The crisis reveals our strong solidarity
Like all other companies, we at Aurubis have worked under unprecedented conditions for more than half of the past fiscal year. The coronavirus pandemic created new challenges for everyone and influenced a number of decisions and actions. The long-term economic and social consequences of the pandemic remain to be seen. The Aurubis Executive Board explains how Aurubis is dealing with this situation and what is especially important to them in these exceptional times.
Chief Operations Officer Dr. Heiko Arnold sums it up as follows: “As uncertain as the coronavirus pandemic has made, and continues to make, a number of aspects, one thing is certain: the health and safety of all Aurubis employees have the highest priority for the Executive Board and its management team.” Chief Executive Officer Roland Harings adds, “We are very aware of this significant responsibility toward our employees. The Executive Board, Works Council, and a number of company divisions jointly initiated the necessary measures to quickly minimize the infection risk at our sites. We are still doing this consistently: every day, we assess the situation in our Group-wide crisis team and inform employees promptly about the decisions we have made through all internal communication channels.”
The health and safety of all employees always have the highest priority.
Dr. Heiko Arnold, Chief Operations Officer
We immediately took far-reaching steps to protect our employees. For example, this included halting all business trips and public business at the sites. Employees were asked at a very early stage to avoid taking private trips to risk areas if possible. Every employee regularly receives mask sets, and there are concrete rules about the situations and areas in which a mask has to be worn.
We were also quick to take advantage of the options for digital work to a greater extent than previously planned. “Luckily, we rolled out new tools independently of the pandemic, so we were able to facilitate remote work from the start, especially for administrative employees, without any problems. And we continue to do so today,” explains Chief Financial Officer Rainer Verhoeven.
At the same time, Aurubis is a company where work is carried out around the clock, 365 days a year. “Without a doubt, we have to maintain operations in our facilities and uphold the high level of quality in production. We have to make sure that we’re always in a position to receive and process raw materials, to produce our metals, and to deliver them,” says the Chief Executive Officer, summing up the situation. Despite temporary mine closures in South America due to the pandemic, Aurubis was well supplied with concentrates at all times. “We had to be flexible. But thanks to our long-term mine partners, we were able to maintain production at the smelter sites without any problems for the most part. Furthermore, the robust nature of our business model has proven itself during the pandemic, a fact that is reflected in our strong results.” The purchase of recycling materials such as copper scrap and other metal-bearing materials also eased in mid-2020 following a brief shortage resulting from COVID-19-related lockdowns in many parts of the world.
Aurubis is and remains a production company first and foremost, with many employees who can only do their work on site – whether at the furnaces or in the many other production facilities. We offered working parents of young children the option to adjust their working time models, to make their working hours more flexible, and to reschedule or trade shifts. We released our employees from their duties, without any red tape, for the time they needed to coordinate childcare. State-of-the-art coronavirus quick tests are available in the medical departments of the Aurubis plants. The agile crisis team continually reviews the hygiene concepts and adjusts them as necessary.
Despite the pandemic, Aurubis in Germany was even able to welcome more new apprentices than in previous years. Nevertheless, the apprentice welcome event in Hamburg in September was a little different than usual: apprentices were divided into two groups and the ceremony took place in two rounds with the applicable hygiene and distancing rules. Apprentice training is continuing its usual course even during the pandemic, taking the mask and distancing requirements into consideration.
“Luckily, thanks to the quick measures that have been taken, the impacts of the virus on Aurubis have been limited,” Roland Harings summarizes. “We will of course do everything to ensure that it stays that way. For example, we continue to review our recommendations and instructions daily during this time.”
The pandemic isn’t over yet. The global infection rates will continue to rise rapidly during the winter months. “It’s now crucial again to continue putting our strong solidarity into practice,” says Chief Technology Officer Dr. Thomas Bünger emphatically. “Aurubis isn’t just a place where we do our work. Aurubis is all of our colleagues who work together to ensure that things continue even in these difficult times.”
Roland Harings is confident: “Together with my Executive Board colleagues, I trust that we Aurubians will overcome current and future challenges together in the coming year as well.”
Luckily, thanks to the quick measures that have been taken, the impacts of the virus on Aurubis have been limited.
Roland Harings, Chief Executive Officer