ResponsibleSteel debuts new global steel sustainability standard

ResponsibleSteel, a third-party provider of sustainability standards and certifications, has launched a new global standard for the steel industry with a focus on responsible sourcing

The new standard will “play a pivotal role in driving down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and driving up standards in the steel supply chain” and will “push back against greenwashing,” it said on Wednesday September 14.

Created after taking inputs from its members — which include steel companies such as ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel, US Steel, Thyssenkrupp, Posco, BlueScope, and Voestalpine, as well as environmental non-governmental organizations — the “ResponsibleSteel International Standard V2.0” will enable steel buyers to “specify what green procurement means in a credible way.”

The revised standard addresses issues across the entire environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) spectrum as well as the threat of climate change, pertaining specifically to GHG emissions and the responsible sourcing of input materials, it said.

The standard applies to operational steel and related sites that process raw materials for steelmaking, or that produce steel products, according to a ResponsibleSteel spokesperson.

ResponsibleSteel noted the following:

  • Sites that wish to market or sell ResponsibleSteel-certified steel must achieve a minimum threshold level of performance for the intensity of GHG emissions for the production of crude steel. The threshold level of performance is determined in accordance with internationally consistent GHG accounting rules, which require that all significant GHG be taken into account, including methane and carbon dioxide. The GHG emissions associated with the extraction, transportation and processing of input materials must be included, as well as the site’s direct emissions and the indirect emissions associated with its energy use.

  • The standard defines GHG emissions intensity performance having taken into account the proportion of scrap that is used as input material, ensuring that it is globally applicable and does not simply divert the limited supply of scrap from one use or user to another, without achieving GHG emission reductions for the sector as a whole.

  • The standard defines and distinguishes between four levels of performance from a basic threshold for ResponsibleSteel certification (level 1) through to the production of “near zero” steel (level 4), allowing steel users, specifiers and policymakers to design their own specifications, commitments and incentives to maximize the speed of the steel sector’s transition to the production of “near zero” steel.

The official review of the new standard will start in 2023, according to the organization’s website.

“Steel customers can now be confident in specifying ResponsibleSteel-certified steel products,” Gerry Tidd, chairman of ResponsibleSteel’s board of directors, said in a press release.

To keep up with the green steel discussion by visiting our Green Steel Spotlight page. Learn more.

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