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Detroit Rising on the Social Investment Scene

James M. Amend 

ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks’ Detroit-based facility supplies automakers with laser-welded parts for use in safety-critical structures like car doors and door pillars.

Wall Street investors are paying attention to sustainability, targeting companies exhibiting strong social responsibility and going so far as to exclude entire industrial segments less sensitive to the impact their products may have on everyday lives.  

In the automotive industry, steel maker ArcelorMittal makes sustainability a core company value, from the products it offers its customers to the reinvestment it makes in future products and the communities in which it operates. The company’s ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks (AMTB) division, which has an operation in Detroit, supplies automakers with laser-welded blanks for use in safety-critical structures like door rings and door pillars.   

The company is also an industry leader in sustainability reporting through the launch of its 10 Sustainable Development Outcomes.  

According to a recent global survey of investors by multi-national consultancy PwC, 88% see added value in the rapidly growing class of responsible investing. Responsible investing weighs potential financial returns equally with the social and environmental impact of an asset.  

AMTB leverages ArcelorMittal’s Advanced High Strength Steels (AHSS), which are thinner and stronger steel grades, to create laser-welded blanks that are stamped and assembled into key structural components that can shave hundreds of pounds off a car without sacrificing crashworthiness. Lighter cars are more efficient, which helps automakers meet federal fuel economy requirements.   

“We enable our customers to put the safest vehicles on the roads today,” says Ben Orler, chief operating officer at AMTB. “Crash test studies have proven that time and time again.”  

But AMTB’s commitment goes far deeper. For example, the company has changed over from carbon-dioxide based laser systems it uses for welding steel to costlier, but more environmentally friendly fiber optic lasers.  

“The carbon-dioxide footprint of cars is significantly reduced with adoption of laser welded blanks,” says Shayne May, director of safety and sustainability at AMTB. 

AMTB also invests directly into the communities where it does business. In 2018, the company launched an $83 million manufacturing operation in the I-94 Industrial Park, creating nearly 135 jobs with continued plans of expansion. It is also planning further expansions of their Woodstock, Ontario facility which will create more job opportunities for the community. 

AMTB invests with social consciousness in mind, protecting communities and the people who live in them.   

“Our products make cars safer, stronger, lighter, and greener,” says Gagan Tandon, director of product development at ArcelorMittal Tailor Blanks.

James M. Amend is a senior editor at WardsAuto in Southfield, Michigan.