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SteelZero initiative for clean steelmaking

SteelZero, a global initiative aimed at driving market demand for net zero steel, launched recently with support from eight major steel buyers and specifiers from across sectors (including construction and renewable energy). This marks the beginning of a significant global business push for clean steel. The first companies to sign up to SteelZero are BHC Ltd; Bourne Group Ltd; Grosvenor Britain & Ireland; Lendlease; Mace Group; Multiplex Construction Europe; Ørsted and WSP UK.

Run in partnership with ResponsibleSteel, the new initiative comes from international non-profit the Climate Group, which has delivered multinational campaigns that build corporate demand for renewables (RE100) and electric vehicles (EV100). Today, RE100 members are driving enough renewable electricity demand to power a G20 country like Indonesia, and EV100 members have committed five million EVs to being on roads by 2030.

For SteelZero, organisations are required to make a public commitment to transition to procuring, specifying or stocking 100% net zero steel by 2050. Targeting net zero steel from the demand-side of the supply chain is interesting, with the potential for significant impact on investment, policy, manufacturing and production in the sector.

Jenny Chu, head of energy productivity initiatives at international non-profit the Climate Group, said: “The steel industry is one of the largest contributors to climate change. We need to see much greater investment and progress on cutting emissions, but steelmakers also need to know their customers will buy new, cleaner products. By harnessing the collective purchasing power and influence of major steel-using organisations, SteelZero will send a critical demand signal that can shift global markets and policies towards sustainable production and sourcing of steel.”

Alison Lucas, Executive Director, ResponsibleSteel, added: “Corporate and public sector demand for responsible, zero emissions steel has a critical role to play in reducing global emissions, encouraging decarbonisation technologies and driving lower emissions from recycled steel and the re-use of steel-based products. SteelZero will help us to get there.”

Steel is the world’s most widely used material, with the sector selling over US$ 2 trillion worth of products annually. But despite technologies existing for production to be decarbonised, steelmaking is currently one of the biggest emitters of CO2 globally. Total greenhouse gas emissions from the sector alone account for 7% – 9% of direct emissions from the global use of fossil fuels, and this is set to rise significantly with end-use demand for steel projected to grow by almost 40% by 2050.

“A recent report by CDP estimates that 14% of steel companies’ potential value is at risk if they are unable to decrease their environmental impact, and investors are already raising concerns that the steel industry needs to act now to safeguard its future. As a result, steel-using organisations will need to be prepared for inevitable changes across their supply chains if they are to remain economically competitive in the transition to a low carbon world,” added the Climate Group.

Alongside the commitment requirements, SteelZero also aims to encourage action and support organisations in their journey to net zero steel. Members will be invited to join working groups to assist them in developing a roadmap to fulfil their commitment to net zero steel.

See www.theclimategroup.org

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