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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 and equipment in our new plants and plant extensions.

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. Bekaert’s overall energy consumption decreased compared to 2018 due to a combination of different factors: the energy reduction actions from the BMS program came fully into action and footprint changes in both the Rubber Reinforcement and the Steel Wire Solutions activities enhanced the energy efficiency overall.  
    • In reference to 2015, the BMS Energy Program contributed to an implemented recurrent energy saving of 466 gWh/year.
    • The energy intensity ratio reduced thanks to the energy reduction programs applied, and the change in footprint.
    • 100% of Bekaert’s production plants are equipped with LED lights. 
      (GRI 302-1)
    • In 2019 Bekaert also improved the energy efficiency of machine engines and optimized operational cycles and settings of production systems.
  • Renewable energy: 
    • In total, 42% of the electricity needs came from renewable energy sources in 2019, up from 37% in 2018. The success rate in sourcing renewable energy sources largely depends on the availability of these sources and of usage and invoice data thereon. In countries like Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Slovakia, the Netherlands and the UK, practically 100% of Bekaert’s electricity consumption comes from renewable energy sources. Bekaert targets to purchase 55% of electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2025.
    • Due to the increased share of renewable energy sources, we were able to reduce our GHG intensity ratio for electrical energy by 3% in 2019 compared to 2018, 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.

Renewable energy

In November 2019, 3 500 solar panels were installed on the roof of the BBRG A-Cords facility in Aalter (Belgium). This solar installation will cover a part of the plant's electricity consumption from 2020 onward. 

In the USA, Bekaert has signed a first Virtual Power Purchasing Agreement with a developer of a 250 MW Wind Park, from which 35MW will be attributed to Bekaert.  The project is under construction and targets to be operational by the end of 2020. The contract will ensure that 55% of Bekaert’s electricity needs in the USA will be covered by renewable energy.

Details of actuals and targets are described below in ‘Energy Related Data’.
(GRI 302-4)

Responsible water process management is another aspect of our efforts to make our production processes more eco-friendly. 

  • Bekaert’s Ranjangaon plant in India and Weihai plant in China have a zero liquid discharge water purification system. As a result, all industrial wastewater streams there are recycled and reused in the production process.
  • The Bekaert plant in Izmit (Turkey) uses reverse osmosis membrane filtration as a first treatment step of the incoming raw water for the production of process water. In 2019 the plant installed a water treatment unit to allow the reuse of backwash wastewaters as process water, thereby reducing their waterfootprint by more than 23 000 m³ per year.


  • Our plants in Ranjangaon (India) and Slatina (Romania) have installed a mechanical vapour recompression evaporator to treat waste lubricant from wet wire drawing. This new type of evaporator consumes 50% less energy compared to heatpump-based evaporators that were used in the past. The clean distillate that is produced by the new evaporator can be reused either as cooling water or as process water. The waste concentrate has only one tenth of the original volume. 
    Additionally, a pretreatment method was defined to allow evaporation of lubricant containing degreaser waste, so that up to 90% of the water can be extracted for reuse.
  • 100% of all steel scrap at Bekaert returns to the steel industry for recycling.

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 are implementing programs that aim to reduce water usage over the long term.
  • In 2019, 94% of the 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 a 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.

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 potential 15% reduction in weight of the reinforcement areas of tires, thereby reducing the CO2 emissions of a vehicle by up to 5%, which led to a global reduction of 1.5 billion kg of CO2 in 2019.

(GRI 305-5 scope 3)

Other examples of Bekaert product developments that lead to more environmentally friendly applications are: 

  • Dramix® steel fibers for concrete reinforcement using 50% less steel, in weight, compared to traditional steel reinforcement solutions. 
  • Water-based coatings as a substitute to solvent-based coatings
  • More durable coatings that lengthen the lifetime of products
  • BBRG Brilube® Ultra is an Environmentally Acceptable Lubricant (EAL) conforming to Vessel General Permit (VGP) 2013 through EU Ecolabel Certifcation. Bio-degradable, non-toxic and non-bio accumulative wire rope service dressing.

In 2019 Bekaert installed its newly-developed pre-mix hydrogen burners in a housing project in the Netherlands. The pilot project explores the energy transition from natural gas to hydrogen and responds to the trend towards CO2-free heating systems. It is the first time that existing apartments are fully heated with hydrogen. To achieve this, Bekaert joined forces with seven other key players from the heating industry, each with their own expertise.
Agoria Solar team

Helping the Belgian Agoria Solar Team win the 2019 World Solar Challenge in Australia

The Belgian Agoria Solar Team won the famous World Solar Challenge in Australia.

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

In total, 3 200 km were covered from Darwin to Adelaide in extremely hot weather conditions. 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.

A-cord solar car

Environment related data 2019


Total energy consumption = 4 957 gWh

Of which:

  • Electrical energy (incl. cooling) = 3 152 gWh
  • Thermal energy (steam and heat) = 329 gWh
  • Natural gas = 1 476 gWh

(GRI 302-1)

Energy Intensity Ratio(1):

  • Electrical energy (incl. cooling) = 889 kWh/ton
  • Thermal energy (steam & heat) = 93 kWh /ton
  • Natural gas = 417 kWh /ton

(GRI 302-3)

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

Renewable Energy:
42% of the electricity needs came from renewable energy sources in 2019.

Bekaert has set a target to increase the share of renewable energy for the longer term. By 2025 we want to increase the share of renewable energy to 55%.


CO2 (1) (2)

Scope 1

Natural gas

  • GHG emissions natural gas = 271 609 ton CO2
  • GHG intensity ratio natural gas = 77 kg CO2/ton

GHG emissions from outbound logistics: 

  • Global sea freight: 18 578 ton CO2
  • Road transport for Rubber Reinforcement EMEA: 9 284 ton CO2

GHG emissions from company cars & busses (excluding JVs): 3 692 ton CO2/year
GHG emissions from business travel (air): 2 740 ton CO2 (without radiative forcing (RF))
(GRI 305-1)

Scope 2

The CO2 footprint has been calculated based on the country specific kWh to CO2 conversion factors per individual country as listed in the 2019 'International Energy Agency’ CO2 conversion standards.
GHG emissions from purchased electricity and other types of energy (Scope 2 emissions):

  • Electrical energy (including cooling) = 1 351 373  ton CO2
  • Thermal energy (Steam and heat) = 60 371 ton CO2

(GRI 305-2)

GHG Intensity Ratio:

  • Electrical energy (including cooling) = 381 kg CO2/ton.
  • Thermal energy (Steam and heat) = 17 kg CO2/ton.

(GRI 305-4)

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 at page 8 and 9).

(GRI 305-4)

Water (1) 

(GRI 303-1)

Water withdrawal (GRI 303-3)

Total water withdrawal was 9 237 megaliter (ML) of which 5 404 ML from areas with water stress.(2)

Freshwater withdrawal by source:

  • Surface water: 761 ML of which 559 ML from areas with water stress
  • Groundwater: 2 355 ML of which 534 ML from areas with water stress
  • Third party water: 6 121 ML of which 4 310 ML from areas with water stress:
    • 5 586 ML from surface water of which 4 167 ML from areas with water stress
    • 535 ML from groundwater of which 142 ML from areas with water stress.

Water discharge (GRI 303-4)

Total water discharge was 4 201 ML in 2019 of which 2 029 ML to areas with water stress.

Water discharge by destination:

  • Surface water: 1 595 ML of which 599 ML freshwater and 996 ML other water
  • Groundwater: 0 ML
  • Sea water: 86 ML
  • Third party water: 2 520 ML of which 295 ML freshwater and 2 225 ML other water.

(GRI 303-2)

Water discharge to areas with water stress was 2 029 ML of which 629 ML freshwater and 1 400 ML other water.

Our water discharge was filtered at our own premises.

Water consumption (GRI 303-5)

Total water consumption was 5 036 ML of which 3 375 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%)