Aperam South America, an integrated producer of flat stainless, electric and special steel and also the first in the world in its segment to obtain a neutral carbon balance, has just become the first special flat steel manufacturer in Latin America to obtain ResponsibleSteel™ certification.
According to Responsible Steel, an international, non-profit multi-stakeholder membership organisation, the Latin American steelmaker is committed to maximizing steel's contribution to a sustainable society.
Over the last 12 months, the company has undergone a rigorous international audit process.
ResponsibleSteel is the only global multi-stakeholder standard and certification programme in the industry.
Launched in 2015, ResponsibleSteel™ sets performance standards in sustainability and promotes the certification of companies in the steel sector through a network of independent bodies. Around the world, the organization has over 130 members and associates.
Aperam South America decided to adhere to this important certification system, according to the company's president, Frederico Ayres Lima, to further strengthen its commitment to sustainability and, strategically, promote and make corporate responsibility more widely recognized.
"ResponsibleSteel™ is critical to our goal of striving for leadership in environmental excellence. We have one of the smallest carbon footprints in the industry and strive to adopt best practices in terms of ethics, governance, community engagement and corporate citizenship."Frederico Ayres Lima, president, Aperam South America
"ResponsibleSteel™ is critical to our goal of striving for leadership in environmental excellence. We have one of the smallest carbon footprints in the industry and strive to adopt best practices in terms of ethics, governance, community engagement and corporate citizenship," he says.
To obtain certification, which is valid for three years, Aperam South America received numerous technical visits that led, in many cases, to adjustments and even changes in course. Unlike other schemes, such as ISO, ResponsibleSteel™ audits consulted a wide range of stakeholders: local communities, customers, suppliers, employees and public authorities. The auditors conducted more than 60 interviews to map these people's perceptions of Aperam.
"This certification reinforces our commitment to sustainability, since it is part of our mission to offer the market steel solutions produced in a responsible manner", adds the president of Aperam South America.
For the project co-ordinator at Aperam in Brazil, Robson Machado, who is the company's executive manager of health, safety and environment, this was a challenge that brought a different look to some issues, especially the social one, of valuing relationships. “It was an opportunity to reflect on our practices and see the improvements we can make”, assesses Machado.
Achieving ResponsibleSteel™ certification means improving the responsible production of steel in order to adhere to all the environmental, social and governance principles set out in the ResponsibleSteel Standard.
“Companies must be committed to open dialogue with all stakeholders and collaboration with the best equivalent schemes, whenever possible, to help achieve this mission”, says the site, in a statement.
ResponsibleSteel CEO Annie Heaton commented: “We’re very proud to have Aperam South America join a growing number of sites globally that have been certified against the ResponsibleSteel Standard."Annie Heaton, CEO, Responsible Steel.
ResponsibleSteel CEO Annie Heaton commented: “We’re very proud to have Aperam South America join a growing number of sites globally that have been certified against the ResponsibleSteel Standard. It is the second Aperam site to become certified, Aperam Stainless Europe being one of the earliest sites to achieve ResponsibleSteel certification back in 2021. This indicates Aperam’s continued determination to show leadership in each region they operate in. With over 4,000 workers and contractors, Aperam South America is working to build an inclusive and diverse working environment, one which also aims to give back to the local community. Just one example is the inclusion and diversity plan led by volunteers which the site has put in place to combat discrimination and stereotyping.”
Heaton continued, “The site also set up the OIKOS biological reserve through Aperam’s Acesita Foundation, and this has become not only a thriving hotspot for biodiversity but an important environmental education centre for the area, helping to preserve the nearby habitat for future generations and reflecting the site’s commitment to both people and the planet.”
In 2020 and 2012, Aperam South America, headquartered in Timóteo in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, is the first steelmaker in the special flat steel segment to obtain an externally verified negative net carbon footprint. (scope 1+2). This means that the company removes from the atmosphere, through its increasingly innovative forests and production processes, the same amount of greenhouse gases that it emits to produce Aço Verde Aperam (green steel Aperam).
The company is the only one in its sector to use 100% charcoal as fuel in its blast furnaces, a renewable raw material produced by its BioEnergia unit, in the Jequitinhonha Valley. In this unit, 76,000 hectares of genetically improved eucalyptus are cultivated and around 50,000 hectares of native forest are preserved.