How Elkem address the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adapted by the United Nations in 2015. The 17 goals provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, and are set to be reached by 2030 – thus also called the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

The SDG adaptation by all UN member nations also marks a milestone when it comes to sustainability in businesses and organisations. The adaptation represented an increased acknowledgement that the private sector needs to play an active role in reaching the 17 SDGs.

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 necessary to enable a sustainable, low-carbon planet. We must develop products and processes that improve the quality of life and minimise the negative impact of our activities, both environmental and social. Private sector must actively engage with key stakeholders – including customers, employees, supply chain and suppliers, local communities and authorities to promote a sustainable development for all.

Elkem has been a signatory to the UN Global Compact since 2016. UN Global Compact was founded by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, as a business initiative to support universal sustainability principles. Today, the UN Global Compact is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world. UN Global Compact strives to drive business awareness and action in support of achieving the SDGs by 2030.

You can read more about the UN Global Compact, the ten principles and our work here.

In 2020, Elkem updated the materiality assessment for the company. In this work, our highest priority of impact was identified. In that process, the materiality was linked to how we are impacted and can impact the UN SDGs. Although we promote reaching all 17 goals, three SDGs has been identified as most material to Elkem.


Goal 8: Promote sustainable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

A safe workplace with zero harm is always Elkem’s first priority. We continuously work to protect our workers labour rights and promote a safe and secure working environment. Our responsibility is to be a professional and safe workplace for our more than 6.700 employees, our contractors and business partners. Our health and safety work are based on a zero-harm philosophy, where all our employees and contractors shall leave our plants and sites healthy and safe after each workday. Our EHS management system and performance can be found here.

We strive to be an organisation that welcome diversity and equal opportunity for all. We do not tolerate any form of harassment, as stated in our Code of Conduct that all our employees must sign.

As a trusted, local employer all over the world, we are responsible for giving our employees a decent and liveable wage. Elkem is a serious employer with a high level of expertise on technology and innovation that attracts new and retain current employees.

Elkem has operations in several countries where there is a risk of child labour and forced labour. We will not tolerate the use of child or forced labour in any of our operations and facilities. We expect the suppliers and contractors with whom we do business to uphold the same standards. Elkem adheres to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and commits to the UK Modern Slavery Act. Find our commitment here.


Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

An improved understanding of environmental and social impacts of products and services is key to ensure sustainable value chain for the future. Elkem strives to be an environmentally conscious company, securing a safe and healthy working environment for all workers at our sites.

A zero-harm philosophy implies protecting the health and safety of all people working at all Elkem locations. It also means running operations with resource-efficient processes where negative environmental impacts are minimised throughout the value chain. No environmental deviations and spill control are part of Elkem’s over all environmental strategy.

Our environment, health and safety (EHS) policy covers actions on energy and resource utilisation, environmental impact through emission to air and discharge to water and waste reduction and waste management. A zero-waste philosophy is part of our Elkem Business System (EBS). Our goal is to reduce generation of waste with Elkem Business System (EBS) tools and process control. We aim to consider all raw material and process waste as by-products that can be reused or sold.

Elkem is part of the chemical industries’ voluntary initiative Responsible Care. Through the initiative, Elkem commits to efficient use of resources, waste minimisation and to improve technologies, processes and products over their life cycle beyond legislative and regulatory compliance. Read more about waste management here, and water management here


Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact

Climate change affect Elkem in different ways, both physically and when it comes to technology development, market adaption, reputation and regulatory limitations. Climate change mitigation exposes Elkem to several threats and opportunities. Adaption to climate change and transition to more sustainable solutions will impact our business and financial conditions going forward.

Elkem actively promotes climate change mitigation actions. The organisation supports the work of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) standard and has aligned the climate risk management according to the recommendation in the standard. Our long-term goal is to achieve carbon neutral metal production. Several research and development (R&D) projects are in place to develop the necessary technology to reach this goal. Simultaneously, Elkem seeks to reduce fossil CO₂ emissions by replacing fossil coal with biocarbon as a reduction agent in our smelting furnaces. We are committed to continue our efforts to reach our goal of 40 per cent biocarbon in our production in Norway by 2030. In addition, energy recovery and waste management measures will support our work on minimising our carbon and environmental footprint.

We were pleased to learn that we have been recognised as a leader in climate transparency and action by the CDP in 2020, putting us on the A list.


Do you want to learn more about how we work in the SDGs? Read more about our sustainability targets and achievements here.

More information about the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, have a look at the UN website


Reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals:

For the first time, we will report our progress on selected SDG sub-goals for 2020.

Sub goal 8.8: Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments of all workers.

Sub goal 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, eradicate forced labour, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms including recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Sub goal 12.4: By 2020, achieve environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle in accordance with agreed international frameworks and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

Sub goal 12.5: By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

Sub goal 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.

Read our sustainability report for 2019