Uniting customers and scrap suppliers

Outokumpu has launched a new circularity initiative, Inner Circle, to strengthen the circular economy in Europe.

Text & image by Outokumpu

The Inner Circle initiative will bring transparency to supply chains and smoothen the path from stainless steel to usable scrap, and from scrap to ever more sustainable stainless steel production – ultimately creating a closed loop for steel scrap. This initiative is the first of its kind for the industry.

“Circularity is one crucial element of sustainable stainless steel production. With the Inner Circle initiative, we are bringing our customers and scrap suppliers together to ensure an efficient, transparent, and sustainable supply chain for steel scrap. Ultimately, our vision is to create a visible closed loop for steel – a unique example of circular economy in action,” explains Max Menzel, Head of Sustainability & Technical Customer Service at Outokumpu.

Creating networks

By using existing, efficient supply chains, the ways for the scrap from customers back to the producers can be shortened. Transparency and ESG conformity throughout the supply chain will be ensured by verifying all partners within this initiative.

In the initiative, Outokumpu’s role is to steer the initiative and create networks between customers and verified scrap suppliers. The scrap suppliers’ role is to ensure a sustainable supply chain by providing scrap from the network’s partners and distributing the scrap sustainably. Customers who join the program will bring their scrap back into the cycle after processing the material or by the end of the product’s life cycle via the scrap suppliers.

“Together we will show strong initiative and leadership by spearheading the move towards a more circular and closed-loop economy. Our partners can join this unique and open initiative, which is the first in the industry, and demonstrate their leadership and contribution to the circular economy,” says Menzel.

Inviting industry partners to join

Outokumpu’s partners can now join this groundbreaking initiative and demonstrate their leadership in circular economy to customers and stakeholders. The first partners will be able to give their input to the creation and development of the network to genuinely add value to the industry’s efforts in sustainability.

“Outokumpu Inner Circle is an open initiative where we would like to welcome all scrap suppliers and stainless steel consumers from Europe to participate. We are now entering the first phase of this initiative and I’m happy to announce CRONIMET as the first scrap supplier partner joining us. At this stage, our focus is on creating practices and learning about the cooperation. There’s been a lot of interest already, showing that there really is an industry-wide need for this kind of initiative,” says Menzel.

“The Inner Circle initiative builds on the ideas of fairness, openness and the pursuit of long-term partnerships and therefore fits perfectly with our corporate values. At the same time, we are convinced that this is the right approach to achieving sustainability and business success in the circular economy,” says Nico Krueger, Commercial Director at CRONIMET.

A more sustainable future

As a material, stainless steel is a key ingredient of circular economy as it is 100% recyclable. Already today, Outokumpu has the highest recycled material content rate in the stainless steel industry at 94%. “We believe the world does not need more things – but things that last. And when a product is at the end of its life cycle, it should be brought back to life by becoming raw material for something new. The more we use scrap, the lower our emissions are. We would like to enable our customers and partners to actively participate by joining this initiative,” says Juha Erkkilä, VP – Sustainability, Outokumpu.

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