ArcelorMittal Vega in São Francisco do Sul, Santa Catarina, has recently been successfully audited and certified against the ResponsibleSteel International Standard, recognising not only the site’s efforts to implement responsible production processes, but also efforts to implement social and sustainability transformations and encourage diversity and inclusion.
The certification’s rigorous auditing process lasted around a year and took place during the largest expansion works completed in Vega’s history, requiring an investment of US$350 million. The audit was performed by the independent consulting firm DNV (Det Norske Veritas). Auditors observed the processes implemented onsite and interviewed a range of company leaders, employees, suppliers, third parties, and representatives from the government and entities and institutions from within the local community.
ArcelorMittal Vega is the group’s third Brazilian unit to receive ResponsibleSteel certification, ArcelorMittal Tubarão and ArcelorMittal Monlevade having obtained certification in 2022. ArcelorMittal aims to have all of the group’s production units in Brazil certified in the coming years.
For Jorge Oliveira, CEO of ArcelorMittal Aços Planos LATAM, this achievement demonstrates the company’s commitment to responsible and sustainable steel production and its respect for individuals. “ResponsibleSteel certification also reinforces our main purpose, which is to manufacture smart steels for people and the planet, and represents a milestone in Vega’s history, given that this year marks two decades of operations,” Oliveira affirmed.
ResponsibleSteel’s CEO, Annie Heaton commented, “This is the third certification of ArcelorMittal’s operations in Brazil and highlights the growing momentum in the sector to produce responsibly sourced net zero steel in South America. ArcelorMittal Vega has produced a clear roadmap to achieving their target of net zero emissions by 2050. And it’s critical that the responsible production of steel goes beyond decarbonization, ensuring effective management of resources and respect for workers and local communities. This certification demonstrates ArcelorMittal Vega’s commitment to meeting ResponsibleSteel’s broad set of ESG requirements. An example of this is their commitment to greater gender equality, with a goal of achieving up to 25% women in leadership positions by 2030. This is a significant adjustment in a traditionally male-dominated industry.”
The report by DNV highlighted the site’s Environmental Management System and the site’s commitment to preserving biodiversity in the region by promoting the identification and continuous monitoring of species of fauna and flora present in its Private Natural Heritage Reserve (RPPN), which occupies one third of the industrial site, in addition to the preparation of a Biodiversity Master Plan. Through means of its Water Master Plan, Vega also seeks to guarantee a reduced impact on public water sources by reusing an average of 98% of water collected onsite.
“Receiving this global certification in a year that marks 20 years of operation at the Vega unit as we move towards our largest expansion efforts to date demonstrates that we remain steadfast in our objective for sustainable steel production and commitment to community development, individual safety and respect for the environment,” Sandro Sambaqui, General Manager of ArcelorMittal Vega, stated. The expansion, which began in 2021, is expected to expand the site’s annual production capacity from 1.6 million to 2.2 million tonnes.
The audit report also recognised initiatives implemented to promote inclusion, diversity and social transformation. For example, the site has introduced incentive to increase representativeness among the female workforce in positions that were previously largely held by men. The Technical Sustainability Program, which, since 2018, has aimed to train, place value and offer qualifications to young people living in São Francisco do Sul within the region’s labor market, has contributed to achieving gender equity. Approximately 89% of the students participating in the program are employed at ArcelorMittal Vega or other companies in the region – a development opportunity that has also benefited female professionals. All of ArcelorMittal’s Brazil units have set targets to increase the number of women throughout all areas of the company, including operational, administrative and leadership positions, to 25% of the workforce by 2030.
Read the audit summary here.back to news