The environment

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

Our concern for the environment is applied in 3 domains:
  • develop new, eco-friendlier production processes for our plants worldwide
  • prevention and risk management
  • the development of products that contribute to a cleaner environment

1. Develop eco-friendlier production processes for our plants worldwide

In 2016:
  • The LED program replacing all traditional lighting by LED lights in production areas worldwide, has been further rolled out. We achieved annual energy reduction savings of 63 GWh (50% of the energy used for lighting), as a result of this program, which will be continued and completed in 2017. (GRI 302-4)
  • Excluding China, 25% of the electricity needs came from renewable energy sources. Including China (where power from renewable sources is scarce), 15% was from renewable sources. The success rate in sourcing from renewable energy sources largely depends on the availability of these sources and of data thereon.
  • We have continued to make progress in the treatment of used hydrochloric acid. A significant number of Bekaert plants outsource the treatment of used hydrochloric acid to external contractors. These contractors convert the waste acid into iron chloride coagulants used for water treatment. Lab scale tests have now been conducted to convert the used hydrochloric acid into an iron chloride solution, which will facilitate reuse by contractors. Alternatively, the consumed hydrochloric acid is recuperated on-site, after treatment by a regeneration unit which converts the waste acid into iron oxides and fresh hydrochloric acid. The latter can be reused in the production process.

2. Prevention and risk management play an important role in Bekaert's environmental policy.

  • Bekaert’s global procedure to ensure precautionary measures against soil and ground water contamination (ProSoil) was further fine-tuned with concrete action plans in the course of 2016. (GRI 102-11)
  • Responsible use of water is also an ongoing priority. In 2016 we expanded programs that aim to reduce water usage in the long term. We thoroughly analyzed and evaluated our water balance in order to set a standard for Bekaert worldwide.
  • In 2016, 95% of the Bekaert plants 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; it is an element in the integration process of newly acquired entities and of companies that are added to the consolidation perimeter. Bekaert also received a group-wide certification for ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. The ISO 9000 family addresses various aspects of quality management.

3. 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 in product development. 

Some examples: 
  • Fortifix®, an interlayer steel cord structure for non-structural road renovations, not only provides a high service-life, it is also 100% recyclable.
  • Water-based coated low carbon wires as a substitute to solvent lacquered products.
  • Sawing wire, which allows manufacturers in the photovoltaic industry to cut polysilicon ingots into wafers for the production of solar cells with a minimum loss of material.
  • Bekaert’s super-tensile and ultra-tensile steel cord ranges for tire reinforcement allow tire makers to produce tires with a lower weight, thinner plies, and lower rolling resistance. For the end user this results in reduced CO2 emission and lower fuel consumption. The highest tensile strength cords made by Bekaert currently enable a decrease of cord weight by over 30% compared to normal tensile strength cords.
  • Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group introduced a new range of polymer core ropes and extreme pressure-resistant lubricants NXG (next generation) ropes and Brilube® Extreme for deep water applications. In deep waters, lubricant components may break down due to high pressures, especially when the core of the steel ropes loosens. This all may lead to accelerated corrosion, a shorter rope life, environmental impact and increased operating costs. Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group developed high pressure resistant low friction polymer grades that give improved support within the rope construction, limit water ingress into the rope core, and act as a medium to carry other property enhancers. This is in conjunction with Brilube® Extreme, a next generation lubricant. This lubricant was developed by Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group and selected lubricant manufacturers to meet extreme deep water conditions, wider operating temperature range and ever increasing environmental regulations. The Brilube® lubricants are used both in rope manufacture, custom rope assembly and service dressing.

Environment related data

Energy (GRI 302-1)

Total Energy consumption = 4 152 459 MWH
Of which:
  • Electrical Energy (incl. cooling) =  2 487 911 MWH
  • Thermal Energy (Steam and Gas) =1 664 548  MWH
The energy consumption increased by 8% compared to 2015. This is because of an increase in total tonnage produced and a change in the product-mix. However, thanks to the implementation of the Bekaert Manufacturing System, which includes energy reduction measures, we were able to limit the increase in energy consumption.

Renewable energy:
  • Excluding China (where power from renewable sources is scarce), 25% of electricity needs came from renewable energy sources. 
  • Including China 15% was from renewable sources
Energy Intensity Ratio: (GRI 302-3) (1)
  • Electrical Energy (incl. cooling) = 1.128 MWH/ton
  • Thermal Energy (Steam and Gas) = 0.755 MWH/ton
(1) Source of Conversion: Data provided by the respective plants

All energy data is excluding BBRG.

Methodology used: the energy data is monitored in a central database and is based on energy invoices.


Scope 2: (GRI 305-2)
  • Electrical energy (including cooling) = 995 164 ton CO2
  • Thermal Energy (Steam and gas) = 301 971 ton CO2
GHG Intensity Ratio: (GRI 305-4) (2)
  • Electrical energy (including cooling) = 0.451 CO2/ton
  • Thermal Energy (Steam and gas) = 0.137 CO2/ton
(2) Source of conversion: data provided by the respective plants.

All CO2 data is excluding BBRG.

Water (GRI 303-1) (1)

Total volume of water in m³ withdrawn from any water source: 9 128 160m3

Total volume of water in m³ withdrawn from any water source by source type: 
  • City water: 4 893 573 m³ (~=53.6%) 
  • Ground water: 2 757 104.5 m³ (~=30.2%) 
  • Canal/river water: 745 053 m³ (~=8.2%) 
  • Rain water collected for reuse: 34 063 m³ (~= 0.4%) 
Standard reporting and follow-up system Sensor; the total volume of effluent discharged from wastewater treatment: 3 095 097 m³ (GRI 306-1)

The total volume of effluent discharged in cubic meters by ton end product: 0.987 m³/ton end product.

Destination of the effluent discharged: 
  • Surface water (lake, sea, river, canal): 51.8% (1 604 165 m3
  • Sewer: 42.1% (1 301 767 m3
  • Irrigation: 6.1% (189 165 m3
Treatment method: Physicochemical treatment: 100% 

(1): BBRG partially included (Ex-Bekaert entities full year 2016, ex- Bridon entities excluded).

As part of Bekaert’s continuous search for environmentally-friendly resources the plant in Burgos (Spain) will from January 2017 source all hot water needs from SOMACYL S.A (Sociedad Pública de Infraestructuras y Medio Ambiente de Castilla y León), which is using industrial waste and biomass as fuel to produce hot water.