Environmental impact of our own operations

Although the environmental impact of our own operations is relatively modest in comparison to our value chain, as our work is mainly done in offices, we strive to operate with minimum inputs of energy and materials. We closely monitor our consumption of electricity, heating and water. Sustainability, pollution prevention and sound environmental management are required in all our operations.

The bulk of our operations involve engineering and business management in subsidiaries and branch offices located in 42 countries. Only a few of them require an environmental permit, and the risks related to these operations are managed by certified environmental management systems. Approximately 90% of Outotec’s manufacturing is outsourced, and we report the carbon emissions of our supply chain separately. Our reporting of environmental data covers Outotec’s premises and employees, as well as supervised workers at our project sites.

In 2018, we had research centers in Finland, Germany; a pilot plant and R&D unit in Australia; a Dewatering Technology Center, two manufacturing workshops and a ceramic plate production plant in Finland; assembly shops in Brazil, Canada, China, and the USA; spare parts and service workshops in Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Mozambique and South Africa; and several warehouses. None of these sites are in or adjacent to protected areas or areas of high biodiversity value (GRI 304-1). Outotec closed its service workshop in the United Arab Emirates at the end of 2018. This workshop is included in the 2018 environmental data.

Our management’s commitment to the continuous improvement of our environmental performance is reflected in both ambitious target-setting and results. We evaluate the environmental aspects of our offices, research centers and manufacturing workshops, and set annual targets based on this evaluation. Outotec operates according to globally harmonized business processes. The company is globally certified to ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and OHSAS 18001 (safety) standards. In addition, the locations in Finland and Germany are certified to ISO 50001 (energy). Our performance is followed-up regularly through internal and external audits.

Environmental criteria are considered whenever we select new office premises. Outotec’s two largest offices, in Espoo, Finland, and Oberursel, Germany, fulfil LEED® Gold requirements regarding the construction. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a globally recognized green building certification program. At our research centers, we record monthly our consumption of electricity and natural gas and other fuels used for test purposes.

Our waste management system provides for the collection, sorting, storage and disposal of waste on our own premises. Outotec employees are instructed to separate different types of waste for sorted collection. Where hazardous wastes such as radioactive, flammable, explosive, toxic, corrosive or bio-hazardous materials need to be handled, specialized contractors are commissioned to dispose of these materials safely and in line with local legal requirements and customers’ requirements at construction sites.  

Materials and waste


Materials used (GRI 301-1) 

We report the materials used globally by Outotec operations, excluding the materials used by our equipment suppliers and construction site operations. The consumption of renewable materials (wood, paper and cardboards as packaging materials) has increased mainly due to the increased use of wood packaging in the Lappeenranta manufacturing shop. However, digitalization has enabled a decrease in the use of paper throughout the company. The use of non-renewable materials such as steel, ceramics and plastic packaging, decreased in 2018. Steel is the single most used material and we mainly use it in our Brits and Lappeenranta manufacturing and maintenance workshops.

Our Finnish workshops in Lappeenranta, Turula and Turku report the amount of packaging they use annually to Finnish Packaging Recycling Ltd (RINKI). Data from other locations is reported and consolidated annually.

Total weight of waste by type and disposal method (GRI 306-2) 

Waste handling is not centrally managed at Outotec. We have instructed our locations to sort waste according to local regulations and the guidelines provided by facility owners.  Waste amounts declined significantly because of lower sales volumes and the reduced number of employees.  



Energy consumption within the organization (GRI 302-1) 

Our total electricity and fuel consumption from non-renewable sources slightly declined from 2017. We did not directly consume any renewable fuels, or sell any electricity, heating, cooling or steam in 2018. However, we purchased 8,639 MWh electricity based on renewable hydropower in Finland and Germany. This corresponds to 51% of our electricity consumption and 21% of total energy consumption.  

Figures for energy consumption are collected globally from our operations based on the energy-related invoicing in each location. The conversion factors between energy units are taken from Statistics Finland. The electricity consumption has been converted to TJ from 16,837 MWH in 2018.

Energy intensity (GRI 302-3) 

Our energy intensity calculations include fuel, electricity, heating, cooling and steam consumed within Outotec. The denominator for the energy intensity calculations is our annual sales, 2018: EUR 1,276 million.

Reduction of energy consumption (GRI 302-4)  

To support the achievement of Outotec’s CO2 reduction targets, Outotec has a global annual energy reduction target of 1% until 2025.  

Outotec implemented an Energy Management system based on ISO 50001 in five locations in Finland in 2017 and in four locations in Germany in 2016.  All these locations have been certified by TÜV Rheinland Cert GmbH in the respective years. In Finland, we renewed our official energy saving agreement which consists of short-term (4% savings until 2020) and long-term (7.5% savings until 2025) targets with year 2016 as the base year.  

In 2018, we defined energy targets for the third time in Germany: 2% reduction in electricity use by the end of 2019. 105% of the reduction targets were met already in May 2018. For 2019, we expect an additional reduction of energy consumption by optimizing the building usage. The principles will be enlarged globally to other Outotec locations in the coming years, and a full certification will be considered case-by-case.  

The consumption figures include different types of fuels, purchased electricity, and district heating. The conversion factors between energy units were taken from Statistics Finland

Energy consumption in Finnish units, TJ 2018 2017 2016
Pori research center and Turula works      
Energy consumption 36.0 35.7 38.3
Energy saved due to efficiency improvements, TJ compared to base year 0.5 1.0 base year
Lappeenranta works      
Energy consumption 15.4 17.2 18.8
Energy saved due to efficiency improvements, TJ compared to base year 1.4 0.7 base year
Turku works      
Energy consumption 9.4 11.3 13.2
Energy saved due to efficiency improvements, TJ compared to base year 3.6 1.2 base year
Total energy consumption 60.8 64.2 70.3
Saving compared to 2016, % 7.8 4.2 base year


Interactions with water as a shared resource (GRI 303-1)

Even though our direct impact on water quality and availability is relatively low and mainly constrained to municipal water supply, Outotec’s wider value chain can have a significant impact on water availability and water-related environmental impacts. The mining industry uses large amounts of water for minerals processing, which is why water scarcity or excess water constitute risks for Outotec’s customers. For example, water cycles interconnect with the general hydrologic water cycle, due to which rain, surface run-off, evaporation, infiltration and seepage can have an unpredictable and often seasonal impact on the site’s water volumes and qualities. Tailings areas and water ponds are of special interest, since they cover large areas and contaminated water can interact with the environment. Also, mining operations can change sites’ topographical and hydrological conditions in the long run. Minerology and therefore water chemistry also differ by site and by time.

To tackle these problems, Outotec offers technologies to reduce water consumption, increase water cyclability as well as monitor and predict water balances. In some of the cases, we apply life-cycle assessment to estimate the potential impacts and benefits.

We manage and monitor closely our own water consumption and report it annually. We also interact with other stakeholders in increasing sustainability in global water supplies.  

Water withdrawal by source (GRI 303-3) 

We purchase water locally from municipal water suppliers and channel wastewater into municipal waste water systems. The water volumes are calculated mostly based on invoices, except for certain locations in Africa that use water from drill wells. Because our workshops are mainly assembly shops, no process water is discharged. Our research center in Pori uses measured amounts of river water for cooling purposes in test facilities. After use, this water is channeled back to the river. Outotec stores no rainwater; neither do we use wastewater from other organizations. 

The reported municipal water consumption has increased in the South-East Asia and Australia region (+270%). The locations in this region account for 94% of the fresh water use increase due to a better record keeping system. In addition, one site in Sub-Saharan Africa had an increase in water consumption, since the workshop started to take on larger equipment, which required new wash bays. 



Direct GHG emissions (Scope 1, GRI 305-1)  

Scope 1 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are calculated based on the consumption of non-renewable fuels in our locations globally, plus the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions released by company cars, excluding vehicles used in site operations at customers’ plants. The conversion factors for the fuel specific CO2e emissions are taken from Statistics Finland. For the company cars, the CO2e emissions are calculated based on the reports of the leasing companies in Finland (annual kilometers, CO2 emissions/km/car type). For other locations, the CO2e emissions were calculated by using the reported fuel consumptions, kilometers and average CO2e emissions. The GHG emission calculations only relate to CO2, as we do not release emissions of other greenhouse gases. The gas included in the calculations is CO2 from fossil fuel sources, excluding bio-based CO2 emissions. 

Energy indirect GHG emissions (Scope 2, GRI 305-2)

In line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, we used the Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard to calculate Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. The emissions are indicated in CO2 equivalents, which also cover other greenhouse gases. The country specific emission factors were retrieved from RE_DISS for the European countries , for the other countries from GaBi databases or for those not found in these, we used the Protocol’s calculation tool ‘GHG emissions from purchased electricity’. In calculations for Finland and Germany we used market based and ‘Residual mix CO2e emission’ factors. In terms of consolidation, the figures include operations in which Outotec has full financial control, i.e. our own operations and offices, with site operations at customers’ premises excluded.

In 2018, Outotec purchased 8,639 MWh of CO2-free electricity from renewable energy sources in Finland and Germany, equaling 51% of our electricity consumption and 21% of total energy consumption. We are gradually moving to renewable energy in our major locations in Germany and Finland, excluding the Pori and Frankfurt research centers. Market-based Scope 2 emissions decreased by 10 %, mainly due to the increased share of renewable energy, but also due to reduced electricity consumption.

In 2018, Outotec set new GHG emission targets for the combined Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions which are in line with the science-based targets requirements. The science-based targets framework is based on climate science, according to which a global carbon budget is estimated to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temperatures.  In Outotec’s choice of methodology, the carbon budget is equated to global GDP and our share of emissions is determined by our gross profit, that is our share of the global economy. In practice, for Outotec this means a reduction of GHG emissions of 13% by the year 2025, translating to a yearly reduction of roughly 2%. 

Other indirect GHG emissions (Scope 3, GRI 305-3) 

We include business travel and commuting in Scope 3 GHG emissions. The data about business travels are received from our globally centralized travel agency that covers all major locations. According to our Travel Policy, the preferred travel agency is to be used for all travel purchases, and no purchases from local travel agencies are allowed. Thus, we have estimated that the coverage of the travel agency report is higher than 98% but no extrapolation was made to cover the unknown share. The commuting related emissions are estimated based on average numbers realized in Espoo and extrapolated to cover the all employees. 

Approximately 90% of Outotec’s manufacturing is outsourced. We report the carbon footprint of our supply chain separately, and in 2018 it amounted to 520,683 tonnes of CO2e. The largest source of CO2e emissions was the category of machinery, representing 50% of the total. The calculations are based on Outotec’s spending and carried out using the Scope 3 screening tool developed by Quantis and GHG Protocol. In 2018, the supply categorization and data management system were improved to better capture the nature of our supply spend. This also had an impact on the calculation of our supply chain’s emissions, which is why we recalculated the 2016 and 2017 emissions according to the new supply reporting methods to guarantee comparability over the years. 

Our travel-related emissions remained approximately the same as in 2017. The traveled kilometers increased slightly. However, the related emissions remained nearly unchanged because our personnel increasingly traveled in economy class, which has a lower emission factor. The CO2e emissions for flight and rail travel are reported directly by our travel agent Carlson Wagonlit Travel. A restatement for the year 2017 flight emissions needed to be done, since CWT’s new analytics tool has a higher accuracy on the calculated kilometers. The greenhouse gas factors used for emissions estimation have also been improved in CWT’s new tool.

We use teleconferences and Skype for Business for internal meetings. Video conferencing systems are also available in our major locations. After the Office365 collaboration and information sharing tools were taken into use in 2015, traveling to internal meetings has reduced.

Outotec strives to use responsible air carriers and hotels. Lufthansa and Finnair, for instance, use relatively new fleets, which generally produce lower emissions. In agreements with hotels, Outotec prefers hotels with favorable social responsibility policies.

GHG emissions intensity (GRI 305-4)

Our relative flight emissions per one-million-euro sales decreased by 17.5% from 2016. The overall positive impact of Outotec’s business travel can be best illustrated by comparing our total annual GHG emissions in 2018, which were 23,015 tonnes CO2e, with the emissions avoided by using six of our metals-related technologies, which amounted to 6,181,892 tonnes of CO2e. 

Nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and other significant air emissions (GRI 305-7) 

We report only VOC emissions, as nitrogen and sulfur oxides as well as other air emissions are not relevant in our operations. We estimate the VOC emissions based on the paint consumption in our manufacturing, assembly and service operations. The VOC emissions have been relative steady during the years. We have used 300 g VOCs per one-liter paint as the emission factor in our calculations. 

Significant spills (GRI 306-3) 

No significant spills were reported in Outotec operations and project sites in 2018. A small amount of hazardous waste is produced in the final surface treatment of filter presses in our Lappeenranta works. In addition, oily waste from lubricants used in the Turula works is classified as hazardous. Our research centers produce small amounts of different kinds of hazardous chemicals. These hazardous wastes are sent to local hazardous waste treatment facilities.