Environmental responsibility

Protecting the environment and using resources wisely

Vallourec constantly strives to reduce the environmental footprint of its industrial activity by implementing its environmental policy set up in 2014. The Group has set itself three priorities:​     

  • Limiting use of natural resources and using clean and safe technologies
  • Improving plant energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions from our production process.

Environmental audits are organised regularly in every country in which we operate in order to assess regulatory compliance, environmental performance and ecological risks. Most of Vallourec's industrial sites (89% of the Group's total production as at 31 December 2016) have achieved ISO 14001 certification.

Water: mainstreaming best practice

Water quantitatively represents the main resource needed for the Group’s production processes.

  • ​​Water withdrawal
Water withdrawal has decreased over the past decade, from 9.55 million m3 in 2007 to 5.67 million m3 in 2016.
  • A new approach: the "water footprint"
The 10 plants that consume the most water have measured their water footprint based on the volume and quality of water that is consumed and discharged, the ecological status of the water source and water scarcity in the drainage basin.
Only two sites are located in regions that experience water stress.
 
  • ​Quality of effluents 
Most ​sites with high water requirement are equipped with on-site water treatment stations, allowing industrial water to be treated before being discharged.

In the other plants, industrial water is discharged into municipal sewer systems, and then treated at the municipal water treatment station. These plants work on reducing the volume of effluents, while at the same time maintaining their quality. 

Improving waste recovery

Vallourec has a proactive waste reduction policy that involves acting at source in the manufacturing process and constantly strives to improve recycling and recovery rates which reached 94.4% in 2016.

​In parallel, the share of dangerous wastes has been reduced to 6%.

Noise reduction

The Group has a structured, comprehensive system in place that enables it to improve protection for its employees and residents against the noise impact of its operations. The system uses noise monitoring campaigns.

 

The solutions subsequently adopted are of two types: noise reduction at source through using quieter equipment and / or soundproofing solutions.

Soil monitoring

In France, the Group has – on its own initiative – carried out soil tests around all its main operating sites. As a result of these investigations, some facilities introduced programmes to monitor groundwater using piezometric sensors.

Abroad, the analyses carried out at the vast majority of production sites revealed no significant impact.

Monitoring of atmospheric emissions

To preserve air quality around its plants, Vallourec measures atmospheric emission levels and applies specific solutions for each type of emission, vapour or particle, in order to reduce them.

Reducing the consumption of fossil energy

To prepare for a "low carbon" economy, Vallourec has developed the GreenHouse programme, which aims to improve the energy performance of its processes while reducing CO2 emissions.

Outline of the GreenHouse project​

Vallourec's industrial activity requires significant electricity, gas and charcoal consumption. ​

The objective of the GreenHouse project: a 20% reduction in total gas and electricity consumption by 2020, calculated using 2008 as the reference year and on a like-for-like basis with an equivalent product mix and level of activity.

The project is led at Group level and by each consuming site, and relies on a community of experts, by implementing the Group’s energy policy set up in 2014.

Five key actions have been identified:

  • Sharing best practices.
  • The introduction of thermal balances and energy audits.
  • A self-assessment system for sites controlled by the project leaders.
  • Implementation of energy management systems which mobilize all functions of each site, relying on specific training programmes leading to ISO 50001 certification. As at 31 December 2016, 38% of Group production is certified.
  • Carrying out of specific investments with a short amortization duration.

Given the significant modification of the Group’s industrial footprint, a new 2020 objective will be established based on new assumptions.

​Renewable energies, recyclable energies

Nearly 40% of the energy consumed by Vallourec in its manufacturing process is renewable.
The main renewable energy sources are charcoal produced by Vallourec Florestal, hydropower available in Brazil, renewable electricity bought on other markets and blast furnace gases that are used to replace in part natural gas in the furnaces.

Vallourec Florestal manages 230,000 hectares of forest. Approximatively 113,000 hectares of eucalyptus plantation are cultivated to produce charcoal to feed the blast furnaces of Jeceaba and Belo Horizonte. Charcoal is a renewable energy as the CO2 emitted during charcoal combustion is absorbed by the growing trees.


Complying with the Paris Agreement in terms of carbon emissions

In 2015, Vallourec completed a detailed analysis of the carbon cycle for the forest operated in Brazil with the aid of university and institutional experts. As they grow, trees absorb CO2. The trunks of harvested trees are transformed into charcoal in furnaces designed for that purpose. The charcoal then enters the cast iron manufacturing process needed to manufacture steel. Calculations show a very significant level of sequestration, which is the result of the forest management process by our subsidiary Florestal.

This is why Vallourec considered the sequestered carbon should be included in the calculation of direct emissions as a "negative" emission. Vallourec's carbon intensity (gram of CO2 per euro of sales) may now be qualified as very low and is thus exemplary compared to industrial groups of comparable size.

Given its new industrial footprint, the Group will establish and publish in 2017 its emissions objectives for the upcoming years and will endeavor to demonstrate that its emissions are compatible with commitments taken at the end of 2015 as part of the Paris Agreement.

> Simplified carbon analysis

 

Low-car​bon solutions


Vall​​our​ec supports 
“Business Proposals for COP 21”



Vallourec, along with 58 other international companies and 
7 organizations, supports the “Business Proposals for COP 21” which identify 4 key issues to be tackled both by States and businesses in view of sharing low-carbon solutions and enhancing investments for a sustainable world.
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Greenhouse Project

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As we shift to an economy in ​​​which the effects of global warming are a central consideration in strategic decision-making, Vallourec has launched the GreenHouse project, the main aims of which are to cut the company’s energy consumption by 20% by 2020.
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Ecological production in Brazil


            florestal.jpg
Vallo​urec Florestal, a subsidiary of Vallourec Tubos do Bras​​il, manages 230,000 hectares of forest. Approximatively 113,000 hectares of eucalyptus plantation are cultivated to produce charcoal to feed the blast furnaces of Jeceaba and Belo Horizonte.
 
As a result of this approach, we can legitimately describe our products as “green tubes”, as we use a renewable resource managed in accordance with environmental and social best practices.

Vallourec Florestal