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Frequently Asked Questions

The GSCC has received numerous comments and input from a variety of steel stakeholders. Here are some question and answers to help everyone understand some of the core issues around The Steel Climate Standard.

Steel is an essential engineering material for the global economy. It is a critical material used to manufacture vehicles and machinery, build infrastructure, buildings and factories, produce energy and much more. Steel is also essential for the transition to clean technology products such as electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar arrays. A global steel standard will reduce carbon emissions and accelerate the transition to climate-sustaining steel products by incentivizing steelmakers around the world to use the lower-emitting steel production processes and technologies available.

A standard must lead to the global steel industry significantly reducing carbon emissions. This can be achieved by creating a science-based emissions standard based on actual emissions that would apply to all producers equally on a global basis. Without a standard, higher emission processes are allowed to remain the same, delaying reduction of the industry’s carbon footprint. Establishing a standard should incentivize company actions that will generate the largest decrease in carbon emissions and meet a common sector goal for the steel industry to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement’s 1.5°C objective by 2050.

Yes, there are several groups and companies advocating for a global standard to measure and report steel carbon emissions. Some are favoring a standard that features a “ferrous scrap sliding scale” relative to use of scrap steel for setting carbon reduction trajectories. This approach sets a dual standard for emissions from steel producers – one standard for steel made from traditional production processes, and another for steel made from circular processes.

GSCC did not start from scratch in developing its Standard. Instead, we reviewed others and built on them to fill some gaps by adding some conservatism and to eliminate complexities by providing a single, process agnostic approach. We published a draft of The Steel Climate Standard in April 2023 and invited comments from interested stakeholders. We reviewed all comments and made revisions ahead of publishing the current The Steel Climate Standard.

The Steel Climate Standard is founded on a clear vision for the future of steel in a decarbonizing economy based on a technology and production-method agnostic approach. The Standard holds all producers to the same carbon-intensive emissions. This is important to recognize that many steel manufacturers that have already made significant investments in lower carbon technology, and to provide 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.

The use of scrap as the predominant raw material for steel production is the least expensive commercially available means to reduce carbon emissions. The more recycled scrap that is used in steelmaking, the lower the industry’s carbon output. There is a dynamic and growing market for scrap, which has evolved, and will continue to evolve, to meet market demand, and steel companies have become efficient in their efforts to collect, process and utilize scrap. A recent report from the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA) provides new calculations in key scrap-producing countries that indicate steel lifespans may be lower – in the range of 25 and 35 years – than previous studies assumed, making more scrap available sooner to satisfy rising global scrap demand.

The Steel Climate Standard defines a clear boundary for relevant processes in the steelmaking value chain, regardless of whether they are a company’s Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 sources and includes the seven GHG pollutants covered under the Kyoto Protocol. The Standard also recognizes several ways to reduce steel’s carbon footprint within this boundary which include use of contractual instruments for renewable energy, Renewable Thermal Certificates (RTCs) for renewable natural gas, bio-based materials that are sustainably sourced and process off-gases recovered for reheating and to generate electricity.

No, carbon offsets and insets are excluded. Further, the life cycle emissions associated with steelmaking may not be allocated between products and co-products. These measures aim to focus steel manufacturers’ GHG reduction efforts on processes that are within the Standards’ boundary and therefore are relevant to steelmaking. These restrictions also enhance product comparability for steel customers by disallowing allocation calculations that are not well defined or uniformly applied.

Our intent in developing The Steel Climate Standard was to guide the steel industry on a path toward decarbonization. We are presenting the Standard to representatives of government agencies in both markets, as well as other countries and multilateral organizations, to help guide industrial and climate policymaking.

The Steel Climate Standard is not specific to any one geographic region or country. It has been developed through a partnership and collaboration of steel companies, recyclers and steel associations headquartered in numerous countries around the world and which have steel operations in more than 70 countries worldwide. The steel industry needs to reduce carbon emissions everywhere, and this Standard provides a pathway toward that goal.

GSCC members will engage with governments, multilateral organizations, steel producers, steel purchasers, environmental groups and others to review and adopt The Steel Climate Standard. We will also help these stakeholders understand the technical aspects of the Standard, including the process for certification and labelling of steel products, how steel producers can establish science-based emissions targets (SBETs) to achieve the 1.5°C scenario by the year 2050, the system boundary for determining steel’s carbon intensity, and the decarbonization glidepath.