the world. SSAB’s plants in the US produce steel based exclusively on scrap. A certain amount of coal and natural gas is used in the production process, but in the main electricity is used for smelting the scrap.

All in all, carbon dioxide emissions are less than one-tenth of the emissions generated in conjunction with iron ore-based steel production.

Minimizing environmental impact from steel production

We are constantly trying to improve energy efficiency.

Steel production is energy intensive and causes CO2 emission. At SSAB we are constantly trying to improve the energy efficiency in our production processes and reduce the amount of purchased energy, as well as trying to reduce our CO2 emissions throughout our production and value chain.

Material and energy efficiency in production

Emissions from steel production are controlled and can be further reduced by continuously improving material and energy efficiency in the processes. Material efficiency means making more out of less material, resulting in increased efficiency in the use of natural resources. The production of iron and steel gives rise to a range of residuals. Recirculating material back into the steelmaking process reduces the need for virgin, raw materials which reduces CO2 emissions and waste. Material that cannot be recirculated internally can be processed into by-products and sold externally, creating new revenue streams as well as reducing CO2 emissions by substituting natural resources in other industries.

SSAB’s production processes are energy-intensive. Systematic energy efficiency management and energy recovery at all sites, as well as production of electricity from process gases at certain steel mills, ensure efficient use of energy and lower emissions. Process gases like blast furnace gas, coke oven gas and converter gas are generated in the iron- and steelmaking processes. Steam and hot water are also produced. These energy flows are recovered to generate electricity and heat, thereby saving additional fossil fuel resources. The energy-rich gases which cannot be used in steel production are used in local power plants to supply SSAB with approximately 45 (43) % of the electricity needs of steel production in Sweden and Finland. Heat is generated in converters, where iron is made into steel. Since the 1980s, recovered heat has been used to produce district heating in Luleå, Raahe and Oxelösund. The recovered heat meets about 90% of local district heating needs.

Read more about energy efficiency at SSAB

Read more about SSAB and steel production

Read more about SSAB´s sustainability targets

Recirculation of material within SSAB’s steelmaking process

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Recirculation of material within SSAB’s steelmaking process

Recirculation of material back into the steelmaking processes reduces the need for virgin raw materials and decreases production costs.

SSAB’s steel production gives rise to a number of valuable residuals that can be recirculated. Out of a total of around 4 million tonnes of residuals from ore-based production in the Nordics in 2014, 47% were recirculated back to SSAB’s steel production processes. As an example, the new sludge drying method was brought into use in Luleå in 2014 resulted in over 12,000 tonnes of basic oxygen steelmaking sludge being turned into briquettes for use as a raw material instead of being landfilled. In addition, almost 8,000 tonnes of ladle slag originating in the continuous casting process in Luleå were used as raw material in the blast furnace instead of being landfilled. In Raahe, desulfurization slag and part of ladle slag are utilized in internal infrastructure construction. Development work is being done to maximize internal use of the metal component separated from slag. Today already, most of this ferrous material from slag is used internally.

External sales of by-products

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External sales of by-products

Not all material can be recirculated in steel production. In some cases, new revenue streams are created by processing material into by-products to be sold externally.

For example, blast furnace slag is sold to the road construction and cement industries. In 2014, 32% of the residuals from the ore-based steel production were processed into by-products and sold externally.

Waste management and landfill

There are residuals from production processes for which there is no current environmentally or economically justifiable application. These residuals must therefore be removed from the processing cycle. At SSAB, this type of waste includes flue gas sludge that cannot be utilized due to its physical and chemical characteristics. Management and monitoring of the company’s landfill sites are strictly regulated by the law and government authorities. Deposited waste must be handled in such a way that these resources, too, might be utilized in the future. SSAB Americas does not own or operate waste transportation equipment or landfills, and deals only with government-approved landfills. Before waste is classified as landfill material, thorough testing and classification is carried out by a specialized third party contractor.

Recycling scrap tires in Alabama

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Recycling scrap tires in Alabama

In Alabama, SSAB Americas has had a scrap tire recycling program that utilizes scrap tires as a substitute material for the carbon used for charging in the electric arc furnace (EAF).

Since 2003, SSAB has recycled more than 5 million scrap tires. The program also supports SSAB’s Foundation for Education. For ten years, SSAB has made donations of $100,000 a year to local schools for the purchase of key supplies and equipment, all as a direct result of the cost savings from the scrap tire recycling program.

Merox – with a focus on sustainability

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Merox – with a focus on sustainability

In the Nordic region, SSAB’s business Merox, works to optimize the value of SSAB´s by-products, scrap and waste with a focus on sustainability and value creation.

Merox’s operations cover the whole value chain from R&D and production to marketing and sales. The operations primarily consist of three parts; recirculation of materials to SSAB production, processing and selling products externally and managing waste that cannot be recirculated or processed into new products. This includes the handling of material sent to landfill in the Nordics. Merox delivers products globally and has six production facilities in Sweden and Finland. In 2014, Merox handled around 4 million tonnes of residuals; 47% was recirculated, 6% was used for internal construction, 32% was sold externally, 9% was put into temporary storage and 6% was sent to landfill.

High-performing organization

A high-performing organization is one of the key elements in SSAB’s strategy and an essential enabler for achieving the company’s ambitious strategy targets.

SSAB and Rautaruukki merged in 2014. Since then, the organization has changed shape and been simplified so that SSAB is better equipped to meet market demand. At the end of 2016, the headcount had decreased by over 2,500 compared to the time of the merger. 

A high-performing organization provides a structure that helps to align actions, behavior and skills with strategic direction and the competences needed by the business.
There are four main priorities toward achieving a high-performing organization:

  • Improve safety with the focus to be the safest steel company in the world
  • Enhance productivity by continuous improvements
  • Strengthen the performance culture
  • Develop leadership and employee engagement

 

Enhance productivity by continuous improvements

SSAB One – our shared management philosophy

SSAB One is our common management philosophy. It encompasses SSAB’s vision, values and principles, which together give a direction and framework for the company. Use of the word ‘’management,’’ does not mean the philosophy is exclusive to managers, but that it is relevant to each and every SSAB employee. Only when all of our employees have a good understanding of our management philosophy can we successfully involve everyone in SSAB’s development efforts. SSAB One provides us with a common framework and language between the different parts of our company. 

SSAB One serves as a common denominator for our improvement structure at SSAB. We will succeed by ensuring we have an understanding of SSAB One and the company’s vision as our common purpose, living the values as standards for our convictions and behavior, and using our principles as the rationale to achieve our fundamental goals.

SSAB One has two objectives:

  • Improve our flows based on customer demand
  • Involve and engage all employees in continuous improvement

Principles:

  • Normal state: We can only improve if we have defined and visualized the normal state. This makes it easy for everyone to see how safety, quality and efficiency reflect how we work. Any deviations can easily be recognized and immediately acted upon
  • Right from me: Each of us ensures that we get things right the first time round. Errors are prevented from progressing in the production flow. We have a systematic way of dealing with deviations and errors and learning from them 
  • Learn and improve: Development is part of everyone’s daily work. Managers coach their teams and give all employees the opportunity to contribute with their knowledge and commitment
  • Customer demand driven: We understand customer needs and focus on improving all the activities that create customer value
     

Strengthen the performance culture

Engaging SSAB employees for performance toward goals 

Aligning individual performance with SSAB’s strategic direction is a central element in being a high-performing organization. Clarity concerning objectives and performance expectations, as well as feedback, are key enablers to effectively manage our change journey and to achieve results. In annual performance dialogs, all employees and managers follow up on results, provide mutual feedback, discuss the workplace atmosphere and plan future performance and individual development. SSAB continuously reviews and aligns reward structures to ensure performance management processes are effectively supported. Our employee and manager criteria are important elements to exemplify good performance. Matching potential candidates with development opportunities at different levels in the organization is important for developing a high-performing organization.

Employee engagement

SSAB conducts employee engagement surveys to give employees an equal opportunity to voice their views on a number of important topics.

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Employee engagement

SSAB conducts employee engagement surveys to give employees an opportunity to voice their views on topics related to their working situation. The surveys help analyze the drivers of employee engagement and capture improvement opportunities which contribute to leadership, high performance and engagement. The survey results are utilized at all organizational levels, starting with the Group Executive Committee. During 2016, we utilized the survey results to improve the annual performance process. Many production teams have improved how they discuss and manage intra-team conflict based on their own results and continually challenge the way we work. Each manager is responsible for improvement planning, executing and following up with his or her team based on the results of the survey. The results are published in the GRI report.

 

 

Diversity provides opportunities

SSAB is a knowledge company; our success depends heavily on the competence of our employees.

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Leveraging the potential of diversity

Our success depends heavily on the competence and engagement of our employees. SSAB operates globally, and has approximately 15,000 employees from diverse demographic backgrounds in more than 50 countries. Leveraging this diversity is a prerequisite to providing a superior customer experience. However, working with diversity in terms of having a diverse workforce will not automatically improve our employee engagement or financial performance. SSAB strives for an inclusive leadership and corporate culture, meaning that employees feel a sense of belonging and have equal opportunities to contribute and succeed. 

The steel industry is traditionally male-dominated, and with 19% of our employees being women, SSAB is no exception. We believe that improving gender balance will positively contribute to our performance culture and be more responsive to customer needs.  In order to increase the number of women in top management, SSAB launched a diversity target in 2015, aiming to have women in 30% of the top management positions in the company by the end of 2019. 

SSAB has a long-term goal of increasing the presence of female employees across the company. Women in top management positions serve as important role models for others, which drives further development. To further accelerate this process, in 2016, we initiated a high-level in-house mentoring program, which proved successful and will be re-launched during 2017. The process is a mutual learning experience for both mentors and mentees, through challenging each other, exchanging experiences, broadening perspectives and building networks across the organization. 

SSAB has a number of initiatives and tools to raise awareness and promote diversity and inclusion in the company:

  • Internal workshops and sessions focusing on diversity and inclusion with high-level managers
  • Global management planning 
  • Global employee survey
  • Consortium programs for management and leadership development
  • Networks and internal mentoring programs  
  • Our management philosophy, SSAB One, an one important tool for how we can incorporate and work with inclusion in our everyday work
  • Collaboration with other companies and authorities: In several locations across Sweden, SSAB partners with local municipalities to create internships for people with diverse backgrounds, including those from outside the country. This provides participants an opportunity to be part of a workplace, learn another language and learn about the labor market in Sweden
  • To ensure that the various initiatives in this area are carried out as planned, SSAB has appointed a coordinator for the diversity work at Group level 
     
Read more about our work within diversity and SSAB as an employer

A global process for management planning

A strong managerial pipeline is not only a requirement for a high-performing organization, but also a strategic choice for SSAB.

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The company applies a global process for management planning and annual review to ensure we retain a firm grip on and understanding of our leadership capability.

SSAB works to ensure that internal leadership talents are identified and systematically developed. The objective is to have suitable internal candidates for managerial positions. In the process, all SSAB managers are assessed against the company’s manager criteria, and succession plans are established. The results of management planning are used actively in divisions and at the Group level throughout the year for targeted activities involving competence development, appointments, and as support in organizational development.