Climate change and the increasing scarcity of easily accessible, low-cost fuels mean businesses have to manage their energy resources carefully. In 2006 ERAMET set up a programme to control its energy spending and consumption for both economic and environmental reasons. In parallel, the Group takes actions to reduce its environmental impact in accordance with its sustainable development policy. This was the context for the Executive Committee’s adoption of a Group Energy policy in 2013.
An energy-saving programme formalised by a Group policy
Because of the processes it uses, ERAMET’s energy bill accounts for a large share of its production costs. So controlling those costs is a competitiveness lever for the Group’s activities.
From that viewpoint, ERAMET adopted a Group Energy policy in September 2013. This sets down its commitments to energy consumption control, i.e.:
- constantly optimise energy performance and competitiveness, while promoting continuous improvement in energy management;
- encourage and support value-creating internal initiatives that continuously improve energy management;
- adapt energy improvements to technological progress, R&D and innovation, while complying with legal and regulatory requirements.
It also establishes a framework for implementation resources (development and use of best available techniques, energy recovery, etc.).
This Group Energy policy integrates and strengthens the energy-saving programme set up in 2006 with the aim of encouraging ERAMET’s sites and plants to define an action plan for a 5% - 10% reduction in their energy spending. The programme, first set up on 6 sites, has been gradually rolled out to all 26 units with significant energy consumption. It is facilitated by an Energy Management Coordinator assigned to the Group‘s Industrial Affairs Department, who supports units with audits, on-site advice and methodological assistance that can go as far as obtaining ISO 50001 certification for the energy management system. The Group refers to the principles of this new standard and the related standards (ISO 16247, energy audits, etc.).
Each site defines its action plan according to the process it uses, in coordination with the Energy management Coordinator and, if necessary, external experts. Actions concern as a minimum:
- energy metering and energy performance monitoring;
- defining energy consumption references;
- setting up best operating practise for these facilities;
- maintenance of production facilities and the improvement of their energy performance.
Six-monthly updates are given by each unit and progress is reviewed annually with the Group’s Executive Committee.
Energy consumption reduced for 3rd year running in 2013
In 2013, the Group’s energy consumption totalled 16.1 TWh (terawatt-hours) compared with 16.9 TWh in 2012, decreasing for the 3rd consecutive year.
90% of energy needs are consumed by 14 plants, mostly pyrometallurgical facilities, with the remaining 10% divided between the Group’s 42 other sites.
Incompressible energy needs for the processing of ores and alloys are around 10 TWh for 2013, i.e. 62% of the total. In other words, only a little over one third of the energy consumed by the Group is a potential source of consumption improvement.
A programme of action on climate change, including carbon footprint inventory and monitoring
In 2003 ERAMET created a function in charge of climate change issues for the entire Group. Its main roles include:
- active participation in the climate change committees of French and European trade organisations;
- informing the ERAMET units concerned by regulation on greenhouse gas emissions and supporting them in applying it;
- contributing to the definition and rollout of the Group’s climate change policy.
To support this programme of action on climate change, ERAMET measured its activities’ carbon footprint, giving an overview of an activity according to the physical indicator of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It also brings out the interdependencies that go unseen in purely economic analyses, although they create many constraints over the long term.
The initial carbon footprint inventory of ERAMET’s operating activities was carried out in 2008 on 2007 data in cooperation with Carbone 4, a firm approved by French environmental authorities (ADEME). It showed an annual emissions volume of 6.35 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year. Almost 90% of CO2 emissions are related to the consumption of energy (electricity, gas, fuel oil, coal) and reducing agents (coke, anthracite) for industrial processes.
Since 2008, trends in carbon footprint have been monitored by site, by Division and for the Group through EraGreen, ERAMET’s environmental data management tool. This has led to an approximately 13% reduction in the Group’s CO2 emissions in 5 years, a decrease that is partly due to lower activities in the Divisions and partly to energy savings.
Applying national and European decisions
ERAMET provides the European Union with information on actual and forecast CO2 emissions for some of its sites. This stems from the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community (directive 2003/87/EC). The Group also took an active part in the consultations between industry and national and European authorities that led to the improvement and extension of this system, set down in directive 2009/29/EC.
Furthermore, in application of the Grenelle II law in France, the French sites of the Group’s subsidiary Aubert & Duval took the first inventory of their GHG emissions in 2012, based on 2011 data. This inventory led to a three-year action plan for reducing those emissions.