The Near-Zero Steel 2030 Challenge Launches At New York Climate Week

Last week at New York Climate Week, the World Economic Forum’s First Movers Coalition (FMC) together with RMI launched the Near-Zero Steel 2030 Challenge in collaboration with ResponsibleSteel, Greenhouse, Deloitte and BCG. The Challenge will run until December 2023 and will map existing plans, accelerate emerging solutions, and connect potential suppliers of near-zero-emissions steel to companies ready to purchase it.

What is the Near-Zero Steel 2030 Challenge?

Steelmakers need to see demand for near-zero steel to create a business case for new technology. To accelerate the production of near-zero steel, the Challenge will focus on three key areas: driving near-zero emissions steel solutions; enabling emerging technology solutions such as CCUS, green hydrogen, and direct electrolysis; and sending demand signals for near-zero steel, particularly from automotive, construction, infrastructure, and consumer goods sectors.

The FMC was established at COP26 to decarbonise seven hard-to-abate sectors currently accounting for around 30% of global emissions by using the purchasing power of its members to send a clear demand signal and by driving the uptake of new technologies on a commercial scale. FMC steel members, who include Orsted, Ford and Trane  Technologies, commit to buying at least 10% near-zero steel by 2030. Alongside the Challenge, the FMC is developing a Supplier Database to map potential near-zero steel projects. In tandem, RMI has established a Sustainable Steel Buyers Platform for the procurement of near-zero steel in North America. In New York in September, RMI launched a Request For Information (RFI) which will be followed by a buyers-led Request For Proposal (RFP). The RFP will incorporate willing Near-Zero Steel Supply Challenge participants in North America in a process that will result in a collective request for up to 2 million tons of near-zero emissions steel with the goal being bilateral offtake agreements.

What is ResponsibleSteel’s role in the Challenge?

ResponsibleSteel is part of a wider ecosystem working to decarbonise the steel industry. Working collaboratively to drive alignment on carbon accounting and claims is a vital component to facilitate the credibility of near-zero steel projects. We need rules to define and measure near-zero steel to ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction as quickly and efficiently as possible. Our work with the FMC demonstrates that there is already an international definition of near-zero steel that is backed by a practical methodology. Certification against the ResponsibleSteel International Standard facilitates the financing, purchasing, labelling and trade of credibly labelled near-zero steel.

ResponsibleSteel provides the standard for how to measure near-zero steel. The Challenge will leverage our International Standard’s Decarbonisation Progress Level 4 by asking steelmaking sites to assess their projected emissions against this near-zero steel benchmark using the Standard’s Criteria 10.4 and 10.6: Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. A toolkit will be available for steelmaking sites to undergo third-party pre-production assessment in 2024.

How can my company get involved in the Challenge?

Multistakeholder collaboration is a key aspect of the Near-Zero Steel 2030 Challenge and success will require input from across the steel value chain, government, civil society, technology suppliers, and funding bodies. Companies interested in participating in the Challenge can submit Expressions of Interest this year and from 2024, the Challenge will work to connect suppliers with emerging decarbonisation technologies and buyers with future suppliers of near-zero steel.

Learn more about the Near-Zero Steel 2030 Challenge here.

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