Elkem recognises the responsibility and impact we have in our business activities. We have a responsibility to minimise our negative impacts, and also provide the solutions to a sustainable, low-carbon world. We must develop products and processes that improve the quality of life and minimise the negative impact of our activities, both environmental and social.
We have identified six goals that are relevant for us and where we can contribute to making a difference. These six are:
Our CEO, Helge Aasen focused on three goals for Elkem in 2018:
GOAL 8: Decent work and economic growth
"As a global company operating in 28 countries with more than 6,000 employees, we put the health and safety of our people first. After a setback in 2016, this year we were back on track with fewer injuries, 3.1 recordable injuries per million working hours.
In Elkem, we value diversity and are a local employer in all the countries we operate. However, our female representation remianed low in 2017, at 21 per cent, and is only 7 per cent among operators. We continue to look for ways to increase the number of women in our workforce. The percentage of women in management positions increased to 28 per cent in 2017 and we expect the increase to continue in 2018.
As a large purchaser of goods and services, we have a strict set of standards to prevent child or compulsory labour and to ensure safe and decent working conditions throughout our supply chain. In 2017, all major contracts contained our CSR policy and there were no reported incidents of policy breaches.
GOAL 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
I believe that Elkem should be a promoter of sustainable industrialisation, and that we can support sustainable development through developing innovative business models and solutions. Our products are indispensable elements in a wide variety of applications that contribute to better health services, renewable energy, electric mobility and digitalisation, to name just a few. In 2017, we had over 400 employees working in R&D and innovation at our 13 R&D centres around the world, and our R&D budget was 371 MNOK.
GOAL 13: Climate action
Elkem has a clear responsibility to take climate action by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Our long-term goal is to achieve carbon neutral metal production. Several R&D projects are in place to develop the necessary technology to reach this goal. Meanwhile, Elkem seeks to reduce fossil CO₂ emissions by replacing fossil coal with biocarbon as a reduction agent in our smelting furnaces. Through consistent and dedicated effort, we reached our 2020 target of using 20 per cent biocarbon already in 2017. We know that further increases will require significant R&D break-throughs and that the economic viability will also become more challenging. However, we are committed to continue our efforts to reach our goal of 40 per cent biocarbon by 2030.