Steel interests hone pitch on industry’s carbon footprint

Sources: World Steel Association (Worldsteel), Brussels; American Iron & Steel Institute, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

Based on five years of data collection methodology applied to 200 mills worldwide, a new ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standard eases calculation of carbon dioxide emission intensity from iron and steel production.

Worldsteel launched a CO2 data collection program in 2007, aiming to provide steel producers a reliable benchmark for emissions of the greenhouse gas. The number of participating organizations climbed from an initial 38 companies to 51 in 2011. Thirty-three participants have reported CO2 emissions data using the methodology for five consecutive years as part of Worldsteel’s Climate Action program.

Publication of the standard confirms the data collection validity and relevance, notes Worldsteel Director General Edwin Basson, adding, “This globally developed and supported standard will drive the continued uptake of this methodology by the industry. Steel is essential to the modern world and [its] use is critical in enabling man to move towards a sustainable future. As steel plants actively monitor CO2 emissions, focus is sharpened onto those activities that ensure the role of steel in a sustainable modern society.”

The American Iron & Steel Institute, a Worldsteel member, reports in its recently released Profile 2013 that the domestic industry a) has clipped carbon dioxide emissions per ton of steel shipped by one-third since 1990; b) was the only significant industrial sector to reduce total energy consumption from 1990–2008 while increasing production; c) attained the steepest decline of total air emissions among nine manufacturing sectors in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Sector Performance Report; and, d) saw its overall recycling rate reach 92 percent in 2011 when, Steel Recycling Institute figures show, producers fed furnaces 85 million-plus tons of scrap.