Outokumpu earns ResponsibleSteel certification for all of its production sites in Europe

Outokumpu has achieved ResponsibleSteel certification for all seven of its production sites in Europe. The sites are spread across Germany, Finland and Sweden making Outokumpu the first to obtain certification in the latter two countries as well as the first in the Nordic region more broadly.

Outokumpu, a global leader in the stainless steel industry, became a member of ResponsibleSteel in 2019. For Outokumpu, the ResponsibleSteel International Standard provided a tool to evaluate and strengthen the company’s sustainability work through an ambitious industry-level framework with a beyond-compliance approach.

Heidi Peltonen, Vice President of Sustainability at Outokumpu, stated, “The ResponsibleSteel Standard is highly needed to provide a systematic framework to evaluate the sustainability of steel holistically. While the steel industry accounts for 7–9% of global greenhouse gas emissions, at the same time it plays a pivotal role in the green transition. Outokumpu has an ambitious climate commitment to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees. Beyond that we are committed to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights across our value chain and follow the highest standard for ethical business conduct. ResponsibleSteel addresses environmental, social and governance topics and drives companies' sustainability work forward in all these areas. We are extremely proud to receive the certificates as the first mover in the Nordics, enabling us to create value for our customers by supporting them to choose sustainably produced stainless steel with a third-party validation.”

The certification process was conducted between 2021 and 2023 and included rigorous independent audits carried out by DNV. The auditors highlighted the strong commitment of the sites to health and safety and interviews with workers across the sites demonstrated a high employee satisfaction rate. Collectively, the seven sites employ over 5,800 workers and contractors.

Above: Outokumpu Tornio; Top: Outokumpu Dillenburg

“The ResponsibleSteel certification is both about the process and the result. The certification process was extensive, including for example site-specific self-assessments with related audits and on-site interviews with workers and contractors. As for the result, we received excellent feedback on our achievements, especially on decarbonisation and our efforts to ensure a good and safe place to work. The process also helped us to identify further actions to build on our sustainability ambition – such as those related to stakeholder engagement, social responsibility as well as biodiversity and water management across our value chain. It also increased credibility and transparency of our overall sustainability work,” said Anna Vainikainen, Head of Human Rights at Outokumpu.

Outokumpu is committed to the Science Based Targets initiative's 1.5 degree target and is the only stainless steel producer with a target approved by the initiative. To meet this target, Outokumpu are working to improve energy efficiency in its operations. In 2022, over 85% of the company's electricity was already coming from low-carbon sources.

Annie Heaton, CEO of ResponsibleSteel, commented, “Outokumpu has already set a near-term science-based target to reduce emissions from all three scopes by 42% by 2030 compared to 2016. This site certification process has provided a tool for Outokumpu to develop its sustainability work and its transparency in line with best practice on ESG for the steel industry. The next step will be progress level certification and we look forward to working with Outokumpu as we develop Decarbonisation Progress Levels specifically for stainless steel sites to enable them to work towards certified steel.”

To learn more about these certifications, take a look at the certificates and read the public audit summaries here.

Above: Outokumpu Nyby
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