Our objective is to achieve significant improvements in areas where our operations have an important environmental impact. The Group’s environmental targets have 2014 as a base year and run to the end of 2020.
The targets are as follows:
- Increase energy efficiency related to worked hours by 20 percent
- Decrease carbon emissions related to worked hours by 20 percent
- Decrease freshwater consumption related to worked hours by 20 percent
- Increase the share of waste that goes to recovery operations by more than 20 percent of the total waste generated
- Maintain the percentage (80%) of metallic raw material that comes from recovered materials
Environmental data and progress are reported on a quarterly basis.
During 2017, the Sandvik EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) Council worked to develop its environmental target setting to reflect Sandvik’s decentralized business model.
Sandvik Materials Technology has the biggest environmental impact of our three business areas due to its stainless steel production in Sandviken, Sweden. Hence, many environmental efforts lies within Sandvik Materials Technology. Sandvik Machining Solutions' production is highly automized and Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology is mainly based on assembly, both with less environmental impact.
Reducing energy and emissions
Energy efficiency and climate change mitigation are key focus areas. Sandvik has hundreds of projects to reduce energy consumption and lower carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions at locations ranging from our largest, most energy-intensive operations, to some of our very smallest. In Europe, we purchase low-emission electricity in accordance with the European Guarantees of Origin (GoO) scheme. This has had a positive impact on our CO₂ emissions, and the estimated avoidance for 2017 amounted to nearly 100,000 tons, corresponding to more than 25 percent of the Group's reported annual carbon emissions.
In 2017, Sandvik increased its total use of energy by 40 GWh, corresponding to an increase of 2 percent. In relation to Sandvik's 11 percent growth in invoiced sales, this constituted a 9 percent improvement of energy use.
Some of Sandvik’s production processes release emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO₂) and nitrogen oxides (NOₓ), in addition to CO₂. The Group’s emissions of SO₂ originate mainly from the combustion of oils and coal, and amounted to approximately 31 tons (35) in 2017. NOₓ emissions mainly come from the smelting processes in Sandviken, Hallstahammar and Svedala in Sweden. NOₓ emissions remained unchanged and amounted to 329 tons (330).
The Sandviken operations have been switching some of their furnaces from Liquefied Petroleum Gas to Liquid Natural Gas. For 2017, this resulted in an estimated decrease in CO₂ emissions of approximately 10,000 tons, or 2.6 percent in relation to the 2014 base year. The new furnaces also decreased emissions of NOₓ.
Sandvik Materials Technology in Sandviken has had a certified energy management system (ISO 50001) in place since 2006. In line with legal obligations, such as the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, Sandvik facilities in Sweden conduct energy reviews. During 2017 there were four energy reviews completed. The sites in Sandviken and Hallstahammar, Sweden were assigned EU ETS emission rights corresponding to 84,368 tons of CO₂.
Several of Sandvik’s locations are engaged in renewable energy projects such as solar energy. Sandvik’s Pune, India location, for example, installed solar panels at their site, which began generating power in November 2017. Annual power generation is expected to be 250 MWh.
Use, reuse and recycle
In our efforts to contribute to a more circular economy, we prioritize the use of recycled material as much as possible in production processes. We use 79 percent recycled steel in our production today, with a large portion of that coming from material created in our own turning and drilling production.
In 2017, the Sandvik Coromant product area set a target to recycle 75 percent of tungsten carbide according to sold weight through a closed-loop recycling system. In 2017, the outcome was 84 percent. Sandvik Coromant buys used inserts and solid carbide tools from its customers, collecting the used tools at customer premises. The solid material is sorted, purified and regrinded to powder that is then used by Sandvik’s production plants. Making new tools from recycled solid carbide uses 70 percent less energy than making them from virgin raw materials and 40 percent less CO₂ is emitted.
More than 80 percent of all waste is generated at Sandvik Materials Technology’s facilities in Sandviken, Sweden and Sandvik Machining Solutions’ Wolfram Bergbau und Hütten facility in Austria. The overall goal is to reduce the consumption of raw materials and waste to landfill. Currently, 15 percent of the generated waste is reused or recycled and there are plans in place to increase this further.
Successful trials were performed in 2017 to reuse refractory as a slag-forming agent in Sandviken’s steel plant and the method is now under implementation as a standard operational procedure. Further trials have begun to reduce the amount of slag to landfill by creating products for both internal and external use.
The total amount of waste declined by 2 percent and the waste recovery ratio remained at 15 percent of total waste. 11 percent of Sandvik’s total waste was classified as hazardous. This type of waste is treated and disposed of in a safe manner in accordance with strict legislation.
In our efforts to reduce water consumption, we strive to re-circulate water within our plants. Rainwater collection systems have been installed, for example at the Indian Pune site in 2017. A water recycling plant is also in place in our site in Jet Park, South Africa.
All wastewater from processes is treated before being released. Sandvik’s emissions to water consist mainly of phosphorous and nitrogen compounds, oxygen-consuming substances and metals.
Sandvik Materials Technology began using local groundwater for cooling processes in 2016 instead of potable water. This has resulted in an annual 30,000 m³ reduction of this resource.