An international standard to compare the actual carbon emissions associated with steel products has been released by the Global Steel Climate Council (GSCC).
GSCC’s Steel Climate Standard focuses on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the steel industry in line with the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement to achieve a 1.5° C scenario. It offers a single, technology-agnostic protocol that would apply to all steel producers equally on a global basis.
The non-profit GSCC is one of several groups and companies advocating for such an international standard for steel. Some proposals, such as that from ResponsibleSteel, feature a sliding scale, meaning one standard for steel made from traditional production processes and another for steel made from circular processes. The Steel Climate Standard establishes a single set of process-agnostic product standards and requires steel manufacturers to establish science-based emission targets.
‘Creating a dual standard would allow high-carbon emissions steel to be prioritised over lower-carbon steel,’ says Greg Murphy, exec vp of Nucor and chair of the GSCC. ‘This would serve to discourage innovation and allows high-carbon steelmakers to postpone making changes in their production process.’
In April, Phil Bell, president of Steel Dynamics was blunter in an interview with Fastmarkets: ‘The sliding scale is greenwashing because it allows for a higher threshold on steel products, depending on the production route. In other words, an integrated or blast furnace steel producer can produce the exact same steel product as an EAF producer but that still would have nine times higher carbon content.’
Robin Wiener, president of ISRI, says the use of recycled products is key to decarbonising steel production and manufacturing supply chains around the globe.
‘The recycled materials industry provides high-quality, low-carbon steel to the global supply chain. The Steel Climate Standard is the right approach to levelling the playing field among steel producers, while also recognising the key role that recycled steel plays to meet decarbonisation goals in the decades ahead.’
GSCC was established in November 2022 and its membership includes steel manufacturers, associations and other organisations in the steel supply chain. Founding members include the Steel Manufacturers Association, Nucor, Steel Dynamics and ISRI.