Attempts to make Slovakia’s industry greener have been around for decades, though the pressure for more environmentally friendly solutions has particularly intensified as the threat of a climate crisis intensifies – with little effect for the moment.
As a European Union member, Slovakia must achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. By 2030, its CO2 emissions must be 55 percent less than its 1990 levels. For Slovak industry, one of the most energy intensive within the EU with emissions of 22 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019, this is particularly challenging.
“Closing the three biggest factories in Slovakia would suffice to meet the 2030 goal,” said Miroslav Kiraľvarga, president of the National Union of Employers (RÚZ) and vice-president of external affairs, administration and business development at U.S. Steel Košice. “But I assume that is nobody’s intention.”
Energy-intensive companies in Slovakia consider the EU’s goals ambitious. Some of the largest companies in the country that The Slovak Spectator talked to point out that the transition to a carbon neutral and eco-friendly industry is a time-consuming and financially demanding process that cannot take place without state support; otherwise, it will take much longer.
“Making industry greener in Slovakia requires its complete transformation,” Alžbeta Timárová, manager of corporate affairs of the building materials producer Danucem Slovensko, told The Slovak Spectator.
She added that the decarbonisation of industry, the availability of modern technology and support for the transition to a low-carbon economy, where the availability of vast amounts of green electrical energy is a key driver, are the main challenges of that transformation.
Inevitable, says ministry
The Economy Ministry believes that the fair and well handled transformation of industry will contribute to Slovakia’s efforts to strengthen its international competitiveness and improve living conditions for its inhabitants.
“The ecologisation of industry is an inevitable global trend, in which each entity needs to participate to a just and appropriate extent,” the ministry’s spokesperson Katarína Matejková told The Slovak Spectator. The ministry lists the production of iron and steel, cement, aluminium, industrial fertilisers and electricity as the sectors most fit for ecologisation.