New steel coalition promotes a transparent and climate-focused standard for measuring and reducing carbon emissions

18 November 2022

An international group of leading steelmakers today announced they have formed a coalition to urge the United States and the European Union to adopt a global emissions standard that encourages steelmakers to adopt the cleanest steelmaking practices that are available.  

The new coalition - the Global Steel Climate Council (GSCC) - supports a global standard that accelerates the transition to low-carbon steel production and recognizes the potential of a model of recycled steel produced in a circular economy to reduce carbon emissions.

The United States and the European Union are currently negotiating a new emissions standard for steel production. GSCC states that an agreement should focus on the amount of emissions produced, not how steel is made. Most of the world's steel production is extremely carbon intensive, relying primarily on mined and processed coal, iron ore and limestone. However , other steelmakers -- including those that now produce more than 70% of steel made in the US and more than 40% of steel made in Europe -- use electric arc furnaces (EAF), which primarily use recycled scrap to make steel and produce significantly lower carbon emissions.

"We have the technology to reduce carbon emissions in steel production today by 70 percent," said Leon Topalian , chairman, president and CEO of Nucor Corporation, a founding member of the council has led to cleaner steel production in the United States, as the green and digital economies around the world are built with steel - and it matters what steel they're built with."

A "sliding scale" standard endorsed by high-emitting steelmakers would raise greenhouse gas emission limits for mineral products by nine times over recycled products, penalizing EAF makers and allowing higher-emitting steel to be produced wrongly labeled as "environmentally friendly". On a sliding scale, two steel products could be classified as equally environmentally friendly, despite the fact that the production of one produced several times the carbon emissions of the other.

“Steel is essential to our economies, including essential infrastructure around the world. This new standard will accelerate actual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and provide key decision makers with accurate data to make informed decisions," said Mark D. Millett , Chairman, President and CEO of Steel Dynamics, Chairman of the Steel Manufacturers Association and founding member of the Council .

"We must prevent steel producers from labeling their products as environmentally friendly when the same products are available on the market with significantly lower carbon emissions," said Francisco Cardona , Head of Public Affairs at CELSA Group, a leading European producer of low-emission, circular economy steel Stahl and founding member of the Council.

The main focus of the GSCC is to establish a standard centered on the following guiding principles:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the global steel industry.
  • Setting a standard that is independent of the technology or production method.
  • Establish a standard with a system boundary that includes Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions.
  • Establish a standard based on a science-based sliding path to achieve a 1.5 degree scenario by 2050.
  • Providing relevant information about sustainable steel production to relevant decision makers.

“The single GSCC standard will encourage all manufacturers to reduce their carbon emissions and level the playing field for all manufacturers. The negotiations between the US and the EU should not lead to a double standard and a negative trend towards a dirtier environment. We can do better," said Philip K. Bell , President of the Steel Manufacturers Association and a charter member of the Council.

Information on the Global Steel Climate Council

The Global Steel Climate Council, Inc. (GSCC) is a not-for-profit association that drives climate strategy by sharing best practices, setting standards and advocating for the reduction of carbon emissions by members of the steel industry.

The GSCC comprises more than 20 members and supporters who are steelmakers, trade associations, end users, scrap suppliers and non-governmental organizations.

The specific objectives of the GSCC are to focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the global steel industry by supporting reduction methods that are technology agnostic, have a system boundary, include Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions and are aligned with a science-based sliding path to achieve a 1.5 degree Celsius scenario by 2050.   

The founding members of the GSCC are: The Steel Manufacturers Association, Nucor Corporation, CELSA Group, Steel Dynamics, Inc., Commercial Metals Company and the Institute of Waste Recycling Industries.

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