Teams across Sandvik are undertaking hundreds of projects that are helping the company reach net-zero emissions. The biggest impact emerges when customers use the products, but Sandvik also work to minimize the impact from its own operations. The numerous projects show how Sandvik employees are making the sustainability shift together.
Environmental Impact Projects (EIPs), in one form or another, have been taking place across Sandvik for many years. “It started for two reasons,” says Mats Alvem, Director of Environment and Occupational Health, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions. “We wanted to become more energy-efficient and there was EU legislation that demanded large corporations work with energy efficiency and report on that. But now it has developed and includes the whole environmental area.”
The establishment of Sandvik 2030 Sustainability goals in 2019 increased the number of EIPs dramatically and currently 225 projects are ongoing.
“The EIPs are a very important part of meeting the 2030 goals,” says Alvem, who is also the host of the Sandvik Environmental Working Group. “The 2030 goals have certainly helped put a bigger focus on this.”
Everyone works with it
The 2030 Sustainability goals are ambitious. Particularly the goals to halve the company’s CO2 impact and create at least 90 percent material circularity, which are directly related to the climate crisis.
“To help us measure progress we have an objective key results process,” says Mats W Lundberg, Head of Sustainability at Sandvik. “Within this, we have broken down the 2030 targets to yearly targets for each business area, who have broken it down for their divisions. Halving CO2 emissions by 2030 is a clear north star. So, if 2025 is halfway to 2030, we need to have met half the targets by 2025.”
Lundberg says that even while considering the skewered numbers caused by the reduction in production due to the pandemic, Sandvik is on track to meet its climate goals. And the numerous EIPs taking place across the business areas plays an important role.
Embracing sustainability in the way we have is good business.
The EIPs are established by the business areas. “We are a very decentralized organization,” says Alvem. “And while it is mandatory for each business area to have EIPs in certain areas, like energy and CO2 reductions, they are responsible and accountable for reaching the targets. So, everyone needs to work with it, but you decide on your own how you work with it and what you do.
It is the integration of business with sustainability that is key to success. “Embracing sustainability in the way we have is good business,” Lundberg says. “And integrating it into everything we do is really smart because it’s about managing resources, which means you are not wasting anything, which means you save money. Then there’s also the added bonus of changing the future of the planet by creating good products and helping customers manage their sustainability challenges.”
Helping Sandvik customers to be more sustainable is perhaps the main business objective of the 2030 sustainability goals, which have targets across the entire value chain, from suppliers to operations. By ensuring energy efficiency and reductions in waste and CO2 emissions in every production and process stage, the customer receives a more productive solution with a lower carbon footprint that helps them meet their own sustainability targets.
Looking at the entire value chain, the largest climate impact from Sandvik is found when the customers use the products. Buying clean energy also has a major climate impact and this is why some of the largest EIPs relate to energy procurement. In India, for example, where Sandvik has many operations across large sites, and where CO2 emissions from the production of electricity are relatively high, contracts for the procurement of renewable energy have been established. “This is for a majority of electricity consumption in our operations across India,” says Alvem. “It is quite massive.”
Many EIPs relate to waste and circularity. In Västberga, Sweden for example, heat pumps have been installed which send waste heat produced in the processes back to the district heating system for use by the city of Stockholm.
We look at how we can partner up with suppliers and customers to develop the products that customers need to succeed.
Another “gold star” site Alvem says, is the Sandvik Coromant site in Katowice, Poland. “They have improved energy efficiency in a fantastic way, with real physical improvements in both their buildings and production processes. They recover energy from different processes and transfer that energy for use in other processes. They have reduced their energy consumption by around 25 percent.”
For an engineering company like Sandvik, innovations like these are essential for the future. “It all comes back to business and integration,” says Lundberg. “We look at how we can partner up with suppliers and customers to develop the products that customers need to succeed. They have the same challenges as everyone else, they need to reach net-zero emissions and reduce their waste. If we can provide that service, solution or product, then they will pick us.”
Saving the world and making money at the same time is a combination that is great for employee engagement, retention and attraction.
“The EIPs are a way of pushing our sites and divisions to make improvements,” adds Alvem. “But today, this is not really an issue because everyone embraces the sustainability shift.”
Environmental Improvement Projects at Sandvik
- A total of 500 EIPs have been completed or are ongoing.
- The average duration of an EIP is around 9 months to a year. Some of the bigger ones can be ongoing for many years.
- Each EIP includes an estimate of what positive improvement there will be, for example an energy reduction or change from fossil fuel to renewable energy.
- All EIPs contribute to one of the four sustainability 2030 goals: More than 90 percent circularity, Halve the CO2impact, Zero harm to people and Always do the right thing.