Mona Neubaur, Minister for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy and Deputy Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia, visited the company Andernach & Bleck in Hagen on 27 March 2023. The Minister accepted an invitation from the company to discuss the current economic challenges facing the steel industry.
The meeting focused on topics such as decarbonisation, energy prices and energy savings, hydrogen as an alternative and challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises. Neubaur emphasised the importance of exchange opportunities with SMEs in order to get to know the reality on the ground and to be able to provide targeted support.
Minister of Economic Affairs Mona Neubaur: "SMEs are the foundation of the North Rhine-Westphalian economy and indispensable for growth, innovation, and jobs and apprenticeships. The major transformation tasks we are facing cannot be tackled without SMEs. That's why I'm delighted to be able to exchange ideas with the long-established family-owned company Andernach und Bleck, which is one of the hidden champions of the bright steel industry in North Rhine-Westphalia and especially in the Ruhr region. Here, the climate-neutral transformation has already been driven forward for years through innovations."
Andernach & Bleck took the opportunity to present their own experiences and concerns to the Minister. Together they discussed how to successfully lead the steel industry in a more climate-friendly and sustainable direction in the future. Managing Director Carsten Bleck explains that A&B is already 75% decarbonised and part of a green value chain. The goal is to maintain this pioneering role and to drive real decarbonisation without buying certificates or greenwashing.
After the round of talks, the guests were only given a brief insight into the plant due to the time constraints. They were particularly interested in the drawing process for the production of bright steel.
"The medium-sized steel industry is already very far decarbonised. The final steps can only be taken if politics and business pull together. This requires an open exchange, as we were able to do today with Ms Neubaur and her speaker Dr Suveni Kreimeier," said CEO Carsten Bleck after the meeting.
For the company, the visit was a great success and they are looking forward to further cooperation with the Minister and her team.