Steel and environmental sustainability

When it comes to environmental sustainability in the steel industry, it means taking responsible decisions and finding new ways to help alleviate negative impacts and increase positive impacts on the environment. Proficient use of resources and recycling and re-using them are essential for sustainable development.


For the steel industry, the impact of steel during the full life cycle of the products, the use of by-products, energy and water management and recycling are key areas to focus on. Environmental sustainability in the steel industry can also be correlated to the development of new products and technologies that will, in the long-term, provide a clear, lasting and positive impact on the environment, the society and overall business as well.


The following are the main environmental global issues that are present in the steel industry today:

  • Climate change
  • Resource efficiency
  • Local environmental issues
  • Systems for environmental management


Steps taken to address the environmental challenges in the steel industry


Companies who are members of World Steel have been enthusiastically working in several programs and initiatives conducted by World Steel. These actions include:


– In 2008, Climate Action was initiated and under this Action, companies report data on site or company-level CO2 emissions. A participating company or site receives a report indicating the process route average emission data and range to which they can compare themselves according to the report.


– In 2009, the 4.1 version of the Advance High-Strength Steels Application Guidelines were published by World Auto Steel. These guidelines called for less steel to be used in cars thereby reducing fuel consumption as well as a reduction in total life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions by almost 70%.


– In 2013, World Steel worked out a common method to measure Carbon dioxide  emissions in steel plants, which was published in 2013 as an International Standard.


– World Steel also gives life cycle inventory data for important steel products and supports those companies who use the data with their analysis.