The role played by sustainable decisions and sustainable operations are becoming more important by the day. People are becoming more aware of the challenges we face in society, such as the climate change and pressure on our vital resources, and makes more conscious decisions. Demands and regulations concerning energy, emissions, transport, biodiversity and more are strenghtening and affecting our operations. Developing our sustainability is of interest not just for our business, but also for our customers, investors and other stakeholders. Sustainability is a part of our business strategy and our nine focus areas are integrated into the monthly review by the management team.
Nordkalk aims to be a long-term profitable business in a responsible manner in balance with our stakeholders and society at large. We continuously improve our operations, products and processes, while taking the social, economic and environmental aspects of our operations into consideration. Natural resources such as stone, water and energy are used in our production and inevitably affect the environment. We endeavour to limit the negative impacts of our activities by using the best available methods and techniques and by applying the precautionary principle regarding people and the environment.
Nordkalk reviewed and updated its sustainability strategy, policies and goals in 2017. In the process, we identified and prioritised all the sustainable aspects of our business from a stakeholder perspective. A list of 27 important material issues were identified and grouped into nine different focus areas. Read more about them below.
In 2018, our focus has been to implement and integrate the sustainability strategy in our daily work. New key performance indicators have been decided upon. Measurements and actions have been taken to improve our sustainable development. In a workshop with the management team in 2018, the list of material issues was reviewed and prioritised again as seen under materiality. The main sustainable risks in connection to our material issues were discussed and evaluated.
Stakeholder engagement is important to us
Dialogue is conducted for many different purposes, with different stakeholder groups and through many different channels. Interactions with existing stakeholders take place through neighbour meetings, legal processes, consultations with authorities, customer and supplier audits, sales negotiations, feedback from digital channels and in many more ways. During permit processes for our operations, extensive consultations and stakeholder dialogues are performed in order to meet all the environmental and social requirements.
To engage our stakeholders in our sustainability work, a sustainability survey was conducted among our stakeholders at the end of 2018. The survey was distributed to a selection of our key stakeholders to evaluate how we are performing today, and what material issues they think are most important for us to prioritise.
Our stakeholders prioritised sustainability issues 2018
Material and waste management
Secure limestone reserves
Land and quarry restoration
Our Sustainability Report for 2018 is available to download here. Questions regarding the sustainability report or our sustainability work, please contact responsible for respective focus area. You find contact information in the end of the report.
Limestone for the environment
Limestone-based products and solutions play an important role in cleaner air, water and soil and as a raw material. The products are necessary to enable many industries to face up to the challenge of the green transition. Every day we use products that can’t be made without limestone-based products. Several of our base industries are dependent on limestone in their production i.e. the steel industry, paper industry and construction industry. The function of lime is to purify, fill and neutralise and the products are often used for improving environmental performance.
- WATER – Treatment of drinking water, process waters and waste waters
- AIR – Treatment of flue gases from power plants and waste incineration plants
- SOIL – Improve crops and prevent phosphor leaching into our rivers and lakes. Neutralise acidic soils and upgrade clay soils to usable infrastructure construction land.
Nordkalk’s Code of Conduct apply to everyone at Nordkalk and describes the ethical principles that underpin how we conduct business. Regarding ethics in Nordkalk’s supply chain, Nordkalk expects its suppliers to commit to follow the Supplier Code of Conduct in order to assure that suppliers also adhere to a high level of business ethics. Both codes are available to download here.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals
The UN Sustainable Development Goals have a considerable impact in making companies adjust to these changing prerequisites. They provide a common language around long-term sustainability. Here we highlight goal #6 - Clean water and Sanitation, and how Nordkalk and our products can contribute to a more sustainable development in that area.
Goal #6 Clean water and sanitation
Water and sanitation are critical to the survival of people and the planet and relates to issues like drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, but also the quality and sustainability of water resources worldwide. Lack of clean water and sanitation affects food security, individual health, healthy ecosystems, thriving communities and stable economic development. Water is also a key resource for many businesses, with risks connected to quality, availability and access. And for some companies, water and sanitation can also be an opportunity.
Besides minimising our own impact on water issues and producing products that have a positive effect on many water issues, we also engage in and sponsor different external water projects on a local, national and global level.
Water is used in our production, even though the limestone industry is not a big consumer of water. In quarries, water collects on the bottom as groundwater seeps in through cracks in the bedrock. Rain and melt water from nature also end up in the quarry. This water is clean. Water is also used for washing stones, yards and vehicles. Recycled water is used when possible. All Nordkalk sites have Water Management Plans and each quarry must carry out its operations with an absolute minimal negative impact on both the surface water and groundwater. In several of our sites, we deliver water to the municipal water network.
Limestone-based products are used for water treatment in a wide varity of applications including drinking water, wastewater, process water and cleaning of lakes and watercourses.
For treating drinking water, lime is often used to raise the pH level of the water and adjust alkalinity. Different raw water requires different treatment, and normally goes through several steps where lime is used in different ways in the process. It is important to check the chemistry of the lime and carbon dioxide equilibrium, both for taste and quality, and to prevent corrosion in our pipeline networks.
In waste water treatments, the goal is to minimise the burden on the receiving water courses by removing all organic, oxygen-consuming compounds and nutrients. In municipal waste water plants, treatments with physical, biological chemical processes, are used for controlling pH and alkalinity, precipitate phosphorus, stabilise sludge and remove odors. Lime products are also good for precipitating different metal ions and anions.
We make an effort for cleaner air, water and soil
- We can have a positive impact on the quality of air, water and soil, by improving customers’ cleaning processes with innovative limestone-based products and solutions, by constantly improving our own operations, and by creating value beyond our business through engagement in partnerships and projects.
- We meet society’s challenges as our challenges. We proactively exceed the expectations from our owners, customers and society, through responsible, profitable business and ethical behaviour.
- We strive for a balance between environmental, social and economic expectations, a high degree of transparency and strong engagement. As we strengthen our brand, relations and business, we also commit to increasing value and opportunities for society and the local communities we operate in.
- Our continuous sustainable development is structured in nine focus areas. Each one of them with commitments, long-term goals and guiding principles on how to act.
- Our long-term horizon on corporate sustainability is in correspondence with UN Sustainable Development Goals (2030).
Nordkalk is the leading limestone company in Northern Europe. We deliver essential raw materials to numerous industries, and our solutions contribute to clean air and water as well as productivity of agricultural land.