Net Zero Steel
A global initiative
SteelZero is an initiative run by the Climate Group and ResponsibleSteel. This article uses some content from the SteelZero website coupled with my own thoughts.
I heard about SteelZero through my current development project. My employer, Grosvenor, is a founding partner of the initiative. As a member, we are making a public commitment to procure 100% net zero steel by 2050.
Collective purchasing power and influence, sends a strong demand signal to shift global markets and policies towards responsible production and sourcing of steel. It is important this demand is heard now, as the production facilities often operate continuously and only undergo refurbishment/reinvestment every 20 or so years. If the message doesn’t get through soon, high-carbon investments could be locked-in for another decade or more.
As one of the world’s most widely used materials steelmaking is currently a major emitter of CO2 globally. Most steel is still made using coal to reduce iron ore, a process that emits roughly two metric tons of CO2 per ton of steel! Yet there are production technologies already available to help and we (the buyers) must show that this is where production focus and investment should be going.
It is hard to see a world in the next 25-50 years where steel is not still used very widely. From my own experience of the construction industry I know there are many situations where alternative structural materials just cannot meet the demands like steel can. And then there are so many other industries too, which despite improvements in designs and processes, will inevitably still require steel products. It is interesting to consider that steel is actually a very circular material - it is just the manufacturing processes that are so carbon intensive.
I really do believe in this. Through the SteelZero forum, I am learning about the innovative processes suppliers are developing, and the roadmaps they have for the capital intensive changes that are needed to their facilities to adapt, retrofit or rebuild furnaces ready for the inevitable demand of net zero steel.
Make sure if you are involved in a project which is going to use steel products, you push for low carbon steel from the outset and ensure early engagement with the supply chain.
To become a member of SteelZero, organisations must make a public commitment to procuring, specifying or stocking 100% net zero steel by 2050 and an interim commitment to procuring, specifying or stocking 50% of its steel requirement by 2030.