Energy and climate

The individual production steps in our value chain are energy-intensive. For us, the efficient use of energy is thus an issue of ecological and economic responsibility. Energy consumption is the main source of CO2 emissions in the Group. Taking the entire value chain into consideration, about half of the CO2 emissions are upstream and downstream, i.e., they originate from our suppliers, customers, and service providers (Scope 3 emissions). Most of the Scope 3 emissions originate from the activities of mining companies.

At the same time, the products we manufacture contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. They play a key role when it comes to renewable energies and e-mobility: electric cars contain significantly more copper than vehicles with conventional combustion engines, and building and connecting an offshore wind turbine to the energy grid requires up to 30 t of copper.

In our Corporate Energy & Climate Policy, we describe how we secure and optimize the supply and consumption of energy at Aurubis, and we explain the roles and responsibilities of the sites and Group departments in this area.

The Energy & Climate Affairs department coordinates the development of the energy management and monitoring systems across the Group, providing for a uniform approach and facilitating the exchange of expertise regarding best practice examples – for instance in the form of an internal energy efficiency network. The management of Corporate Energy & Climate Affairs develops and implements the Group-wide energy strategy and reports directly to the Executive Board chairman.

To prevent CO2 emissions, we primarily focus on energy efficiency measures. We have also introduced energy management systems at our large production sites. Currently, eight sites are certified in accordance with ISO 50001 (see Table). The plan is to introduce these systems across the Group as a measure of our Sustainability Strategy. The management systems contribute to efficiently managing energy consumption and identifying energy savings potential. During the reporting period, the certifications were confirmed through routine surveillance visits or recertification. The energy management system at the Hamburg and Lünen sites is part of the integrated management system for quality, environmental protection, energy, and occupational safety.

The more steps that have already been implemented in energy efficiency in the past, the more challenging a further optimization is. Moreover, because there are limits to reducing energy consumption and emissions, the improvements being achieved today within the plant boundaries are only marginal compared to previous years. This is despite continued high levels of investment. For example, the use of complex recycling raw materials with comparably low metal contents requires more energy to be processed. Environmental protection already accounts for a large part of the energy consumption at Aurubis today. This includes the operation of facilities such as filters with fans and other suctioning equipment. For Aurubis, it is important to align environmental protection, resource conservation, and energy efficiency.

The use of renewable energies is a challenge for us since generating them is associated with energy supply fluctuations. However, our production processes require a constant energy supply. We are working on initiatives to make our energy needs more flexible in order to enable the use of renewables.

We also cover a portion of our energy needs with electricity we generate internally using excess heat from our processes. We installed steam turbines for this purpose in Hamburg, Lünen, and Pirdop. On top of that, we use waste heat from the production processes to secure the heat and process steam supply at the Pirdop, Lünen, and Hamburg sites. Demand there is largely covered by waste heat.

We report our CO2 emissions on a voluntary basis each year as part of the CDP climate change program. This includes Scope 3 emissions, or emissions caused by services provided by third parties, for example transport, raw material mining, or the production of purchased materials. CDP gathers and evaluates data and information about companies’ CO2 emissions, climate risks, and reduction targets and strategies, and assesses their responsibility in the supply chain.

Key measures of the Sustainability Strategy 2018–2023 and their status in fiscal year 2018/19

  • Introducing the ISO 50001 standard for energy management across the Group
    In the reporting period, eight sites were certified in accordance with ISO 50001. At the other sites, the substance and scope of the energy management system (EMS) in accordance with ISO 50001 were introduced in an internal workshop. A project plan for introducing the EMS has already been developed for the Pirdop site (see  Sites with certified management systems).
  • Increasing flexibility in electricity purchasing (addition: 10 % target by FY 2022/23)
    To enable the use of renewable energies, we are arranging a more flexible electricity feed-in to be able to react to fluctuating availability. We are participating in the project NEW 4.0, among others, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The goal of the project is to supply the entire region of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein with regenerative electricity in a safe, cost-effective, and environmentally sound manner. This calls for a flexible and intelligent network of electricity producers and consumers. As part of NEW 4.0, Aurubis commissioned a study to demonstrate the limits and the potential of making electricity consumption more flexible at the Hamburg plant. Furthermore, a power-to-steam facility (electrode boiler) was installed at the Hamburg plant. During periods of surplus renewable energy in the grid, the facility converts the energy into steam for internal processes. Over 10 % flexibility has been achieved for the Hamburg plant already.
  • Reducing CO2 emissions by 100,000 t through energy efficiency projects and internal electricity projects by 2022/23 (compared to FY 2012/13)
    Target achievement is at 74 %.
  • Energy efficiency projects
    In October 2018, Hamburg’s HafenCity East neighborhood began receiving CO2-free industrial heat from the Aurubis plant in Hamburg. Each year, about 160 million kWh of heat is extracted from the processes, equivalent to a more than 20,000 t reduction in CO2 annually. Roughly half of this reduction comes from saving the natural gas that was previously required to produce steam on the plant premises. The other half of the CO2 reduction comes from the transmission of external heat to the HafenCity East neighborhood, which replaces the conventional fuels used to generate district heating. The Industrial Heat project has already garnered a great deal of recognition among expert circles, receiving the following honors in the past year:
    • Energy Efficiency Award 2018 from the German Energy Agency, in the category “Energy Transition 2.0”
    • German Renewables Award 2018 from the Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster, in the category “Project of the Year”
    • Flagship Project for Energy-Efficient Waste Heat for the German Energy Agency since 2017
    • ener.CON Europe Award 2019 from we.CONECT
    • First prize in the 2019 Responsible Care competition of the northern German branch of the Chemical Industry Association (VCI Nord)
    • EU Sustainable Energy Award 2019 finalist
  • Investigating processes and electricity consumption in relation to the German government’s Climate Action Plan 2050 and analyzing the requirements for new investments (starting fiscal year 2018/19)
    Studies at association level and at company level have been commissioned and are currently underway.


Energy consumption1

in million MWh201820172016
Primary energy consumption1.751.661.72
Secondary energy consumption 1.771.881.73
Total energy consumption 3.513.543.45
1 Aurubis reports the energy KPIs and CO2 emissions for the production sites Sites and employees. This reflects most of the energy consumption because the volume at the sales offices is negligible in comparison. In contrast to the Non-Financial Report for fiscal year 2017/18, the KPIs reported this year don’t include Schwermetall Halbzeugwerk GmbH & Co. KG, in which Aurubis holds a 50 % stake.

CO2 emissions1

in 1,000 t CO2201820172016
Scope 1 (emissions produced as a direct result of burning fuels in the company’s own facilities)2522517508
Scope 2 (emissions related to purchased energy, e.g., electricity)9361,0481,014
Total (Scope 1+2)1,4591,5651,522
1 Aurubis reports the energy KPIs and CO2 emissions for the production sites Sites and employees. This reflects most of the energy consumption because the volume at the sales offices is negligible in comparison. In contrast to the Non-Financial Report for fiscal year 2017/18, the KPIs reported this year don’t include Schwermetall Halbzeugwerk GmbH & Co. KG, in which Aurubis holds a 50 % stake.
2 Emissions from diesel vehicles in accordance with the emission trading system are not included in the direct CO2 emissions. However, they make up a very small percentage compared to other sources.