Environment and Energy

Global Steel Climate Council Launches New Green Steel Standard

Written by Laura Miller

A new international initiative aimed at setting a global standard for green steel has been launched and is being led by major players in the US steel industry.

The founding members of the new Global Steel Climate Council (GSCC) include Nucor Corp., Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI), Commercial Metals Co. (CMC), Spain’s Celsa Group, the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA), and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). More than 20 members from the US and EU have already joined the cohort.

Global Steel Climate Council LogoThe GSCC aims to set a standard for the global steel industry focused on reducing GHG emissions. It differs from other initiatives in that its standard is based on the carbon footprint of a steel product (flat or long) regardless of the type of steelmaking technology — BOF/BF vs EAF — that is used to make it.

The coalition hopes the global emission standard will incentivize steelmakers to use the cleanest production processes available. That’s because it focuses on the actual amount of emissions generated and does not utilize a sliding scale, as other attempts at a global standard do.

GSCC says a sliding scale standard would allow for GHG emissions up to nine times more for extractive versus recycled products, effectively penalizing EAF producers and allowing steel produced with higher emissions “to be erroneously labeled as ‘green.’”

GSCC’s proposed boundary definition for a steel mill’s GHG emission footprint differs from a standard proposal from the International Energy Agency in that it ends at hot rolling instead of casting and also includes metallurgical refining, therefore including Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. The GSCC’s boundary definition has been verified by the third-party CRU Group.

“The GSCC single standard will encourage all producers to reduce their carbon emissions and create a level playing field for all manufacturers. The US-EU negotiations should not create a double standard and a slippery slope toward a dirtier environment. We can do better,” SMA president Philip Bell said.

“We must prevent steel producers from classifying their products as green when the same products are available on the market with significantly lower carbon emissions,” stated Francisco Cardona, head of public affairs for the Celsa Group.

SDI chairman, president, and CEO Mark Millett said GSCC’s new standard “will accelerate the actual reduction of GHG emissions.”

As the technology to reduce carbon emissions in steelmaking by 70% is already available, “The global industry needs to build on the innovation that has already led to cleaner steel production in the US because the green and digital economies around the world are going to be built with steel, and the steel they are built with matters,” noted Leon Topalian, chair, president, and CEO of Nucor.

Demand for green steel is already picking up — as evidenced by recent announcements from automakers Volvo, BMW, and General Motors, as well as from HVAC provider Trane Technologies — making the need for a true and fair global standard even more important.

More information on the initiative can be found at https://globalsteelclimatecouncil.org.

By Laura Miller, Laura@SteelMarketUpdate.com

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