ResponsibleSteel™ launches the world’s first sustainability standard for the steel industry

ResponsibleSteel™ launches the world’s first sustainability standard for the steel industry

The ResponsibleSteel Standard, the world’s first international, multi-stakeholder standard for responsible production for steel making and processing sites, was officially launched today at ResponsibleSteel’s Forum II in Wollongong, Australia.

The steel industry currently faces challenges such as high greenhouse gas emissions, implementing sustainable mining practices, employee safety and labour rights. The ResponsibleSteel Standard helps the steel industry address these challenges by defining the fundamental elements, and levels of implementation, that characterise the responsible sourcing and production of steel. It supports ResponsibleSteel’s vision: to maximise steel’s contribution to a sustainable society.

Matthew Wenban-Smith, Executive Director of ResponsibleSteel said: “This is a huge milestone for both ResponsibleSteel and for its members and supporters. The ResponsibleSteel Standard has been developed through a rigorous process of public consultation, membership approval and board ratification, and we are pleased it is now available to support the responsible sourcing and production of steel.”

The Standard consists of twelve principles: Corporate Leadership; Social Environmental and Governance Management Systems; Occupational Health and Safety; Labour Rights; Human Rights; Stakeholder Engagement and Communication; Local Communities; Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Noise, Emissions, Effluent and Waste; Water Stewardship; Biodiversity; and Decommissioning and Closure.

As a multi-stakeholder organisation, ResponsibleSteel sought to engage the voices of its members and a broad range of interested parties in the standard development process. The Standard was approved by a ballot of the ResponsibleSteel membership and formally ratified by the ResponsibleSteel Board of Directors in November 2019.

At Forum II, ResponsibleSteel also welcomed new Members Anglo American, Carport, Clean Air Task Force, Harsco and Lendlease, and new Associate Members ACRS (Australasian Certification Authority for Reinforcing and Structural Steels certification), GUTcert GmbH, HERA (Heavy Engineering Research Association), RTQMS (Real Time Quality Management Services), Sustainable Steel Council, and United Certification Systems.

Cate Harris, Group Head of Sustainability and Lendlease Foundation, Lendlease, said: “Membership of ResponsibleSteel gives us the opportunity to work alongside our supply chain to address pressing global challenges that matter to us, such as climate change and human rights. As a large customer in the steel sector, we see supporting the development of the ResponsibleSteel Standard as both our responsibility and a powerful way for us to be part of the evolution of the steel industry. We believe achieving the level of transformation needed will require an aligned, collaborative effort of all parties in the value chain. We hope to see our peers, clients and competitors join us as members, so that together we can accelerate the development of truly responsible steel.”

Daniel Klier, Group General Manager, Global Head of Sustainable Finance, HSBC Holdings plc, said: “HSBC welcomes the new ResponsibleSteel Standard as the first multi-stakeholder framework for responsible low-carbon steel making. Steel is a vital material for growth in new energy systems, transportation and the cities of the future – but the steel industry collectively is also responsible for 7% of global emissions. We look forward to the first certified steel making sites, and the opportunities this will provide to the end users of steel. The framework will also enable the finance sector to provide the investment needed to accelerate the transition to low-carbon steel.”
Herbert Eibensteiner, CEO, voestalpine AG, said: “We are happy to have had the opportunity to both participate in the development of the ResponsibleSteel Standard and contribute our views as a Member. We are pleased that a large majority of ResponsibleSteel’s members have accepted the new Standard, thus making it possible to publish it, and we hope that a growing number of stakeholders will soon decide to join the organization.”

ResponsibleSteel has developed tools to help organisations implement the Standard, including Implementation Instructions and an Assurance Manual. The first auditor training workshop was held in London on 18th-20th November. It is expected that the first certified steel sites audited with ResponsibleSteel Standard will be announced in the first half of 2020.

ResponsibleSteel Standard version 1.0 is available here.

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