As a responsible corporate citizen, AK Steel strongly supports the importance of making positive contributions in the communities where our employees live and work.
As a company that consistently strives to be a leader in the global steel sector in environmental compliance and energy conservation, AK Steel focuses on operating in an environmentally responsible manner. The company takes a proactive approach to environmental management by following its comprehensive environmental policy. This includes recycling, recovery and reuse of residual materials, as well as reducing and preventing emissions to the extent feasible.
We are particularly proud of our environmental performance this past year, during which our company set annual records for water and air compliance. Air permit and water deviations were reduced by 75 percent. And because we strive for continuous improvement at all our operations, results at our Dearborn Works and Mountain State Carbon locations improved by 99 percent over the past two years. Strong progress continues at our Dearborn Works facility, which was acquired in September 2014, to achieve environmental, safety, quality and operational improvements. Even with the addition of this facility, AK Steel’s overall company safety record remains more than approximately four times better than the industry average.
Many of our innovative steel products also have environmental benefits. AK Steel is helping to improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles through our Advanced High Strength Steels, which are lighter but have outstanding strength and formability characteristics versus traditional materials. We are also enhancing the energy efficiency of transformers through our high-efficiency electrical steels, which we ship across the globe. More efficient transformers reduce the amount of electricity that needs to be generated for the electrical grid system.
The North American steel industry’s long-standing commitment to sustainability programs has already transformed steel into the world’s most recycled material, with more than 65 million tons of steel recycled annually. Steel also has a lower energy use and carbon dioxide emissions per ton than a number of alternative materials.
As a responsible corporate citizen, AK Steel strongly supports the importance of making positive contributions in the communities where our employees live and work. In fact, AK Steel makes financial contributions to nonprofit organizations in every community in which we operate. This year the company also launched its AK CARES program to support and recognize employees who donate their time and talents to local and regional nonprofit organizations.
Through the AK Steel Foundation, the company contributed nearly $1.5 million in 2016 to support community and nonprofit programs, scholarships and grants, including matching employee gifts to applicable nonprofit agencies. Over the years, the AK Steel Foundation has donated millions of dollars to the United Way across our headquarters location and plant communities. AK Steel is also a corporate sponsor of one of the largest fine arts funds in the nation, helping to keep the arts accessible and affordable across the region where many of our employees live.