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The environment

We care for the climate and promote a circular economy: we develop and install manufacturing equipment that reduces energy consumption and optimizes recycling. We use renewable energy sources wherever possible and avoid the discharge of untreated effluents and waste.

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:

  • the development of new, eco-friendlier production processes for our plants worldwide
  • prevention and risk management
  • the development of products that contribute to a cleaner environment

1 Development of eco-friendlier production processes

Our ambition is to develop eco-friendlier production processes for our plants worldwide. We do this by implementing worldwide initiatives that aim to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions and by installing energy-efficient infrastructure in all our new plants.

  • Responsible use of energy is a continuous concern at Bekaert. Since 2015, Bekaert runs the Bekaert Manufacturing System (BMS), a transformation program focused on manufacturing excellence, including energy reduction measures. Although Bekaert's overall energy consumption increased compared to 2017 due to an increase of the total tonnage produced and a shift in the product mix towards higher energy intensive products, we were able to limit the increase. In reference to 2015, the BMS Energy Program contributed to an implemented recurrent energy saving of 410 GWh. 
  • The energy intensity ratio remained at the same level because of expansions in plants with higher energy intensive production processes on the one hand and volume decline in other plants thereby reducing the denominator base on the other hand.
  • Details of actuals and targets are described below in ‘Energy Related Data’. 
  • 100% of Bekaert’s production plants are equipped with LED lights. (GRI 302-4)
  • In total, 37% of the electricity needs came from renewable energy sources in 2018.  The success rate in sourcing from renewable energy sources largely depends on the availability of these sources and of data thereon. In Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Slovakia, the Netherlands and the UK, 100% of Bekaert’s electricity consumption comes from renewable energy sources, a step change in reducing our carbon footprint. Bekaert targets to purchase 40% of electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2020 and 55% by 2025. (GRI 302-1)
  • Due to the increased share of renewable energy sources, we were able to reduce our GHG intensity ratio for electrical energy by 6% in 2018 compared to 2017, putting us well on track to achieve our targets.
    Since 2018, a regional biomass energy plant supplies overheated water to our plant in Spain. Thanks to this, one third of the CO2 emissions in our plant were eliminated. 

Countries where Bekaert sources 100% of the electricity needs from renewable energy sources: Renewable energy

  • In our Ranjangaon plant in India and our Weihai plant in China, we completed the installation of a zero liquid discharge water purification system. As a result, all industrial wastewater streams there are recycled and reused.

2 Prevention and risk management

Prevention and risk management play an important role in Bekaert’s environmental policy. This includes measures against soil and ground water contamination, responsible use of water and worldwide ISO 14001 certification. (GRI 102-11)

  • Responsible use of water is an ongoing priority. We constantly monitor our water consumption and have implemented programs that aim to reduce water usage over the long term. 
  • In 2018, 93% of 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 group-wide certification for ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. The ISO 9000 family addresses various aspects of quality management.
  • Bekaert complies with the European RoHS regulation on hazardous substances.

3 Development of products that contribute to a cleaner environment

At Bekaert 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.

Bekaert’s super-tensile and ultra-tensile steel cord ranges for tire reinforcement are examples of this. These steel cords allow tire makers to produce tires with a lower weight, thinner plies, and lower rolling resistance. This revolution enables a 15% reduction in total tire weight, thereby reducing the CO2 emissions of a vehicle by 250kg, which is equivalent to a global reduction of 850 million kg of CO2 per year. (GRI 305-5 scope 3)

Solar car team

Helping the Belgian Solar Team win the 2018 Latin American Carrera Solar Atacama race in Chile

The Belgian Punch Powertrain Solar Team won the famous Latin American Carrera Solar Atacama race in Chile.

The steering system of their solar car, built by a team of KU Leuven University students, has an advanced cord from Bridon Bekaert Ropes Group inside. 

The solar car race is considered the most extreme of its kind, both in terms of the race itself and the weather conditions. In total, 2 577 km were covered from the capital Santiago to Arica - in the north of the country. The route took in summits in the Andes some 3 430 meters above sea level, and the Atacama Desert. The skillful navigation of the solar car was one of the critical elements in this successful race and was made possible by the advanced cord in the steering module.


Environment related data

Energy (1) (GRI 302-1)

Total energy consumption = 5 279 GWh 

Of which:

  • Electrical energy (incl. cooling) = 3 300 GWh
  • Thermal energy (steam and gas) = 1 979 GWh

Energy Intensity Ratio:  (GRI 302-3)

  • Electrical energy (incl. cooling) = 956 KWH/ton.  
  • Thermal energy (steam & gas) = 573 KWH/ton. 

Methodology used: the energy data are monitored in a central database. 

Renewable Energy:

37% of the electricity needs came from renewable energy sources in 2018.

Bekaert has set targets to increase the share of renewable energy for the medium term (2020) and longer term (2025).

Bekaert wants to increase the share of renewable energy to 40% (2020) and 55% (2025) respectively.


The CO2 footprint has been calculated based on the country specific KWh to CO2 conversion factors per individual country as listed in the 2016-2017-2018 “International Energy Agency” CO2 conversion standards.

GHG emissions from purchased electricity and other types of energy (GRI 305-2)

Scope 2 emissions:

  • Electrical energy (including cooling) = 1 474 717 ton CO2
  • Thermal energy (Steam and gas) = 364 209 ton CO2

GHG Intensity Ratio(GRI 305-4)

  • Electrical energy (including cooling) = 438 kg CO2/ton.
  • Thermal energy (Steam and gas) = 105 kg CO2/ton.

Taking into account the efforts we are making and targets we are setting to increase the share of energy from renewable sources, our GHG emissions will reduce with 7% in 2020 and 25% in 2025 versus reference year 2015 (see targets and glossary)

These targets are subject to the evaluation of the outcome of external expertise studies and subject to the pace of phased investments. 

Water (1) (GRI 303-1)

Water withdrawal (GRI 303-3)

Total water withdrawal is 10 276 megaliter (ML) of which 6 055 ML from areas with water stress (2).
Freshwater withdrawal by source: 

  • Surface water: 800 ML of which 544 ML from areas with water stress
  • Groundwater: 2 969 ML of which 1 016 ML from areas with water stress
  • Third party water (steam/hot water): 6 507 ML of which 4 494 ML from areas with water stress

We are looking into possibilities to report the withdrawal source of our third-party purchased water.

Water discharge (GRI 303-4 + GRI 303-2)

Total water discharge is 3 838 ML of which 1 698 ML to areas with water stress.
Water discharge by destination:

  • Surface water: 1 871 ML
  • Sea water: 99 ML
  • Third party water: 1 868 ML

Water discharge to freshwater destinations is 211 ML of which 201 ML to areas with water stress.
Water discharge to other water destinations is 3 626 ML of which 1 498 ML to areas with water stress. 
Water discharge with tertiary treatment is 3 838 ML of which 1 698 ML to areas with water stress. 
Our water discharge was filtered at our own premises.

Water consumption (GRI 305-5)

Total water consumption is 6 439 ML of which 4 356 ML from areas with water stress.

(1) Data provided by the respective plants
(2) Water stress
 in areas with water stress, the ratio of total annual water withdrawal to total available annual renewable water supply is high (40-80%) or extremely high (>80%)