for a cleaner world is one of Bekaert’s ambitions: we continuously strive to use fewer materials, bring down our energy consumption and reduce waste.
Bekaert’s concern for the environment is three-fold:
On the one hand, we develop new, eco-friendlier production processes for our plants worldwide. Seizing the opportunity of the expansion of its steel cord plant in Shenyang in 2010 for example, Bekaert raised the bar for its manufacturing footprint by creating a new standard while actively supporting the targets set by the Chinese government and the Liaoning Province in terms of energy conservation and environmental protection. In our plant in Rogers (US) we completed a retrofit lighting project which resulted in better lighting and reduced energy usage. In April 2011 the Bekaert Regional Headquarters Asia in Shanghai celebrated its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Golden Certification Award for the environmental friendliness and sustainable design of the new Bekaert offices in Shanghai.
We frequently execute audits in our plants to check the implementation of our internal procedures for avoiding the pollution of soil and groundwater. Action plans are defined to take proactive measures and keep awareness for the environment top of mind. We continue to work on the ‘New Environmental Technologies’ project in order to build up knowledge and expertise in environmental technologies and thereby boost the environmental performance of plants worldwide. Some examples include the increased recuperation of chemicals through improvement of the scrubbers, the treatment of waste lubricants, and improvement projects toward attaining zero disposal of copper and zinc.
In 2012, 90% of our consolidated plants worldwide were ISO 14001 certified. Bekaert’s full worldwide certification remains an ongoing goal and an element in the integration process of newly acquired entities and of the companies that have been added to the consolidation perimeter.
Secondly, Bekaert invests in product innovations that allow for process improvements at the production sites of our customers. Special wire coatings, for example, can eliminate certain process steps for our customers and hence improve environmental impact as well as the production cost.
Thirdly, Bekaert also develops products that contribute to a cleaner environment. To name a few, we manufacture super and ultra-tensile steel cord that answers the need for light-weight materials in cars, stainless steel wedge wires used for oil and water filtration, cable armoring solutions for green power transmission, and substitutes for solvent-based coatings.