ResponsibleSteel and global banks agree MoU for the rapid decarbonization of steel

As world leaders prepare to gather in Davos next week for the World Economic Forum, ResponsibleSteel is delighted to announce it has agreed an MoU with the Sustainable STEEL Principles Association (“SSPA”). This is a huge and positive step toward harmonization and greater collaboration between the two organisations and paves the way for the facilitation of the faster decarbonisation of steel.

Annie Heaton, CEO of ResponsibleSteel said, “With the clock ticking on climate change, we need pragmatic solutions to tackle climate change especially, in relation to heavy industry. These solutions need to be based on technological breakthroughs, innovation and creative problem solving. They also need to be global. None of this will be possible without a radical step change in how we finance these breakthroughs so industries like steel can decarbonize rapidly and be a force for good. The MoU between the SSPA and ResponsibleSteel signifies a continued determination by banks, the steel industry and wider stakeholders to achieve real progress towards net zero by 2050, and all the complexities which that entails.”

Steel decarbonization has come under the spotlight recently at global leaders’ meetings, for example COP26 and COP 27, which is right given the significant contribution of the industry to global greenhouse gas emissions. Amidst the proliferation of initiatives now focusing on steel decarbonization, this MoU signals a clear recognition that more work must be done to avoid a divergence of standards and work towards alignment, where possible.

Both the SSPA and ResponsibleSteel have pragmatic and expert pathways towards rapid sustainability. The SSP provide a framework for banks to assess the decarbonization of the steel companies within their portfolios, as well as the climate alignment of their steel lending portfolio. ResponsibleSteel provides an international standard for steel sites to be certified against.

Erik van Doezum, Global Steel Lead at ING and Chair of the SSP said, “The decarbonization of the steel sector globally requires significant investments to be made, and financing will be needed to facilitate these. Banks therefore will have to identify high quality decarbonization business plans, allowing them to guide their assets into investments compatible with a 1.5C future. Building consistent and transparent data via reporting requirements for the steel sector will be paramount to facilitating financing for the decarbonization of the sector. This will enable all parties – steelmakers, lenders and other stakeholders – to use and understand common measures of progress. That is why we believe that this MoU between Responsible Steel and the SSPA is important – it signifies the importance of collaboration towards those ends.”

Much analysis and scrutiny has gone into understanding the dynamics of the steel sector in the development of both the new ResponsibleSteel GHG requirements and those of the Sustainable STEEL Principles. The SSPA and ResponsibleSteel have now signaled a continuing desire to cooperate in the interest of complementarity between standards.

In addition to this MoU announced today, ResponsibleSteel is setting up a Finance Working Group (FWG) with key voices from the steel industry, global finance, investment and civil society. Its goal will be to facilitate dialogue including benchmarking carbon requirements within the ResponsibleSteel Standard and certification programme in order to facilitate capital flows to meet decarbonization requirements. The initial round of discussion will start this month and the FWG hopes to report on its recommendations by December 2023.

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