Sustainable companies for a sustainable future: all about the ProPymes workshop
Held for SMEs making up the Techint Group’s value chain, the event was hosted at the Buenos Aires Convention Center.
As part of its commitment to sustainable development and the transition towards a cleaner and more responsible energy matrix, the ProPymes Program held a workshop for the SMEs making up part of the industrial group's value chain. Entitled “The Energy Transition: Challenges and Opportunities”, the event was hosted at the Buenos Aires Convention Center.
The agenda for the workshop included a series of presentations and roundtable discussions featuring some of the top experts from the Techint Group companies in the areas of energy and sustainability. “We launched this program two years ago with the idea of sharing our energy transition agenda with the companies making up our value chain. Being able to talk about our problems, find solutions, receive training and hear about the latest tools enables us to collaborate far more closely in our efforts to reduce our overall carbon footprint,” explained Ezequiel Tavernelli, the director of the ProPymes Program, in his opening words at the start of the event.
The first presentation was given by Marcelo Martínez Mosquera, the Energy Advisor to the Presidency of the Techint Group. He reflected on the current situation facing the energy transition from a global perspective. “It’s clear that we have to reduce CO2 emissions. But today, the big problem is that we’re trying to eliminate fossil fuels without yet having any clean energy we can use. This is affecting a world with an ever-increasing demand for energy,” he explained. He emphasized the huge opportunity facing Argentina in terms of the energy transition, thanks to its natural resources and the progress made to develop and export these. “We have so many blessings: we have lithium, hydrogen, and excellent wind conditions, as well as lots of sun in the northwest. And of course, the resources of Vaca Muerta.”
The energy transition, a priority for the Group’s companies
Next on the agenda was a roundtable discussion about global and local initiatives in the areas of climate change and the energy transition. Attendees had the chance to find out more about the Techint Group companies’ 2030 decarbonization roadmap.
Andrea Rocca, director of the Energy Transition Unit, commented on the work he is coordinating at Group level in the Unit. “We need to open up new paths for us to travel, seeking to create new businesses and diversify our areas of activity. This is why in 2020, we launched the Energy Transition Unit to develop innovative business opportunities in new segments. (…) Ternium and Tenaris both act as a springboard to build new skills and develop know-how in the energy transition area, attributes that may later be extended to other players outside the Group,” he explained. The new segments he referred to include the lithium market supplying the burgeoning electric vehicle industry, and he also commented on three verticals being developed by the Energy Transition Unit to help Tenaris and Ternium achieve their decarbonization goals: clean energy, hydrogen, and carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS).
In the case of Tenaris, Carolina Bengochea, the company’s Senior Environment Director, explained that they are active on two fronts. “On the one hand, we understand that we are responsible for emissions arising from the manufacture of our products. On the other, we provide products for the energy industry, so our customers need us to lower our emissions, as we are part of their value chain. By reducing our emissions, we help them to achieve a lower environmental impact.” It was in this context, back in February 2021, that Tenaris announced its commitment to achieve a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, compared with a 2018 baseline. "This commitment covers a range of actions, from increasing scrap use to using renewable energies to manufacture our products and developing new ones to transport hydrogen and supply the CCUS market," detailed Bengochea. Among other projects, she discussed the wind farm that Tenaris is close to completing in the province of Buenos Aires, which will supply almost 50% of the power requirements of the TenarisSiderca plant. She also referred to the imminent development of a number of solar farms in Italy and China.
Lastly, José Fonrouge, Ternium's Global Sustainability Senior Director, presented the initiatives that the company is driving in terms of the energy transition. "At Ternium, the energy transition is more challenging because 60% of our steel production comes from blast furnaces and thus the emissions per ton of steel are higher," he explained. He also emphasized the complexity of the company's diverse range of products and markets, pointing out that the automotive industry is the most demanding in terms of achieving a reduction in carbon footprint. "Faced with this outlook, our vision is to reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 2030, and we are considering a more long-term horizon, without any dates for now, for carbon-neutrality," he added. To illustrate some of the concrete actions that the company is taking, Fonrouge referred to the capture of CO2 emissions at the operations in Mexico, enabling Ternium to sequester CO2, treat it and sell it to the soft drinks industry. He also commented that Ternium is planning to modify its energy matrix by partially replacing the coal used in its production processes with charcoal. Scrap use is also on the rise.
Bringing people up-to-date with the latest news, Fonrouge referred to the new steel production plant being built in Pesquería, Mexico, which will employ the same CO2 capture technology, and the wind farm under construction in Olavarría, in the province of Buenos Aires. This new facility will supply 65% of the power currently taken from the grid by the Ternium plant in San Nicolás.
Opportunities in Argentina
After a break, the last activity was a roundtable to discuss the challenges and opportunities for renewable energies in Argentina, as well as different investment scenarios for SMEs. Xavier Ramírez Veliz, Tecpetrol Project Development Manager, was joined by Juan Martín Alvariza Pujol, Ternium Industrial Planning Manager, and Francisco Grosse, Tecpetrol Project Development Manager, to share information and points of view about the role of renewables, Green Hydrogen, Carbon Capture and the use of Natural Gas as a transition fuel in the current scenario.
The event concluded at noon with a networking space followed by a lunch for all attendees, fostering greater interaction between participants, who were able to exchange ideas and make new contacts in the energy and sustainability industry.
The voices of our SMEs
“First, I’d like to congratulate them for taking the initiative to put all these issues on the table. They’re already a reality, not only for Argentina, but for the world. Such events remind us that if we don’t take our environment into account, we won’t be able to survive down the road, and it encourages us to think about the future. I believe that the Techint Group and the ProPymes Program are a great engine spurring us to connect, align and find synergy between us.”
Isabel Martínez, partner and owner of Grupo Marma Autopartista.
“The truth is that everything that the Group has been working on has been really good for us. It’s all been very transparent, and the commitments that the Company takes on with its value chain is, for all of us smaller players, a source of inspiration. They leave the doors open for us to contact their sustainability and environmental teams so we can all work together. Knowing that we are all pulling together is crucial, and even more so if we have each other’s backs.”
Juan Barbieri and Eugenia Doval, Innovation and Sustainability leaders at Consul Steel.
“This was an excellent initiative; the speakers really covered all the bases. They went out of their way to clear up some queries I had, and for me, it was a very worthwhile meeting. Being in the automotive segment, it made me more aware of how close we are to these changes and to the need to make the transition towards electric vehicles, a direction we are already taking.”
Norberto Taranto, founder of Grupo Taranto.