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Views from the industry: Metaal Compagnie Brabant (MCB)

Founded in 1941 as Metaal Compagnie Brabant (MCB), the group offers an extensive range of steel, stainless steel, aluminum and non-ferrous and has more 1300 employees.

We spoke to Serge Timmermans, CCO, The Netherlands, at MCB about the value of digitalization and the challenge of green steel.

Serge Timmermans: As a business we are trying to be proactive to achieve leaner and greener outcomes for us and for our customers. By differentiating through service and customer experience, we can both reduce our carbon footprint and improve efficiency.

Digitalizing our operations means we can share information around the product, from additional material specifications like the specific carbon footprint to delivering just-in-time. Everything around the product which can be added value for our customers is something we are trying to promote.

The next phase in our digitalization journey is customer experience because we want to help customers as much as we can. Through monthly webinars on topics like green steel and carbon footprint, we help them understand how to calculate carbon footprints and come up with green solutions for clients.

While we don’t yet sell a great deal of green steel, we believe sales will only increase in the future. This is because when customers do their due diligence and measure their own carbon footprint, they must start improving it. Green steel is one way to achieve this. Sectors like automotive are already more advanced with their green strategy than some other sectors. Manufacturers in Europe are responding, by investing in their production to be greener. But there must be larger changes, for example by investing in hydrogen infrastructure, to achieve this. We too must look at our suppliers and make decisions based on carbon footprint.

From 2026 onwards we will have to pay to import steel, but it might be that some suppliers outside Europe will have a lower overall carbon footprint. This kind of evaluation we have already completed for more than 75% of our suppliers, and it means we can compare them and help us to guide our customers, so they can make better informed decisions.

We also publish the average footprint of our products, and flag where we have alternatives that for example have 60% of that average carbon footprint. Customers can then decide how the costs and benefits balance as there could be a price attached to using a greener product. If we can increase the proportion we buy from a particular green supplier, the average footprint of all our products decreases without a customer asking for a specific product.

Taking this approach will mean that from our 2020 we will decrease our Scope 3 emissions by 50% by 2035. But we cannot achieve this by just waiting for our suppliers to deliver that greener material. We also must choose preferred suppliers who have lower carbon footprint to get to the 50% decrease.

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Digitalizing our operations means we can share information around the product, from additional material specifications like the specific carbon footprint to delivering just-in-time.

  • Serge Timmermans ,
  • CCO, The Netherlands ,
  • MCB