Gerdau has achieved one of the highest levels of environmental certification – ISO 14001:2004 – at its mill in Midlothian.
This certification is an international distinction that recognizes the quality of an organization’s environmental management system.
“Achieving ISO 14001 certification validates the success of our environmental practices and demonstrates our commitment to operating in an environmentally sustainable manner,” said Greg Bott, vice president and general manager of the Midlothian mill. “I want to thank and congratulate each and every one of our employees for helping us reach this milestone. This result would not be possible without their contributions.”
In order to meet the requirements of ISO 14001, an organization must have an environmental management system that is able to help the company identify and control the environmental impact of its activities, products or services, continually improve its environmental performance and provide a systematic approach to setting and achieving environmental objectives and targets.
One of the most important elements for employees is maintaining a high level of awareness of PIC, which stands for Prevent Improve Comply, in order to support environmental protection and stewardship.
It is also essential that they have knowledge of the aspects of their jobs that prevent negative impacts to the environment.
While the primary purpose of this certification is to protect the environment, businesses also can use ISO 14001 to help them innovate.
For example, a 5S organizational program at the mill has helped employees keep their shops neat and orderly, which creates a safer and more productive working environment. The 5S methodology was invented in Japan and uses five primary phases to organize a work space: sorting, set in order, systematic cleaning, standardizing and sustaining. The primary objectives are to improve health and safety, productivity and quality.
Other projects that demonstrated an effort to continuously improve include a new lime injection system going in the Melt Shop and the QIS recycling projects for cardboard, paper, plastics, and wood.
A team of auditors from ABS Quality Evaluations, Inc., an accredited independent third-party auditing firm, spent a combined 132 hours touring the Midlothian mill, inspecting documents and records and interviewing employees before awarding the certification.
Gerdau is the leading producer of long steel in the Americas and one of the largest suppliers of special long steel in the world.
It has over 45,000 employees and industrial operations in 14 countries with operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia, which together represent an installed capacity of over 25 million metric tons of steel per year. It is the largest recycler in Latin America and around the world it transforms millions of metric tons of scrap into steel every year.
Gerdau is listed on the stock exchanges of São Paulo, New York and Madrid and has approximately 140,000 shareholders.