“We have a great challenge: what we don’t manufacture using the Acerinox values will be made by others with less respect.”
“A company can’t change the world, but it can make a better world for those with whom it interacts.” I wanted to bring back my phrase of a few years ago because, besides still being totally applicable, it perfectly sums up the spirit of the new mission, vision and values that we are about to reveal.
Acerinox –and all those who dedicate our efforts, ideas and enthusiasm to this company– can improve the world around us by being careful about what we do, why we do it, with whom, to what end, and, most important, how we do it.
Here’s how we defined our mission: “To create the most appropriate high performance materials for each application, thus contributing to the progress and quality of life of a sustainable society.”
In other words, to manufacture with greater quality and excellence but, above all, with greater Safety –in capital letters– while seeking common well-being and progress. We should direct all our efforts toward achieving a better product and a more efficient process, making ourselves the supplier of reference in the sector, reinforcing our market leadership position, increasing our portfolio and profitability, making a green sustainable product, and in reinforcing R+D+I at every level of the Group’s activities. And all of this so as to create a product with added value capable of generating wealth (both direct and indirect) and having a positive impact on the societies we live in, thus providing solutions for our customers with the most advanced and sustainable materials.
All these attributes should make us the supplier of reference, because working with Acerinox means sharing its values. That part of the market that does not manufacture and distribute using the values of Acerinox will be occupied by other firms, with the risk that they would show less respect for people and the environment, while generating more contaminating materials and without contributing to the development of society.
And we should do this while reconciling the sometimes diverging interests of the groups we work with: employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, investors, and society in general. Alongside all of them, and to improve our circular economy, we are working to create a shared, sustainable and sustained value over time.
Thus the aim is to direct our efforts toward that Vision of “becoming a global supplier that responds to present and future needs with the widest selection of materials, solutions and services, while placing the customer at the centre of our business” At the same time, we have the obligation of “distinguishing ourselves as part of the transition towards a new circular economy through the efficient production of stainless steels and high performance alloys that respect the environment.”
But while this idea comes in second place, it is no less important. The model of linear economic structures is changing, and as it does so we have to contribute to the concept of the circular economy.
We have a competitive advantage that should make the difference and that constitutes a strategic asset: our products. Both stainless steel and high performance alloys are essential parts of the circular economy and are clear examples of recycling and recoverability. Their very long life cycle and low level of maintenance minimises their impact on the environment, thus making them sustainable materials par excellence, with a growing variety of applications.
The materials we manufacture are endlessly reused as a raw material. In this edition of Think Acerinox, we offer an infographic that explains both the process and its applications. And because these Acerinox products are so long-lasting and can be recycled, we feel that any company or institution that buys and uses them over other materials is contributing to the circular economy. It’s our obligation to make this known and understood by our investors, customers, suppliers and society in general.
As always, we face challenges but we are supported by permanent, stable values that have defined Acerinox since it was established: today they mark the road toward success, and tomorrow they will continue to distinguish us. They are what determine our way of understanding competition, business, who we are and, above all, how we should work.
We feel that the essence of the many values we could have chosen can be summarised in nine concepts, divided into three large areas that define our company’s endeavour: People, Culture and Product.
Let’s begin with People. As already stated, safety is the prime objective in the People area. Steelmaking is an activity not without risks, and we should all be deeply committed to our safety, to that of our colleagues, our suppliers, and to that of the company. There is nothing more important –and we’ve learned it even more deeply with this pandemic– than health. It is complemented by a sustainability that encompasses economic, social and environmental concerns, three essential concepts for quality of life and well-being. In addition, our values include being the employer of choice: we should continue to work with pride for being part of Acerinox, and meet the challenge of attracting talented people to work with us, paying special attention to young people and women who want to pursue a career in an international company with equal work conditions for all and with stable, quality employment.
The second line of values regards our Culture, the first of which is Integrity, in many of its definitions: we must be impeccable in how we do our work, always maintaining the competitive essence of our integral processes. Some of the best examples of this can be found in many of our largest factories. Secondly, the Commitment of everyone to the company, to hard work, and to the persistence necessary to meet a common goal. And all this with the permanent idea of improving and working to prioritise the long-term results of everything we do, so as to continue to bring value and results to all the interest groups, beginning with our shareholders.
As a result of this, we should seek excellence in everything we do, which will allow us to create Innovative and Quality Products and Services. Excellence as a virtue, a talent to be judged by its qualities and extraordinarily good products that exceed ordinary standards because of their properties and performance. Innovative because of the permanent modification of already existing elements with the aim of improving them, but also through adding totally new ones that will lead to that excellence we’ve mentioned. And finally, a Quality product, something inherent in the materials we use, which makes us unique and marks the difference between Acerinox and any other company in the sector, thus making us the preferred supplier in the industry.
The whole mission, vision and values, as well as the concepts I’ve endeavoured to explain here, are in line with the objectives that we have established in the new 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. In fact, they constitute its first page, something that stresses the importance that management wants to give to the Mission, Vision and Values.
This new Strategic Plan, which has been approved by the board of directors, is based on four pillars: Sustainability, Excellence, Added Value and Financial Strength.
We have called the strategy of the first of them, sustainability, “Acerinox Positive Impact 360º”, and it contains objectives and lines of action that cover ESG matters (Environmental, Social and People, and Governance).
Firstly, Safety and Health. As I stated, the Group’s priority and our objective is none other than to achieve zero accidents. To that end, in addition to applying the strictest measures (far greater than legally demanded), we will continue to launch campaigns to make employees and contractors more aware of this matter. With regard to the environment, objectives include reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions by 20% by the year 2030 (based on 2015 levels), with the commitment to obtain climate neutrality in 2050.
In addition, we are one of the first companies in the sector of green finance linked to sustainability indexes, with loans of EUR 240 million, and we are studying the possibility of increasing this figure in the near future.
We have unified the Excellence and Digital Transformation Plans in a new scheme for improvements, Excellence 360º –the new pillar of our advances and one that guarantees our competitiveness for the future– which should support us in continuing to improve the corporate culture that characterises us. Digitalisation is the greatest accelerator that industry has in order to meet the great challenges of the future.
The capacity to install sensors in our equipment, connectivity, speed in processing information, the advanced analysis of data and many other technologies… All this will permit very important improvements in controlling processes and optimising our production and sales capacities. This, in turn, will allow us to advance toward a new standard of productivity and efficiency, anticipate problems, improve quality and situate the service we provide to our customers at the centre of our business.
At the same time, we are building the Added Value of Acerinox as a brand: broadening the range of products and solutions we offer, expanding research and development, and seeking diversification toward the new materials we can produce. To distribute them, we have a clear sales strategy in every part of the world where we operate. We should remember that we are the company with the largest geographical presence in the sector.
The new division of high-performance alloys (VDM Metals) is the lever with which to become the most important provider of advanced solutions for industry, while offering the widest range of materials of high added value.
It is an essential pillar in the company’s strategy, and we will continue to reinforce it so as to find new applications, new customers and new solutions that will improve both the performance of the materials and the quality of life of the people who buy and use them.
The basis for this strategy is the financial strength that has always characterised Acerinox and which we want to continue to exercise, centred on cash generation, the control of working capital, the reduction and optimisation of costs and in having high quality debt.
As you can see, Acerinox has clear objectives and a concrete strategy for meeting them, a road map over which to make progress, the means to travel it, and the knowledge and experience to be successful. With the effort and enthusiasm that we’ve always demonstrated in this firm, which belongs to both its men and women alike, we will meet these goals and continue to be what we are: leaders and a point of reference in the sector.
We have enjoyed 50 years of success and we should now make plans so that new generations can inherit a company that will continue into the future: one that’s sustainable. Let’s lay the foundations for success in the next 50.