It is increasingly acknowledged that responsible business practices can make a significant contribution to business growth. The triple bottom line maxim (people, planet, profit) is relevant across the lifecycle of any product or service, as customers and consumers seek assurances that they have been sourced and produced responsibly. The steel industry is no exception and it is a large industry:
Supply chain scrutiny is increasing. Customers want to know the story behind the goods they buy, which means the people who make them want to know those stories too. Understanding the source of materials, and having assurance about sustainability, supports supply chain value, increasing resilience and reducing exposure to risk, including reputational. In a market where goods and services are subject to increased scrutiny this level of assurance can offer a business advantage.
A wide range of industry sectors have developed their own sustainability agenda, and are becoming subject to increased regulatory and reporting requirements from government and non-government bodies. A clear way to meet this growing demand is by having an agreed set of standards against which materials, companies or products are assessed. Sustainability standards are good for customers, good for business, and good for the people in supply chains and their environment. They are an effective way of supporting progress towards sustainable development goals, such as the availability of clean water, creating jobs and developing responsible patterns of production and consumption.
Certification schemes exist across a range of industries, with one of the best-known being the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Across the steel industry it has been acknowledged that there is a need for an independent body that offers assurance around the sustainability agenda. To meet this need, ResponsibleSteel™ is developing a certification scheme which will be the only global multi-stakeholder standard and certification programme for responsibly sourced and produced steel.
ResponsibleSteel™ will define and promote responsibly sourced and produced steel, in order to: –
Listen and understand
– Listen to wishes and expectations of all stakeholders
Establish and agree
– The best standard that works for all
Recognise and ratify
– Grant certification that standards have been met
Enhance and benefit
– Provide a clear commercial advantage
At the heart of ResponsibleSteel™ is effective collaboration; a genuine multi-stakeholder group involving companies at all levels of the steel supply chain, their customers and representatives of civil society. Core to this collaborative and cooperative approach to the development of industry standards, is the ethos that it will drive good responsible practice and sourcing.
Recognising companies that meet or exceed agreed standards will also encourage improvements across the sector and around the world, in whatever regulatory environment a business is operating. And in an industry as large as steel, small improvements can make a huge difference.
The ResponsibleSteel™ mission is to provide businesses and consumers worldwide with confidence that the steel they use has been sourced and produced responsibly at all levels of the steel supply chain, from suppliers of raw materials, through to end users. Responsible Steel™ is the forum for this discussion, to the mutual benefit of all participants. Certification helps businesses meet the needs of their customers, and reassures them that work is at a high enough standard.
ResponsibleSteel™ is a membership organisation, with membership open in several categories. It is actively seeking Founding Members for their support alongside current founding members ArcelorMittal and Blue Scope Steel. Expertise is needed – experts from automotive, construction, packaging, all related industries. Financial support is also necessary along with intellectual support. ResponsibleSteel™ needs the power of brands and civil society groups to act as a huge catalyst for change.
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