Firm footing in hydrogen

In recent years, we have grown our presence in the entire value chain of green hydrogen production. Although we saw the opportunities very early and have built a track record of more than 20 years producing Currento® porous transport layers for proton exchange membrane electrolysis, the market developments have recently gained momentum. 

As a result, we see increased and much needed collaboration across the full hydrogen value chain. 

Apart from being a development partner and supplier to market leading companies and research consortia, we have joined the ECO2Fuel project, a EU project under Horizon2020 to convert CO2 into sustainable fuel. We also acquired a stake in Pajarito Powder (Albuquerque, US), a leader in the development and commercialization of advanced electrocatalysts for electrolyzers that enable green hydrogen production.

You Know Watt

Recognizing the carbon and wider environmental footprint associated with producing our products and solutions, our global program, “You Know Watt”, aims to further reduce our energy use, water consumption, and waste generation in a structured way. 

We deploy the program plant by plant and engage the entire workforce to identify and implement savings measures in these fields. 

The results have so far been very encouraging, with an overall identified energy intensity improvement potential of more than 15%, which is in line with our ambition and targets. Similarly, we have also identified potential opportunities to reduce our water consumption and waste generation. The outcome is in line with, and often exceeds, our targets.

Welcoming Ukrainian people to the Bekaert Sládkovičovo family

The humanitarian impact of the war in Ukraine has changed the face of the world. As a company we have supported various humanitarian efforts through donations and by offering employment and accommodation at different locations where Ukrainian refugees try to rebuild their lives in a safe environment. Many Ukrainian refugees crossed boarders to Slovakia. Bekaert took the initiative to actively help refugees in their search for a safe place, a new home, and rewarding work.

At the end of 2022 we employed 77 Ukrainian colleagues, most of them female refugees, in our Sládkovičovo plant in Slovakia. We created a friendly and safe environment for them, helped with accommodation, and provided on the job training to make their adaptation and team integration process  smooth.

All Ukrainian colleagues finalized their production certification and are officially trained to perform several tasks individually and independently.

Anchoring in strong winds

As a global mooring solutions provider to floating offshore wind parks, Bekaert invested in TFI Marine. TFI (Dublin, Ireland) is a leading mooring innovator in floating offshore wind. The company has developed and successfully demonstrated SeaSpring, a game-changing polymer-based mooring component that significantly reduces the mooring loads and fatigue experienced by floating platforms. This investment creates strong synergies with the synthetics ropes business of Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group. The partnership also launches a commercial collaboration whereby a smart solution of BBRG synthetic ropes equipped with TFI load reduction devices will be introduced to the market.

Water is life

Every year 11 billion kilos of plastic end up in oceans due to a continuous inflow via rivers and canals. Every action to reduce the inflow is meaningful and creates awareness among participants.

Bekaert is a supporting partner of River Cleanup, a non-profit organization that organizes river clean-up events, develops technology for permanent and mobile plastic removal from rivers, and educates and creates awareness to stop plastics from entering the eco-systems. Bekaert supports both financially and in-kind, through engineering advice and materials. The organization helps Bekaert organize clean-up events on rivers and along riverbanks in various locations in the world. Purpose is to enhance employee engagement and community relations through enforcing active sustainability awareness and activities together.

In 2022 we organized clean-up events in Bossuit, Belgium, and in Van Buren, Arkansas, US. In 2023 we will organize such events in Indonesia and Scotland.

Establishing the new possible

 You may notice something different about Bekaert in this report: we have launched our new ambition and purpose and with this comes a new visual identity that represents our brand in a way that unites our heritage with a new boldness.

It is the start of a new chapter in our long history, with an ambitious value proposition, clear commitments in leading with a purpose, and a bold new brand style. 

It fully underpins our strategy and our purpose: Establishing the new possible.

SBTi-approved emission reduction targets

Following on from acceptance of our application to join the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, which is an urgent call to action from a global coalition to limit global warming, our ambitious science-based GHG reduction targets have been independently validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). By signing up and committing to targets in line with SBTi, we became part of the UN Climate Champions’ Race to Zero and through this we aim to make a significant impact in the fight against climate change. 

Inclusion in BEL ESG index of Euronext Brussels

Bekaert has been selected as a member of the new BEL ESG index, a recognition for our sustainability performance and progress. The BEL ESG index comprises the leading sustainable, Belgian-listed companies and tracks those demonstrating the best environmental, social and governance practices. The index also highlights the market’s growing demand for sustainable investments.

SHAKTI initiative in India

Our team in India partners with a local NGO, Pradeept Bharat, to enhance the education and empowerment of girls in underprivileged communities, like the girls from the vulnerable Katkari tribe. During a 12-month program, the SHAKTI initiative helps girls develop art and craft skills like tie-dye printing, handmade quilting, and crocheted fabrics and objects.

Our team in India also gave the opportunity of a first selling experience by setting up a booth during the Diwali celebrations, allowing Bekaert colleagues to buy accessories and decoration produced by the ‘Shakti’ girls.