2015 was a year of great challenges. On the one hand, we saw a contraction on the global economy that hit all commodities such as oil and copper, as well as the iron and steel industry. The slowdown in the demand from China and emerging countries produced an increase in the reserves of raw materials and prices fell as an impact of this phenomenon.
The challenging environment caused a decline in our production, which decreased by 0.7 million tonnes compared to 2014. In addition to this, we witnessed how steel imports from countries like China, Brazil, and Russia (many of them at unfair competition) grew substantially, negatively impacting the domestic market.
On the other hand, a challenge that we assumed during 2015 was the evolution of our sustainability strategy, where we evolved our four corporate responsibility pillars (Investing in Our People, Making Our Steel Sustainable, Contributing to the Development of our Communities, and a Transparent Government) - which for several years were the framework for accountability - into the consolidation of 10 outcomes for sustainable development, relevant to both the company and our stakeholders.
The 10 sustainable development outcomes that we set are:
1. Safe, healthy, quality working lives for our people.
2. Products that accelerate more sustainable lifestyles.
3. Products that create sustainable infrastructure.
4. Efficient use of resources and high recycling rates.
5. Trusted user of air, land and water.
6. Responsible energy user that helps create a lower carbon future.
7. Supply chains that our customers trust.
8. Active and welcome member of the community.
9. A pipeline of talented scientists and engineers for tomorrow.
10. Our contribution to society measured, shared and valued.
These outcomes are directly related to the impacts our industry generates and the goals we want to accomplish in the long run. Some examples are: the goal of achieving zero accidents, reducing our carbon footprint, reusing large amounts of water, generating thousands of jobs and being more efficient in energy use.
Now, regarding our performance in 2015, I must start with safety, a fundamental pillar of our goals as a business unit. We must recognise that we had a setback in the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate, since we went from 0.33 to 0.45. However, it is important to note that the Total Injury, (not only those involving lost time injuries, but also those minor injuries that required only the application of first aid) showed a decrease of 42 cases, representing an improvement of 13% compared to 2014. This confirms the sustainable positive trend we have followed for the past 7 years. Also, the 248,000 hours we provided in safety training demonstrate our commitment to our workforce.
Similarly, our efforts to develop and train our employees is reflected in the 500,000+ hours of training provided throughout the year to both direct employees and contractors.
Moreover, we continue searching to develop our portfolio of sustainable products. We understand the unlimited ability of steel to meet the demands of markets and consumers for products that are efficient, durable and recyclable. So during the year we were able to innovate both in long products, with solutions such as our Grade 56 rebar, and in flat products, with the development of steel grades for the energy and automotive industry.
In addition, despite the difficulties we faced last year, we were able to recycle 64,000 tons of steel. Also, in an effort to be more efficient in the use of resources, we continue with our model of waste management.
We regard our environmental impacts by considering the efficient use of energy (outcome 6) and the resources we have, particularly soil, air and water (outcome 5). In this regard, we have managed to reduce the consumption of water tributaries by 17%, having managed to reuse nearly nine million cubic meters of water for our various processes. When it comes to our energy efficiency agenda, last year we carried out maintenance activities and improvements throughout our operations in order to be more efficient in our energy use, reducing our CO2 emissions by 10% compared to last year.
Moreover, we know that if we have the best technicians, engineers and professionals to innovate in production processes and provide sustainability to our industry, we should be able to inspire future generations. To this end, in 2015 we launched “ArcelorMittal Community Fellows”, a programme which is supporting 95 first-generation young engineering students on their way to become agents of change in their communities.
We are aware that there is still a long way to go, but we are certain that our 10 sustainable development outcomes are clear, measurable and directly related to the impacts that our industry generates. We will achieve great results, which we will present with the transparency that is characteristic of ArcelorMittal.