No steel mill earnings report is complete these days without the CEO touting his company’s environmental credentials.
Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves said this week that his company is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2030. “We at Cleveland-Cliffs acknowledge that one of the most important issues impacting our planet is climate change. The American steel industry is one of the cleanest and most energy efficient in the world, and therefore the utilization of steel Made in the USA is a decisively positive move to protect the planet against massive pollution embedded in the steel produced in other countries.”
Nucor CEO Leon Topalian noted during his latest conference call that the minimill leader is well positioned to provide environmentally friendly steel with products made from recycled steel that are in turn 100 percent recyclable. The North American steel industry has achieved a 35 percent reduction in energy intensity and a 37 percent reduction in GHG emissions per ton of steel produced over the past 30 years, according to Nucor’s 2020 Sustainability Report
U.S. Steel President and CEO David Burritt commented during his recent call that the Biden administration’s plan to reenter the Paris Climate Agreement is aligned with U.S. Steel’s greenhouse gas reduction goal and its commitment to sustainability. With the recently acquired Big River Steel mill in Arkansas currently the only LEED certified steel mill in the world, customers can count on U.S. Steel meeting their growing demand for green sustainable steels, helping them meet their own sustainability targets, he said.
Mills all over the world are declaring their green bona fides. Sweden’s SSAB, to cite one example, has set an ambitious goal to be fossil free by 2045. Its HYBRIT plant was inaugurated in 2020 offering an industrial scale demonstration for using hydrogen in place of coke and coal in the steelmaking process to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, said CEO Martin Lindqvist during his Q4 2020 earnings call.
The Trump administration gave priority to preserving jobs in the American coal and oil sectors over calls to reduce harmful air emissions from fossil fuels. President Biden, to the contrary, was elected in part for his pledge to prioritize the environment. Biden has promised to establish an “enforcement mechanism” to curb harmful greenhouse gas emissions, though it’s unclear what form that will take. Whether his climate agenda includes some type of carbon tax or carbon trading, similar to systems in other parts of the world, remains to be seen, but no doubt the steel industry will be in the middle of that debate. And it appears steelmakers in the U.S. are getting in position to make their case and defend their record.
Whether it’s the new leadership in Washington, more customers demanding green steel or just more people finally waking up to the sense of urgency needed to save the planet, it appears climate change is no longer on steel’s back burner, and the heat is on.
Not Too Late to Register
We have more than 400 attendees registered for the 32nd Tampa Steel Conference, which will be held this Tuesday, Feb. 2. We have a strong lineup of speakers who will discuss trade issues, the economy, steel prices and steel price forecasts, logistics and the state of the steel industry. You can learn more and register by going to www.tampasteelconference.com
We’d like to offer a special thanks to all the sponsors who are supporting us at the Tampa Steel Conference this week:
Title Sponsor — Ports America
Lead Sponsor — Reibus
Presenting Sponsor — Crowe
Stainless Steel Sponsors — Atlantic Logistics, Bank of America, JIT Warehousing & Logistics, Mid-Ship Logisitics, Nucor and Rukert Terminals
Alloy Sponsors — 3VC Consulting, AJ Arango and Southwestern Suppliers, Inc.
Carbon Sponsors — Infra-Metals, Magic Coil Products, Tampa Tank/Florida Structural Steel
As always, your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.
Tim Triplett, Executive Editor
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