The Future

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Executive Board Chairman Roland Harings discusses challenges, approaches, and hard decisions.

> Interview with the Executive Board Chairman

A brief overview of our business model, and why recycling is becoming more and more important to us as a driver of earnings.

> Business Model

What recycling raw materials do we use, what innovations are we researching, and what trends benefit us? Three behind-the-scenes reports.

> Recycling Qualities> Research & Development> Recycling Markets & Market Drivers

A discussion with Prof. Reuter on why we have to rethink product design and an interview with Ms. von Hahn about how Aurubis helps shape metal recycling from a political angle.

> Design for Recycling> Politics & Society

A report on the dialogue between the companies TKF and Aurubis about CO2 emissions, closed loops, and why metals are here to stay.

> Sustainability & Products> Facts & Figures


Showing up for metal recycling

With metal recycling we tap new raw material sources, right at our doorstep. We want to give quality recycling a face and to nudge it more strongly into focus in the political discussion. Head of External Affairs Marie-Christine von Hahn on the current discussions, how Aurubis participates in them, and why we take recycling personally.


v. Hahn: It’s everywhere at the moment. The topic has a number of facets, extending from the European battery directive to the ecodesign directive to the European Union’s higher environmental ambitions, which have been discussed under the buzzword “Green Deal.” Nevertheless, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, and the quality recycling of metals isn’t enough of a political priority, unfortunately. We want to change this! We advocate political regulations that ensure that technologies in use are as recyclable as possible.

Image: Marie-Christine von Hahn
Head of External Affairs Marie-Christine von Hahn speaking at our parliamentary evening in Berlin in October 2019.
"Our goal is to direct the political focus to quality metal recycling."Marie-Christine von Hahn

v. Hahn: Without a doubt, metal recycling is a complex process that requires some explanation, and it also requires a large amount of energy – a point that hasn’t been considered in its entirety across the value chain thus far. We’re therefore in regular contact with representatives in Berlin and Brussels when it comes to issues such as CO2 price development, renewable energy reallocation charges, and grid charges. At the end of the day, it comes down to whether there are long-term, reliable conditions for metal recycling and the downstream metal processing industry here in Europe. Another challenge is illegal scrap exports from Europe, for example to Africa.


v. Hahn: It’s clear that prohibiting it isn’t enough, as the appliances and devices are usually exported as “functional electrical and electronic waste.” However, we advocate against the dismantling or burning of scrap and recycling materials to recover the metals under poor conditions for humans and the environment. Ultimately, it’s imperative that high European standards serve as a benchmark. Based on international agreements and regulations, all kinds of recycling materials can be, and are being, traded legally around the world. However, everyone needs to abide by this system.

WHERE can Aurubis make the GREATEST contribution TO THE POLITICAL DISCUSSION, in your opinion?

v. Hahn: Metal recycling means actively securing raw materials for Europe, which makes us less dependent on imports from other regions in global competition. At the same time, we tap raw material sources, right at our doorstep. Apart from the discussion on these kinds of strategic issues, we at Aurubis also see ourselves as the ones who carry out the practical tests for laws regarding metal recycling. After all, ideas that sound promising in theory have to be feasible in practice as well. As one of the largest copper recyclers, we stand for more than 150 years of expertise and process knowledge. We foster political and public debate with this experience. In this way, we also enable pragmatic, functional, and rapid solutions for the circular economy. In the end, everyone benefits from these solutions.


v. Hahn: We of course actively work in different associations on topics involving metal recycling. We publish positions on relevant draft laws because we want to continue strengthening the voice of the metals industry in the public perception. A clear example of our involvement is our parliamentary evening, which we held in Berlin in October 2019. Under the slogan “Urban Mining – Metal Recycling as a Future Source of Raw Materials,” about 130 guests from politics, associations, and business accepted our invitation to the event.

Image: Urban Mining

Under the slogan “Urban Mining – Metal Recycling as a Future Source of Raw Materials,” Aurubis invited about 130 guests from politics, associations, and business to Berlin.


v. Hahn: Our objective with the event in October was not only to present ourselves as a valuable recycling industry actor in the political center of Berlin but also to provide the invited experts with a high-level platform for dialogue. The growing significance of recycling and the circular economy was highlighted in various speeches, including those from Christoph Dammermann, state secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization, and Energy of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Oliver Wittke, parliamentary state secretary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Moreover, representatives from politics and business discussed the topic of the circular economy and agreed in the end that industry and politics both have to contribute to a functioning circular economy. Aurubis Executive Board Chairman Roland Harings also spoke about issues such as recycling, climate protection, and environmental conservation during the evening. These issues are close to his heart, which is why he likes to get involved personally and show up for metal recycling!