Press Release: ResponsibleSteel announces world’s first certified steelmaking sites

Press Release: ResponsibleSteel announces world’s first certified steelmaking sites

ResponsibleSteel has awarded the world’s first certification to four steelmaking sites in Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg owned by ArcelorMittal. The sites are the first steel plants to be audited and pass the rigorous standards laid out in ResponsibleSteel’s certification program.

ResponsibleSteel’s Standard was developed over three years through wide ranging public consultation with industry and civil society. The Standard – the first of its kind in the global steel industry – achieved multistakeholder consensus and was approved by a majority of business and civil society members including IUCN, Fauna and Flora International, IndustriALL, CDP, The Climate Group, ArcelorMittal, BlueScope, voestalpine, Aperam, AngloAmerican, BMW and Daimler.

Anne-Claire Howard, ResponsibleSteel CEO said: “I am delighted that the first steel sites assessed against the very exacting set of criteria required in the ResponsibleSteel Standard have been approved. The ResponsibleSteel Standard was created by the steel sector’s only truly global multi stakeholder initiative. The current Standard gives business and consumers confidence that the site at which the steel is being produced is operated responsibly. The next phase in our journey, Certified Steel, will further reassure business and consumers that the steel they use has been not only produced responsibly but also sourced responsibly at every stage of its journey.”

She said: “I would like to congratulate the teams at ArcelorMittal who have supported the development and now the implementation of the ResponsibleSteel Standard at these first sites in Europe. This is a ground-breaking moment for both ResponsibleSteel and the steel sector. I’m excited to work with the growing number of ResponsibleSteel members and am convinced that the pipeline of steel sites working to achieve certification will continue to grow over the coming months. This will send a clear and strong message to markets, investors, financiers and governments that the steel industry’s intent to not only decarbonize steel production, but also to ensure responsible ESG practices in steel making has well and truly begun.”

The ResponsibleSteel Standard contains 12 principles with a wide range of criteria covering issues such as: health and safety, greenhouse gas emissions, water stewardship and biodiversity, human rights and labour rights and community relations. It is the world’s first and only global definition of what constitutes leading practices in environmental, social and governance (ESG) responsibility for steel production.

Geert Van Poelvoorde, CEO ArcelorMittal Europe said: “Responsible production techniques and high ethical and business standards have become increasingly important to our customers and consumers. ResponsibleSteel certification gives our customers the reassurance that we meet expectations on setting carbon reduction targets, as well as meeting expectations on environmental and social standards at every stage of production. The certification process has involved many teams across ArcelorMittal, and I would like to congratulate them for their hard work in being the first sites to achieve ResponsibleSteel certification – this is a major achievement.”

Explaining what the business has learned from the ResponsibleSteel certification process, Mr Van Poelvoorde said:

“In particular, the ResponsibleSteel process has helped us to improve our social management approach towards our rights holders, including our local communities, our employees, and the contractors working on our sites. While social sustainability has always been an important topic for us, ResponsibleSteel has taught us to take a more management systems-based approach to areas such as human rights, diversity and labour rights. As a result, our aim is to now manage social topics with the same systematic rigour with which quality, environment and safety topics are handled.”
He added: “Given the considerable investments we have already made to achieve a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2050, as well as our broader environmental investments across our sites, I’m confident that we will achieve our goal of securing certification in each of our Flat Products sites early in 2022.”

The Chair of ResponsibleSteel and Executive Vice-President of BlueScope Steel, Gerry Tidd, congratulated ArcelorMittal and said: “ArcelorMittal proved its dedication to the task of improving its sustainability. It invested resources early to achieve this, and today’s certifications are its reward. All the members of ResponsibleSteel salute their achievement.

“Importantly, the ResponsibleSteel Standard is now real, in the marketplace, and stands as a credible marker for consumers to judge a steel company’s ESG credentials. The Standard is the result of hard debates and collaboration between the steel industry, its upstream suppliers, its downstream customers and with civil society who all worked together to solve a complex problem and develop a new Standard. ResponsibleSteel is still a young organisation but it has attracted a wide group of pioneers from across the union movement, environmental groups, the finance sector, consumers and of course the global steel industry. Today’s award is also their award.”

Deputy Chair of ResponsibleSteel and Global Director, Forests and Land at CDP, Tom Maddox, said, “Arcelor Mittal is the second largest steelmaker in the world and it has led the way, showing the steel sector it can produce steel in a more responsible way. Looking forward, the task now is to develop the Standard to go beyond Site Certification, to Steel Products Certification and the responsible sourcing of input materials and greenhouse gas emissions. Achieving this will ensure ResponsibleSteel, together with our Business and Civil Society members, continue towards our vision: to maximise steel’s contribution to a sustainable society.”

About ResponsibleSteel

ResponsibleSteel is an international, non-profit multi-stakeholder membership organisation. Businesses from every part of the steel supply chain, civil society groups, associations, and other organisations with an interest in a sustainable steel industry from anywhere in the world are welcome to join. To view the ResponsibleSteel membership list visit: https://www.responsiblesteel.org/about/members-and-associates/

ResponsibleSteel’s vision is that steel’s contribution to a sustainable society is maximised. Its mission is to enhance the responsible sourcing, production, use and recycling of steel by:

  • Providing a multi-stakeholder forum to built trust and achieve consensus;
  • Developing standards, certification and related tools;
  • Driving positive change through the recognition and use of responsible steel.

The ResponsibleSteel Standard is designed to support the responsible production of steel, as a tool for the achievement of ResponsibleSteel’s vision.

Find current issued certificates and their public audit summaries here.

For more information about ResponsibleSteel please visit: https://www.responsiblesteel.org/

For media enquiries contact::

Anne-Claire Howard, CEO                                                 +44 (0) 7787 411 461
Ali Lucas, Communications Director                               +44 (0) 7786 546 724

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