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Outokumpu and Tetra Pak join forces to reduce emissions – low-emission stainless steel utilized to produce machines for processing food and beverage products

 Outokumpu, the global leader in sustainable stainless steel, is partnering with Tetra Pak, a world leading food processing and packaging solutions company. Outokumpu Circle Green®, with up to 93% lower carbon footprint than the global industry average*, will be used in the production of Tetra Pak’s homogenizers. The low-emission stainless steel will be available as an option for all models in Tetra Pak’s homogenizer line in Europe from June 2024. This strategic collaboration marks the beginning of a partnership to explore other applications of Circle Green across the Tetra Pak equipment portfolio, helping to further align food and beverage manufacturers with the EU’s Green Deal.

“The future of low-emission solutions is heavily dependent on sustainable stainless steel. The global demand for steel is increasing while the steel industry as a whole is responsible for 7-9% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Stainless steel plays a pivotal role in accelerating the green transition, and the food and beverage industry is a good example of where low-emission steel can have a significant impact. We are proud to partner up with Tetra Pak on this transformative initiative and look forward to delivering and developing more sustainable solutions that facilitate the decarbonization across the value chain. The cooperation with Tetra Pak is yet another concrete action towards a better future”, says Niklas Wass, Executive Vice President for Stainless Europe, at Outokumpu.

Circle Green is produced at Outokumpu’s plant in Tornio, Finland, and then delivered to Tetra Pak’s homogenizer body suppliers in Denmark and Sweden. After manufacturing, the bodies are then delivered to Lund, Sweden, where many of Tetra Pak’s homogenizers are assembled. By using Circle Green, Tetra Pak is generating a more sustainable offer for the climate-cautious partners in its value chain, and the machines with low-emission bodies made of stainless steel can be delivered globally to customers.

Stainless steel as an essential material – ensuring durability and hygiene    

Food systems are responsible for over one third of the global greenhouse gas emissions**. In this sector, everything from dairy beverages to table sauces relies on homogenization as part of its production process. For example, when processing milk, the homogenizer breaks down fat globules in milk into smaller fragments, resulting in a more stable solution – preventing creaming, and improving texture, flavor and shelf-life. Stainless steel used for homogenizers not only reduces emissions but also stands out as an essential material for the food processing industry because of its exceptional resistance to corrosion, its smooth surface, and its easy-to-clean nature, ensuring durability and hygiene — two indispensable qualities in food processing.

“Innovation sits at the heart of our philosophy as a business and our approach to sustainability. The incorporation of Circle Green into our product portfolio is an important step in leveraging the latest innovations to improve our upstream emission. Working together to help both Tetra Pak and our customers to reach our individual sustainability goals is fundamental to our promise to protect what’s good”, says Fiona Liebehenz, Vice President of Key Components Plant Solutions and Channel Management, at Tetra Pak.

Circle Green production was the first of its kind globally, as no other stainless steel manufacturer has been able to produce stainless steel with such low emission levels when taking into account all the climate emissions from raw material extraction throughout the whole production chain. To produce Circle Green and to reach up to a 93% lower carbon footprint, Outokumpu uses 100% low-carbon electricity, low-carbon raw materials, such as recycled steel, and optimized production processes.

Producing all the world’s stainless steel with the same methods used for Circle Green would cut global carbon emissions by 364 million tonnes per year. This equals to over 900 million one-way flights of one passenger across the Atlantic Ocean from London to New York.

*) Global average CO emissions (2023): 7 kg COe per kg of stainless steel (Outokumpus calculation based on data provided by CRU, worldstainless and Kobolde & Partners AB). Outokumpu Circle Green CO emissions: down to 0.5 kilos of COe per kg of stainless steel. 

**) Nature Food (vol 2, no- 198-209). Crippa et al. (2021): “Food systems are responsible for a third of global anthropogenic GHG emissions”: https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-021-00225-9