The launch of the first ResponsibleSteel Standard was a major milestone on ResponsibleSteel’s journey. It marked the point at which steelmaking sites, as well as upstream and downstream processors, could start to prepare for certification. With the approval of the ResponsibleSteel Assurance Manual, and Implementation Instructions, the ResponsibleSteel programme will become operational.
But the ResponsibleSteel system is not complete. The first version of the Standard provides the basis for sites to claim that they are ResponsibleSteel certified. It does not provide them or their customers with the basis to make any claims relating to the social or environmental conformity of their steel products with ResponsibleSteel standards. ResponsibleSteel is convening three working groups to reach this next, critical stage in 2020.
One working group will focus on defining the requirements for the responsible sourcing of raw materials. What are ResponsibleSteel’s criteria for recognising mine-level assurance programmes? What procedures does a site have to have in place, and what level of performance does it have to meet, to ensure that its supplies of raw materials are responsibly sourced?
A second working group will define requirements related to the measurement and reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity. Version 1.0 of the ResponsibleSteel Standard is essentially forward-looking, focussing on company- and site-level commitments and planning to reduce GHG emissions in line with the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement. But the ResponsibleSteel system needs to recognise and reward performance, as well as commitment. To do this requires that all ResponsibleSteel certified sites measure and report their GHG emissions intensity consistently, so that there is a level playing field for claims about their performance irrespective of the location of a site, or of the technology it uses. This will be a major focus of the ResponsibleSteel GHG Working Group.
The third working group will focus on the kinds of claims that certified sites should be able to make about the steel products they produce, ensuring that the needs of downstream users, including those from the automotive, infrastructure and construction sectors are met, and that demand for responsibly sourced, low-carbon steel rewards performance and supports the achievement of ResponsibleSteel’s mission: to maximise the steel sector’s contribution to a sustainable society.
The three working groups will be led and coordinated by the ResponsibleSteel Secretariat and overseen by the ResponsibleSteel Board Standards and Assurance Committee. Each working group will include both civil society and business representation, with around 12 people on each, selected to cover key stakeholder perspectives and interests. Agendas, papers and minutes will be circulated to a broader reference group, to expand the range and number of stakeholders who are able to contribute to the discussions. Draft proposals will be published for formal stakeholder review in line with the ResponsibleSteel Standard Development Procedures, before a formal membership vote is sought on any requirements for a new ResponsibleSteel Standard.
The working groups are expected to meet separately between February and May 2020, and then to meet together in a joint session in association with a ResponsibleSteel Members Meeting in June. More details will be published soon.
If you are interested in taking part in one or more working groups, and/or would like to be included on the broader reference group, please contact George Deslandes at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible, and by 15th January 2020 at the latest.
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