The Steel Climate Standard
The GSCC is publishing a technology-agnostic global standard that measures and reports steel carbon emissions, which would apply to all producers on a global basis. The standard aims to reduce GHG emissions across the global steel industry, is aligned with a science-based glide path to achieve a 1.5° C scenario by 2050 and requires third-party verification of emissions data and science-based targets.
Our Guiding Principles
The primary objective of the GSCC is to establish a Steel Climate Standard, focusing on the following guiding principles:
- Reducing GHG emissions from the global steel industry.
- Establishing a standard that is technology/production method agnostic.
- Establishing a standard with a system boundary that includes all relevant GHG pollutants from Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions.
- Establishing a standard that aligns with a science-based glidepath to achieve a 1.5°C scenario by the year 2050.
- Requiring third-party verification of emissions data and science-based emissions targets.
- Providing relevant information on sustainable steelmaking to appropriate decision makers.
Scientific. In developing the Steel Climate Standard, the GSCC has relied upon extensive research and information compiled from the latest climate science, steel-industry data, and market projections from creditable sources such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), International Energy Agency (IEA), and World Steel Association (WSA). Our objective is to ensure that the standard aligns with the latest climate science and Paris Agreement goals to achieve sector-wide targeted reductions by 2050.
Quantitative. The Steel Climate Standard specifies numeric steel product carbon emissions intensity standards, based on clearly defined boundaries that include all relevant carbon-intensive processes in the steelmaking value chain. These intensity standards reduce over time to achieve the decarbonization goal for the global steel industry by 2050.
Comprehensive. The Steel Climate Standard establishes a holistic decarbonization program that includes product-based standards as well as a framework for setting science-based emissions targets for steel producers, both of which rely on the reduction of carbon emissions intensity on a carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) basis, inclusive of all relevant GHGs. This product-focused approach allows for decarbonization to be practically achieved on a mill-by-mill basis, as technology evolves over the next few decades.
Principled. The Steel Climate standard is founded on a clear vision for the future of steel in a decarbonizing economy based on a process-agnostic approach. By eliminating the “sliding scale” concept for ferrous scrap, we hold all steel manufacturers to the same Steel Climate Standard. This approach recognizes the steel manufacturers that have already made significant investments in lower carbon technology and provides market drivers for near-term reductions from the highest emitting sources as well as long-term investment in emerging technology needed to meet the ultimate decarbonization goal in 2050.
Transparent. The framework developed by the GSCC seeks to simplify and provide a straightforward process for certification of products, verification of science-based emissions targets, and labeling for consumer/end-market use. The Steel Climate Standard establishes a clearly defined and comprehensive set of criteria by which progress in decarbonizing the steel sector can be measured. It relies on global standards to quality assure and verify product intensity claims.
Boundary. The Steel Climate Standard defines a clear boundary for Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 sources and includes applicable GHG pollutants. The Steel Climate Standard’s boundary will cover activities from mining to hot rolling and may include contractual instruments for renewable energy and Renewable Thermal Certificates (RTCs). Emissions reductions from biogenic CO2 and the use of process off-gases recovered for reheating and to generate electricity may be included. Carbon offsets and insets shall be excluded.
Assurance. The Steel Climate Standard protocol requires minimum data quality criteria in accordance with ISO standards for developing the carbon footprint. Within the established boundary, companies will calculate an intensity metric in units of tonnes of CO2e per tonne of hot rolled steel (t CO2e/t hot rolled steel). Independent third-party verification of all data in accordance with established ISO standards is required.
Product Certifications. The Steel Climate Standard provides a concise set of criteria for evaluating and certifying flat and long steel products as lower-carbon emissions steel based on their carbon intensity as determined above. Companies can certify as many or as few products as desired and can seek certification at the facility level. The product standard defines and promotes best practices for labeling of certified lower-carbon steel products to provide transparency for consumers/end-market use. Labels shall adhere to a standard format that identifies the GSCC Steel Climate Standard.
Science-Based Emissions Targets. The Steel Climate Standard approach champions science-based emissions targets as a key pillar of a company’s transition to a lower-carbon economy. Participating companies are required to establish and assure climate targets that are based on sound science, in alignment with the 1.5°C scenario and IEA projections for 2050, and that are then reevaluated at least every 5 years.
What Happens Next
GSCC published a draft of the Steel Climate Standard in April 26. We offered a public comment period for stakeholders to review and Standard and provide input. A number of changes in the Standard were made as a result of this process, and the final Steel Climate Standard was published on August 3.
GSCC members will now advocate for the Steel Climate Standard with all stakeholders — governments, steel producers, steel customers, recyclers, multilateral organizations, civil society organizations and others.
We are urging government leaders to adopt the Steel Climate Standard in industry, climate and trade policymaking, and for inclusion in relevant bilateral and multilateral discussions. We are urging all steel manufacturers to adopt the principles, glidepath and targets in the Steel Climate Standard and make investments in their operations that will enable them to reduce their GHG emissions in line with the Standard.