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The environment

Our commitment toward the environment

We care for the climate and promote a circular economy: we develop and install manufacturing equipment that reduces energy consumption and optimizes recycling. We use renewable energy sources wherever possible and avoid the discharge of untreated effluents and waste.

We continuously strive to develop processes that use less material, cut energy consumption and reduce waste.

Our concern for the environment is reflected in:

  • the development of products that contribute to a cleaner environment
  • prevention and risk management
  • the development of new, eco-friendlier production processes for our plants worldwide

1 Development of products that contribute to a cleaner environment

At Bekaert, we develop products that contribute to a cleaner environment. Ecology is an aspect that is already considered during the R&D phase of new products. In many cases, it is even a driving factor. 

Anchoring our presence in floating offshore wind 

Floating wind platforms are an answer to further decarbonize the global energy mix and increase security of supply. Our solutions for wind farms are testimony to our commitment to sustainability. We have several products in our portfolio that are used to build (floating) wind farms: Dramix® for concrete reinforcement, Bezinox® armoring wire to bring electricity ashore via subsea power cables, A-cords timing belts for blade pitch adjustment, superconductor wires for turbine generators, Bekinox® heating cables to de-ice windmill blades, and steel and synthetic mooring lines so platforms stay put.

Bezinox® non-magnetic armoring wire eliminates heat losses entirely

Our latest coating innovation, Bezinox®, is Bekaert’s new-generation cable armoring solution for submarine power cables that transfer electricity from offshore wind farms to land. The Bezinox® non-magnetic armoring wire with galvanized stainless steel lowers the total cost of ownership by reducing energy losses and heat dissipation, and offering a predictable and reliable coating lifetime. 

Thanks to its low permeability, stainless steel reduces energy losses in the armoring that otherwise occur by the cable’s magnetic field. Our solution increases the cable’s efficiency without having to change the cable design. In addition, a-magnetic armoring helps reduce the need for insulation materials to prevent heat dissipation, which is a technical and environmental concern for HVAC cable manufacturers. Finally, the heavy zinc layer protects the wire against pitting and crevice corrosion.

a-magnetic wire  windmills

Bekaert supplies Bezinox® armoring wire to the NorthSeaLink and to the HornSea Two wind farm

Bekaert’s Bezinox® armoring wire was immediately welcomed by cable producers to armor subsea cables that transmit wind power between countries, the NorthSeaLink between Norway and the United Kingdom being one of the most recent examples. 

Bezinox® armored cables also bridge 89 kilometers between the offshore wind farm Hornsea Two and the UK coast. As the largest offshore wind farm in the world, it will power over 1.3 million homes with green electricity. The park will become operational in 2022. 

BBRG brings winds of change in energy markets

As a global mooring specialist, Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group produces ropes for floating wind turbines and other offshore renewable applications. Keeping multiple large offshore turbines on station in dynamic shallow water conditions brings along unique, mission-critical requirements. Bridon-Bekaert meets those requirements. We offer mooring solutions with ropes produced from steel spiral strand to synthetic fibers and an extended set of technical solutions and services.

First synthetic mooring ropes delivered for floating wind turbines 

BBRG has delivered the first synthetic mooring ropes for a floating wind pilot in Japan. The synthetic fiber rope combines wet yarn coating properties and parallel subrope-type constructions, providing superior fatigue endurance over conventional ropes.  

BBRG synthetic rope

Equinor's Hywind Tampen Floating Wind project selects Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group to supply long-term mooring 

Equinor’s Hywind Tampen project has been awarded to Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group (BBRG) by Aker Solutions (Kværner) with a contract to supply 35 long-term mooring lines for 11 floating offshore wind turbines.  

BBRG will supply their SPR2+ product in lengths of 147m of sheathed spiral strand, complete with high strength, easy to connect sockets on custom-designed offshore installation reels. 

The Hywind Tampen project is an 88 MW floating wind power project intended to provide electricity for the Snorre and Gullfaks offshore field operations in the Norwegian North Sea. It will be the world’s first floating wind farm to power offshore oil and gas platforms and the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm in industrializing solutions and reducing costs for future offshore wind power projects. Equinor’s Hywind Tampen project will be the first floating wind array using steel spiral strand as mooring lines, a solution balancing the need for strength, compliance and maximal robustness against cutting or abrasion. 

windturbines

Reducing CO2 exhaust and air pollution of vehicles 

Bekaert’s super-tensile and ultra-tensile steel cord ranges for tire reinforcement are examples of our sustainability focus as from the R&D phase. These steel cords allow tire makers to produce tires with a lower weight, thinner plies, and lower rolling resistance. This revolution enables a potential 15% reduction in weight of the reinforcement areas of tires, thereby reducing the CO2 emissions of a vehicle by up to 5%, which leads to a global reduction of almost 1.5 billion kg of CO2, based on 2020 data.  

(GRI 305-5 scope 3)

Bekaert provides heating cables with a superior performance, enabling Adblue® systems to work very effectively for diesel engines. The heating cables guarantee that the Adblue® systems work under cold conditions. Adblue® systems reduce the NOx levels with more than 90%, turning these into harmless N2 and H2O, leading to a cleaner environment.  

Sustainable solutions for the construction industry

Dramix® steel fibers for concrete reinforcement use 50% less steel, in weight, compared to traditional steel reinforcement solutions. The installation process of Dramix® reinforced concrete also offers other benefits, such as a lower total cost of ownership, durable constructions, and the safety and ergonomic advantages for builders during the installation.

Dramix

Murfor® Compact, Bekaert’s high-performance masonry reinforcement, is a sturdy mesh of high tensile strength steel cords, supplied on a roll for thin joint masonry and glued brickwork. The strong structure of the reinforcement controls cracks and strengthens masonry. This lightweight product is easy to handle and install. As the product can be cut to size on-site, scrap is reduced to an absolute minimum.

Murfor

Fortifix®, Bekaert’s latest reinforcement solution for renovating road cracking, retains its high stiffness and optimal elongation even after installation and continuous, heavy traffic. Its anti-reflective cracking interlayer is an easy-to-use steel cord structure for non-structural road renovations that not only provides a high service-life, but is also 100% recyclable. Thanks to its user-friendly format, Fortifix® can be easily rolled out on rough and smooth surfaces.

Fortifix

Other examples of Bekaert product developments that lead to more environmentally friendly applications are:

  • Water-based coatings as a substitute to solvent-based coatings.
  • Our high-tensile fences contain less steel, which makes them lighter and easier to use, without losing any of its strength. The Bezinal® zinc-aluminum coating protects against corrosion that can cause breakage and failure. The combination of these two elements leads to a longer lifetime, which creates value for the customer. The woven wire fences are not only used for crop or cattle protection. They are also an ideal solution to secure solar arrays as they cast almost no shadow over the solar panels. 

2 Prevention and risk management

Prevention and risk management play an important role in Bekaert’s environmental policy. This includes measures against soil and ground water contamination, responsible use of water and worldwide ISO 14001 certification.

  • Responsible use of water is an ongoing priority. We constantly monitor our water consumption and are implementing programs that aim to reduce water usage over the long term.
  • In 2020, 87% of the Bekaert plants (excluding BBRG) worldwide were ISO 14001 certified. ISO 14001 is part of the ISO 14000 internationally recognized standards providing practical tools to companies who wish to manage their environmental responsibilities. ISO 14001 focuses on environmental systems. Bekaert’s full worldwide certification is an ongoing goal. Bekaert received a group-wide certification for ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. The ISO 9000 family addresses various aspects of quality management. 
  • Bekaert complies with the European RoHS regulation on hazardous substances.

( GRI 102-11)

3 Development of eco-friendlier production processes

Our ambition is to develop eco-friendlier production processes for our plants worldwide. We do this by implementing worldwide initiatives that aim to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions and by installing energy-efficient infrastructure and equipment in our new plants and plant extensions. 

Responsible use of energy is a continuous concern at Bekaert. 

  • Since 2015, Bekaert runs the Bekaert Manufacturing System (BMS), a transformation program focused on manufacturing excellence, including energy reduction measures. Bekaert’s overall energy consumption decreased compared to 2019 due to a combination of different factors: the energy reduction actions from the BMS program came fully into action and footprint changes in both the Rubber Reinforcement and the Steel Wire Solutions activities enhanced the energy efficiency overall.
    • The energy  intensity  ratio  reduced  thanks  to  earlier introduced  energy  reduction programs implemented, and the change in footprint and product mix.
    • 100% of Bekaert’s production plants are equipped with LED lights.
    • In 2020 Bekaert also improved the energy efficiency of machine engines and optimized operational cycles and settings of production systems.

(GRI 302-1)

Proalco-Bekaert awarded for sustainability initiatives 

Proalco, Bekaert’s subsidiary in Colombia, has received a level 3 gold category award for being a competitive and efficient company in the implementation of energy efficiency and sustainability actions”. The award was granted by Corporación Ambiental Empresarial (CAEM), an organization set up by the Camara de Comercio de Bogota (CCB) with support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF). 

The organization promotes a transfer toward sustainable technologies through the application of energy efficiency projects in industrial companies in Colombia, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve productivity and competitiveness.

(GRI 302-1)

  • Renewable energy:
  • In total, 43% of the electricity consumed came from renewable energy sources in 2020, up from 42% in 2019. The success rate in sourcing renewable energy sources largely depends on the availability of these sources and of the proof of origin. In countries like Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Romania, Slovakia, the Netherlands and the UK, practically 100% of Bekaert’s electricity consumption comes from renewable energy sources. Bekaert has the ambition to purchase 55% of electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2025.
  • Due to the increased share of renewable energy sources, we were able to reduce our GHG intensity ratio for electrical energy by 5% in 2020 compared to 2019, putting us well on track to realize our ambitions.
     

Bekaert to source 100% of US electricity needs from renewable energy 

In December 2020, ENGIE North America completed the construction of the King Plains windfarm in Oklahoma, US.  Bekaert entered into a 35 MW Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) with ENGIE North America in 2019 and is considering additional VPPAs as we work to achieve 100% renewable energy supply in the US. We are also looking into sourcing VPPAs in Europe as one of the measures to meet the company’s global ambition of 55% renewables by 2025.

RE worldmap

Details of actuals and targets are described below in ‘Energy Related Data’.
(GRI 302-4)

Responsible water process management is another aspect of our efforts to make our production processes more eco-friendly. 

  • Bekaert’s Ranjangaon plant in India has a zero liquid discharge water purification system. As a result, all industrial wastewater streams there are recycled and reused in the production process. 
  • The Bekaert plant in Izmit (Turkey) uses reverse osmosis membrane filtration as a first treatment step of the incoming raw water for the production of process water. In 2019, the plant installed a water treatment unit to allow the reuse of backwash wastewaters as process water, thereby reducing their water footprint by more than 23 000 m³ per year.
  • The roof of our BBRG plant in Newcastle (UK) has a guttering system to collect rainwater and channel it into an underground storage tank. A water filtration and pumping system cleans and circulates the rainwater through the water system. The water is used for the general factory water outlets including hosepipes, toilets and fire hydrants. Any surplus rainwater flows into the River Tyne via a contaminant interceptor system. The roof also has solar panels that provide energy to heat the water. 95% of the water use in the plant is reclaimed.  
  • A tank system was installed in our plant in Indonesia in 2020 to discharge rainwater in a ground well. The installation first collects rainwater from the main factory roof, then filters the water in separate tanks and as a last step discharges the water into a 150 meter deep well. The purpose is environmental conservation, maintaining the groundwater level for the surrounding area by restoring water that the site is using.
    tank indonesia
  • Also in our joint venture plant in Contagem (Brazil) rainwater is collected in a tank. In addition there is a closed water circuit through which the water is used to cool equipment. In the next step the water returns to the tank, receives primary treatment and returns to the water circuit. This way 97% of the water (20 000 m³ monthly) is reused
  • The plant in Zwevegem (Belgium) joined a government-supported project to have its filtered wastewater reused by other companies in the neighborhood. This initiative is taken to prevent water stress and will come into effect in 2021. 

Waste

  • 100% of all steel scrap at Bekaert returns to the steel industry for recycling.
  • Our plants in Ranjangaon (India) and Slatina (Romania) have a mechanical vapor recompression evaporator to treat waste lubricant from wet wire drawing. This new type of evaporator consumes 50% less energy compared to heat pump-based evaporators that were used in the past. The clean distillate that is produced by the new evaporator can be reused either as cooling water or as process water. The waste concentrate has only one tenth of the original volume. Additionally, a pretreatment method was defined to allow evaporation of lubricant containing degreaser waste, so that up to 90% of the water can be extracted for reuse.

Environment related data 2020

Energy(1) 

Total energy consumption = 4 577 GWh Of which:

  • Electrical energy (incl. cooling) = 2 880 GWh
  • Thermal energy (steam and heat) = 286 GWh
  • Natural gas = 1 410 GWh

(GRI 302-1)

Energy Intensity Ratio(1):

  • Electrical energy (incl. cooling) = 876 kWh/ton
  • Thermal energy (steam & heat) = 87 kWh/ton
  • Natural gas = 429 kWh/ton

(GRI 302-3)

Methodology used: the energy data are monitored in a central database.

Renewable Energy:
43% of the electricity needs came from renewable energy sources in 2020.

Bekaert has determined ambitions to increase the share of renewable energy for the longer term (2025). By 2025 we want to increase the share of renewable energy to 55%.

CO2 (1)

Scope 1

Natural gas

  • GHG emissions natural gas = 259 569 ton CO2
  • GHG intensity ratio natural gas = 79 kg CO2 /ton 

Transport

GHG emissions from outbound logistics:

  • Global sea freight: 22 603 ton CO2
  • Road transport for Rubber Reinforcement EMEA: 8 249 ton CO2
  • Air freight: 803 ton CO2

GHG intensity ratio from outbound logistics:

  • Global sea freight: 0.055 ton CO2/ton product sold
  • Road transport for Rubber Reinforcement EMEA: 0.0388 ton CO2-eq/ton

GhG emissions from company cars & busses (excluding JVs): 3 606 ton CO2/year 
GHG emissions from business travel (air): 1 700 ton CO2 (without radiative forcing (RF)) 

(GRI 305-1 GRI 305-4)

Scope 2

The CO2 footprint has been calculated based on the country specific kWh to CO2 conversion factors per individual country as listed in the 2019 'International Energy Agency’ CO2 conversion standards.

(GRI 305-2)

GHG emissions from purchased electricity and other types of energy: (Scope 2 emissions):
  • Electrical energy (including cooling) = 1 195 306 ton CO2
  • Thermal energy (Steam and heat) = 52 718 ton CO2

(GRI 305-2)

GHG Intensity Ratio:

  • Electrical energy (including cooling) = 363 kg CO2/ton.
  • Thermal energy (Steam and heat) = 16 kg CO2/ton.

Taking into account the efforts we are making and the ambitions we are defining to increase the share of energy from renewable sources, our GHG emissions are to reduce by 25% in 2025 versus the reference year 2015 (see ambitions and glossary).

Water (1)

(GRI 303-1)

Water withdrawal 

Total water withdrawal was 8 088 megaliter (ML) of which 4 651 ML from areas with water stress(2)

Freshwater withdrawal by source:

  • Surface water: 587 ML of which 530 ML from areas with water stress
  • Groundwater: 2 201 ML of which 449 ML from areas with water stress
  • Third party water: 5 300 ML of which 3 672 ML from areas with water stress:
    • 4 783 ML from surface water of which 3 513 ML from areas with water stress
    • 517 ML from groundwater of which 158 ML from areas with water stress

(GRI 303-3)

Water discharge 

Total water discharge is 3 595 ML in 2020 of which 1 823 ML to areas with water stress.

(GRI 303-4)

Water discharge by destination:

  • Surface water: 1 511 ML of which 462 ML freshwater and 1 049 ML other water
  • Groundwater: 0 ML
  • Sea water: 91 ML of which 37 ML freshwater and 54ML other water
  • Third party water: 1 993 ML of which 221 ML freshwater and 1 773 ML other water

(GRI 303-2)

Water discharge to areas with water stress was 1 823 ML of which 717 ML freshwater and 1 106 ML other water.

Our water discharge is filtered at our own premises.

Water consumption 

Total water consumption was 4 493 ML of which 2 828 ML from areas with water stress.

(GRI 303-5)

(1)Data provided by the respective plants
(2)Water stress: in areas with water stress, the ratio of total annual water withdrawal to total available annual renewable water supply is high (40-80%) or extremely high (>80%).