Why Asia, and the rest of the world, need low-carbon steel

(Eco Business, 17 Dec 2019) If the steel sector were a country, it would be the world’s fifth-biggest emitter after China, the United States, Europe and India. Can developers and car and appliance makers be galvanised to adopt a new standard for responsible steel?

If the steel sector were a country, it would be the world’s fifth-biggest emitter after China, the United States, Europe and India, contributing to 7 per cent of global carbon emissions.

Property developers and automobile makers use copious amounts of the resource, and everyone who owns a home or a car relies on it.

But steel is considered one of the heavy industry sectors, alongside others like cement and shipping, where solutions to reduce emissions are not simple.

To push the sector towards standards needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100, some industry stakeholders—including the world’s largest steel company, ArcelorMittal—recently launched the ResponsibleSteel standard.

ResponsibleSteel is the first international multi-stakeholder standard for responsible production for steelmaking and processing sites, its stakeholders say. Besides ArcelorMittal, which accounts for 6 to 7 per cent of the global steel market, other producers and manufacturers that have joined include BlueScope, Aperam, Vama, Voestalpine and Outokompu.

More familiar names such as automakers Daimler and BMW, as well as property developer Lendlease, are also on board. Automotive and construction make up about two-thirds of steel demand.

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Eco Business, 17 Dec 2019: Why Asia, and the rest of the world, need low-carbon steel