Höganäs laboratory

Höganäs & Sustainability

Our place in society

Höganäs’ contribution to society is to provide metal power products and solutions that enable improved industrial sustainability by making our customers’ final products more resource and energy efficient, with lower negative impact during their lifecycle.

Looking at the whole steel industry, Höganäs is a relatively small player, which means that the possibility to influence the industry is limited. We are however big in our niche – metal powders – where we take the opportunities to inspire improvements in our sphere of influence.

Our position in the value chain, several steps upstream from the end users, makes demands from consumers slow to reach us. We need to proactively listen to the signals coming from our customers’ customer and further downstream to be prepared for future demands.

Global trends that will impact Höganäs’ business

Electrification is a trend in the automotive industry, aimed at creating the next generation e-drivelines. This will in turn mean lighter cars without combustion engines, hence a lower amount of metal powder components. On the other hand, there is an opportunity for Höganäs to widen the use of soft magnetic composites.

Sustainability means that both customers and industries are looking for more sustainable solutions, that do not waste resources but rather improve society. In society at large, we see an increased interest in the sharing economy, such as car pools. This will influence the car industry going forward, and therefore us too.

Mass customization is a trend that comes from the manufacturing industry, where demands for shorter series, quicker shifts and increased customizations emerge. Customers are also increasingly asking for shorter lead times, which demands production close to the markets. 

Digital transformation means that data is more available to influence how we develop new products. It can also help us understand how our products are used, for instance how the powder mix works in the press and after sintering. Here we must also be on the look out for how new business models may affect our own business.

Sustainability challenges in our industry

Even though metal powders are superior in many applications, they are still made of materials from the earth’s crust, which means we have to address the sustainability challenges that are typical for the mining and metal industry as a whole.

Our industry:

  • uses raw materials from the earth’s crust
  • has production processes that consume energy, of which fossil energy forms the largest part
  • incinerates carbon-containing materials to reduce metal oxide into metal, which generates carbon emissions
  • has processes that need to be closely monitored and controlled to be safe
  • uses substances that could potentially be harmful
  • uses water and land
  • creates emissions to air and water discharges
  • creates waste
  • deals with social and ethical issues related to mining

On the other hand, our industry provides the necessary materials for basic needs like infrastructure, buildings, machinery as well as countless other technical, medical and scientific needs. The greatest challenge for the industry is to provide these essential materials in a responsible manner where the benefits overshadow the negative impact.

Metals can be recycled and reused innumerous times, making well-functioning systems for managing and collecting end-of-life materials essential for the metal industry.

Global raw steel production

Of all the steel that has been produced to date, approximately 75 percent is still in use. The average life for steel products in infrastructure is 30-40 years. An increased amount of steel products will be needed for infrastructure, clean water and sanitation in underdeveloped regions as part of sustainable development. This means that, even though steel is recycled, iron ore needs to be added into the “steel cycle” for long into the future.

Source: The steel scrap age, Pauliuk et al (2013)

People and communities

The global society, as well as local communities and their members, depend on profitable companies creating stability and prosperity. The metal industry is an important building block in the global economy and we are proud to contribute by running a solid business reflecting our ethical principles and values.

A large industrial facility affects people living nearby. Negative impact like noise, dust and heavy traffic in and out of the industrial compound needs to be managed thoroughly and in response to community expections. The working environment can also be a challenge, with hot surfaces, high temperatures and exposure to hazardous substances. The working environment must be safe and injuries must be avoided. Our factories must be clean and well-maintained in order to blend seamlessly into the neighbourhood without disturbances.

 

 

On the positive side, the local community receives the economic benefits from a strong business that pays taxes, provides job opportunities and contributes financially to various local initiatives. We also generate business for a large number of other companies that provide goods and services.

By listening to our neighbours, co-workers and other stakeholders, and by taking part in the development of the local community, we endeavour to be a responsible citizen and employer wherever we operate.