Environmental sustainability

Climate change is the biggest issue for the steel industry in the 21st century. Reducing CO2 emissions in steelmaking must be tackled on a global level. Making the substancial CO2 reductions required will need technology transfer, collaboration and breakthrough technologies.

The reduction of CO2 from steel production is an established priority, as is the reduction of GHG emissions during the life cycle of products that use steel. Our member companies incorporate strategies into their businesses to improve processes and drive product innovation in this direction. 

worldsteel acts as a focal point both for steel industry knowledge exchange and a shared global approach. It also works with the International Energy Agency, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and, through its members, the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.

Environmental sustainability means taking responsible decisions and finding innovative ways that help to mitigate negative impacts and enhance positive impacts on the environment.

Efficient use of resources, re-use and recycling are imperatives for sustainable development. For the steel industry, the impact of steel during the entire life cycle of products, the use of by-products, recycling, energy and water management are important focus areas. Environmental sustainability is also related to the development of new products and technologies, which in the long-term will provide clear and lasting positive benefits for the environment including society and businesses.

Material efficiency is an integral part of the modern steelmaking process. Our goal is to use all raw materials to their full capacity, ensuring zero waste from steelmaking. This ambition guarantees that almost every by-product formed during steelmaking is used in new products. This approach minimises the amount of waste sent to landfill, reduces emissions, and preserves raw materials.

Another example is the efficient use of energy. This has always been one of the steel industry’s key priorities. Cost is a key incentive for this, considering that energy purchases account for 20-40% in basic steel production. One worldsteel study estimates that steel companies have cut their energy consumption per tonne of steel produced by 60% since 1960. While existing production technologies are already very efficient, every steel company is at a different point of maturity and development.

In 2008, Climate Action was launched, under which companies report data on site- or company-level CO2 emissions. A participating company or site receives a report showing the process route average emission data and range to which it can compare itself. Read more in the Climate Action Programme.