Climate Leaders to Drive Decarbonisation in South Korean Steel

On Thursday March 23rd, the Climate Group (SteelZero), ResponsibleSteel and Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC) held a special multi-stakeholder industry seminar to discuss decarbonisation of the steel industry and pragmatic solutions to tackle climate change. The event, “Decarbonising South Korean Steel – Aligning Customer Demand and Production Pathways” is the first of its kind to be held in South Korea.

Industry experts and practitioners across the steel value chain gathered to share their expertise on steel decarbonisation pathways and corporate climate leadership. The event brought together corporates with investors and civil society to discuss the most effective and pragmatic routes to rapid decarbonisation, technical breakthroughs and the role companies across the steel value chain can play to support the growing sustainable steel market in South Korea.

South Korea’s steel industry is a major domestic industrial and economic sector, and a dominant player on the world stage. In 2021, South Korea ranked as the world’s 6th largest steel-producing country, with 71.4 million tons of crude steel accounting for a 3.8% share of global production. Additionally, the South Korean steel industry is an important material supplier for major related industries such as automotive, construction and shipbuilding, with a huge inter-industrial linkage.

Attendees included some of the leading players in the steel industry – both steel producers and downstream customers such as POSCO, Hyundai Steel, SeAH Steel, SeAH Besteel, Donguk Steel, Hyundai Motor Group, Schneider Electric, WSP, A.P. Moller Maersk, Ørsted and others.

Annie Heaton, CEO at ResponsibleSteel said, “In 2022, POSCO together with ResponsibleSteel announced the certification of Pohang and Gwangyang Steelworks against the ResponsibleSteel Standard – one of the biggest steel sites in the world to achieve this accolade. This event will build on this momentum, create new partnerships and accelerate steel decarbonisation in South Korea and across the global steel value chain.”

Jen Carson, Head of Industry, Climate Group said, “All players right across the steel industry have a key role to play in accelerating decarbonisation. That’s why it’s incredibly important that steelmakers, steel consumers, policy makers, investors and civil society come together and take action on net zero steel. This conference is a pivotal moment in building a shared understanding of the current progress on lower emissions steel production in South Korea. And crucially, the opportunities for net zero steel production and procurement.”

Anna Song, Lead – Steel, Industry, SFOC said, “The steel industry around the world plays a vital role in curbing industry emissions to be on track with the 1.5 degree Paris Agreement, and Korean steel is no exception. The steel buyers on the demand side will play an especially significant role this decade because they create the business need for a rapid transition towards decarbonisation of the Korean steel industry.”

The event signalled an important exchange of ideas between key global and Korean industry players across the steel value chain. Momentum on steel decarbonisation is expected to continue building in the coming months, with the annual SteelZero Summit set to take place in Singapore on June 8, as part of the broader Climate Group Asia Action Summit. The Summit will focus on bringing together decision makers and business leaders from the steel and energy sectors to accelerate Asia’s role as an economic, green powerhouse – with a clear path to net zero. It’s part of the roadmap to Climate Group’s flagship event Climate Week NYC.

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