Steel manufacturers around the world are increasing and upgrading their commitment to sustainability, the industry’s global body says.
In its 2012 Sustainability Indicators report, World Steel Association (worldsteel) says participation in its programs and initiatives regarding sustainability has increased amongst its members throughout the world.
worldsteel says that with regard to its own initiatives, on a worldwide basis, in 2012:
- 100 steel manufactures produced ‘Sustainability Indicators’, a set of indicators established in 2003 which measure the progress of sustainability performance of the industry, representing 676 million tonnes of steel and 45% of world production.
- 66 companies had signed up to the Sustainability Development Charter (up from 50 in 2008), confirming their support for the commitments toward sustainable development
- 44 steel producers submitted emission data under the CO2 Data Collection and Climate Action Programme (up from 38 at the program’s inception in 2007)
- 38 submissions were made to recognise excellent safety and health initiatives under the Safety and Health Excellence Recognition program, up from 12 in the program’s first year in 2009.
worldsteel also says than in 2010, a study to evaluate the environmental performance of steel products and the steel industry – the third of its kind – received data from 49 steel producing sites in 17 countries, covering around one quarter of total production around the world.
Steel manufacturers around the world are keen to extoll the virtues of steel in terms of its strength to weight ratios and its recyclability and reusability, which industry participants say reduces energy consumption and carbon emissions during the life-cycle of buildings.
The industry is also keen to stress its efforts in reducing carbon emissions and emissions of other harmful chemicals during the manufacturing process.
Of course, producing more reports and making more commitments does not, in itself, necessarily mean that the actual environmental performance of steel manufacturing is improving.
Indeed, a quick glance at an indicator table shown on worldsteel’s website shows that indicators relating to the industry’s performance in greenhouse gas emissions, energy intensity and material efficiency have barely moved in recent years, though those pertaining to social and economic sustainability have shown consistent improvement.
But it is a good start, especially as what gets reported on gets measured and ultimately, managed.
And the data summary on worldsteel’s website does allow the public to gain a quick snapshot of the industry’s performance in this area, meaning that more industry participation in providing data can only improve public accountability.