From our CEO
The year 2019 was a year of uncertainty. In the world economy we witnessed trade wars, the beginning of a recession and – finally – a decision on Brexit. We also saw increased consumer uncertainty; due to the economic downturn many private investments were postponed, for instance purchasing a new car. At the same time, demand for electric or hybrid vehicles surged. These uncertainties and contradicting forces affect our customers and result in fluctuating demand for metal powder. For Höganäs, it was as important as ever to maintain close and trusting customer relations, and support the market in any way we can.
Our work to improve our sustainability performance continued during 2019 and our updated sustainability strategy will help us even further to set concrete targets that will move us in the right direction. Our present performance is commented on in each chapter of this report.
In terms of health and safety, we have made progress but see the need to improve even more and faster. We have added resources and expect to see positive development in the coming years. One important improvement area is leadership; to engrain “safety first” in our cultural DNA and never accept unsafe behaviour.
From a climate point of view, we took great strides during 2019. The Board of Directors approved our Climate Roadmap and our goal to become climate neutral by 2045. This is however an ambitious target, which demands not only investment from our side, but also outside investment in new technology. As a steel company, 60 per cent of our carbon dioxide emissions come from the use of fossil coal in the reduction of iron ore. The second largest emission source is due to our use of natural gas in production. One important building block of the Climate Roadmap is to establish bio-coke and green energy gas as fuel sources. We also aim to develop technology to remedy the root cause of our environmental impact, and not only solve the symptoms. One example is to develop methods of using bio-coke, not only as a renewable fuel but also as an alternative to anthracite, as a carbon addition to steel melts. We are convinced that metal powders can improve many industries and society at large. Hence it is vital for us to integrate sustainability in our strategy and business planning.
We strive to not only reduce our own negative impact, but also offer sustainable products and solutions. One example is to develop metal powder solutions for tomorrow’s electric and hybrid cars. Other areas we are prioritizing are surface coating, additive manufacturing and environmental solutions, all of which contribute to environmental efficiency and reduced material and energy consumption in society.
One step in this development is our efforts to systematically assess our products’ lifecycles and their climate impact. Through this work, we can meet our customers’ expectations and promote products’ sustainability advantages with a knowledge-based approach.
In the years to come, we are committed to continuing our sustainability work according to our strategy and to show our support for the UN Global Compact as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.
We acknowledge the fact that sustainability is a complex field with many challenges. We are committed to taking our responsibility to drive the industry forward and in this report, we aim to give a transparent and honest description of our performance and challenges ahead.
President and CEO, Höganäs Group