In light of the megatrend of sustainability, which has come to stay, Montanwerke Brixlegg is setting strategic priorities and going public with the many achievements of recent years. A big step - we talk to board member Uwe Schmidt about how this came about and what this clear focus means for various stakeholders.
Montanwerke Brixlegg AG has been focusing on upcycling at the core of the company's activities for years. While the competition is slowly increasing their recycling rates, you have long since arrived at 100% recycled content. What does that mean for customers and their products?
Uwe Schmidt: Our copper is in demand in all megatrends of the future. I would like to highlight e-mobility, the increasing digitalization of industry, or measures for more sustainable infrastructure. In times when the entire industry is looking for measures for climate-friendly and ultimately climate-neutral production, we are the best partner in copper. We can guarantee that all of our raw materials are recycled raw materials - and thus make a significant contribution to CO2 savings in Scope 3 for our customers.
For the first time, you have calculated the CO2 footprint of the copper produced by Montanwerke Brixlegg AG - and are thus the undisputed number one worldwide, with the lowest value for carbon dioxide emissions. What do Montanwerke do differently than its competitors to achieve such good values?
We cover our high electricity demand in Brixlegg exclusively from local hydropower. We even cover around 20% of this from our own hydropower plants. This regenerative energy supply - together with the recycling of raw materials - is the biggest lever. In addition, we have been analyzing and trimming all investments in the plant for energy efficiency for years. This is now paying off.
Austrian politics is committed to climate neutrality by 2040. What contribution is Montanwerke Brixlegg AG making to this project? And the other way around: What measures of support for Austrian industry do you expect?
With our carbon footprint, we are already where many other metal-producing companies still want to be. The further path to climate neutrality is difficult and still requires many investments from everyone. However, this is an opportunity for Austria to present itself as a pioneer. With suitable support programs and more proportionate approval processes, we can take the path together without losing our competitiveness.
As one of three members of the Board of Management, you have made sustainability a top priority - how did this come about and what impact does this have on the corporate strategy as a whole?
For us, sustainability is not limited to environmental issues, but also includes social and other corporate concerns. For us, this is a holistic approach that is supported by all managers. We therefore initially decided against a separate sustainability organization and in favor of an internal sustainability team made up of the Executive Board and selected executives and works council representatives. In this way, our planned measures receive broad support throughout the company and are endorsed by everyone. The topics discussed in the sustainability team naturally interact with our new "Upcycling 2026" strategy.
Especially for OEMs, the screening of the supply chain - also in countries without supply chain legislation - is a top issue in the coming years. As a raw material producer, how does Montanwerke Brixlegg contribute to a "clean" supply chain?
Many OEMs are not yet familiar with the mining plants as raw material suppliers and often do not know where the copper comes from that is used in their products by suppliers. On the way to a climate-neutral industry, every company must also obtain raw material transparency ("Where does what come from?"). The next logical step is to determine the proportion of recycled materials. If this is to be as high as possible, there is no getting around our copper.
What is your biggest challenge/most important task for the next 1-2 years?
We want to be an attractive employer in Tyrol and I hope that many potential applicants will realize that it is worthwhile to take this exciting path with us.
What excites you most about Montanwerke Brixlegg AG?
The people, the corporate culture, and the prospects.