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50 years of worldsteel Association




Edwin Basson

Edwin Basson
World Steel Association
Director General

Celebrating 50 years of our association is a wonderful opportunity to look back into our past and forward to the future.

In 1965, Dr Hans-Günther Sohl from August Thyssen Hütte (Germany) and Thomas F. Patton from Republic Steel (USA) first discussed the founding of an international steel institute to ensure closer technical collaboration. Following these initial discussions, the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI) was born in New York on 25 May 1967 and became a legal entity on 10 July 1967 when the founding certificate was signed before a public notary in Brussels. We were renamed The World Steel Association (worldsteel) in October 2008.

Our headquarters was established in Brussels. On 10 July 1967, the Board of Directors held their first meeting. Dr Hans-Günther Sohl was elected Chairman and Logan Johnston from Armco Steel (USA) as Vice Chairman. The first annual meeting followed on 11 and 12 November 1967. Both meetings have occurred every year since then. In the early years, most members were from North America and Europe, though this has changed over the years.

The evolution of the steel industry as charted in this publication makes for interesting comparisons with the industry today. Looking forward, can we expect similar changes in the next 50 years?

With the world's population set to grow by 2-3 billion by 2050, one thing is certain: the steel industry will continue to have a vital role to play in housing, energy, water, food, transport and infrastructure. And it will continue to adapt and innovate. We have already met the challenges of energy and production efficiency, built high rise buildings, high speed railways, renewable energy solutions and deep sea marine applications to name a few.

More challenges will come our way. Two of the most important are climate change and the circular economy. Society is demanding zero waste and reduced use of new materials as well as encouraging the reuse and recycling of materials. All fundamental advantages of using steel.

I hope you enjoy this look at the last 50 years and I look forward to working with all our members to address the challenges of the next 50.

Edwin Basson - Signature

Our history

Celebrating 50 years of the World Steel Association is a wonderful opportunity to look back into our past and forward to the future.

Then & Now

In the 60's there was a need for a steel association that could bring the steel industry together. Today worldsteel membership covers every region of the world.

World Steel Association membership coverage

Crude steel production in million tonnes

Crude steel production

2017 membership: direct and indirect reach

2017 membership direct and indirect reach

Share of top 10 steel producers in relation to total production*

Industry fragmentation has remained relatively constant in the past 50 years.

Share of top 10 steel producers in relation to total production

Then & Now

Steel use per capita:
global data

Steel use per capita: global data

International trade of
steel products

International trade of steel products

Evolution of
production methods

Evolution of production methods

Average energy intensity per
tonne of steel produced

Average energy intensity per tonne of steel produced

Today every newly produced steel product is made on average from 30% scrap.

The use of recovered steel scrap in steelmaking

The use of recovered steel scrap in steelmaking

Advanced high-strength steels used today are at least twice as strong as conventional steels of 1967, resulting in reduced energy use and CO2 emissions.

Stronger steel

Steel has evolved with the world and
the world is evolving with steel.

Steel is evolving with the world and the world is evolving with steel

The number of skyscrapers has soared since 1967,
and steel has had a key role to play.

The number of skyscrapers has soared since 1967, and steel has had a key role to play

Our Future

Steel makes the future possible

Steel will continue to be the backbone and enabler of society's evolution and progress. Tomorrow's smart cities will be built on steel. It is the principal ingredient in so many systems and applications, from taller buildings and longer bridges to autonomous vehicles and renewable energy. It is also fundamental to realising a true circular economy. As an infinitely recyclable and reusable asset, steel reduces the burden on the Earth's resources. With growing awareness of steel as a modern, environmentally sound material, its use will help bring about the sustainable future we all dream of.

In working towards this goal, we will see increasing digitisation and automation within the steel industry. Made ever more effective by machine learning techniques, this will further improve existing process efficiency and quality. It will also improve the steel industry's already excellent safety record by automating or allowing risky operations to be performed remotely.

Advancements will also continue to enhance the properties of steel, creating countless new and exciting applications for architects and engineers to work with, and for people to then enjoy.

Looking forward steel will enable the interconnected and energy-efficient smart networks of the future. It will provide strong, lightweight materials needed to build homes, factories, stadiums and hospitals - together with the renewable energy plants which will supply them with clean electricity. Steel will also enable the future's transport networks, connecting people safely and reliably whether by road, rail, sea, air or even space.

Whatever the future holds, worldsteel will remain at the very heart of the industry's efforts to ensure steel makes it all possible, while contributing to a healthier and more sustainable planet.

Steel is the most commonly used metal in the world and it has the potential to stay that way for the next fifty years and more. But for that we need to be seen as a vibrant, customer focussed, digitally mature, resource efficient, environmentally friendly industry that truly understands, leverages and promotes the concept of a circular economy.

Managing Director
Tata Steel Limited

The steel industry will rapidly enter a new era of producing to customers' individualised needs. The next decades will prove again how indispensable steel is for humanity. The steel industry, cities and communities will co-exist in perfect harmony.

Yong YU
HBIS Group Co., Ltd

With the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we, as steel producers, must strive to transform our industry into a smart manufacturing industry. We should pioneer the opening of a new era of manufacturing renaissance with worldsteel taking the lead in unleashing the power of collective intelligence.

Ohjoon KWON

Steel will always be a central part of any national economy and people's lives from deep sea to deep space. Our aspiration is for innovation to drive the steel industry to be the cornerstone that underpins sustainable development in the future.

Guoqiang MA
China Baowu Steel Group Co., LTD

Our success as an industry starts with our people. To keep attracting top talent, we need to let young people know about the role technology plays in driving change in our industry and the contributions they can make to help develop the next generation of steel products.

Chairman, CEO & President
Nucor Corporation

Steel will definitely continue to be a material of choice and at the centre of the circular economy. We are even more committed to providing quality solution to our customers and for our society.

President & CEO
JFE Holdings Inc.

Our industry's future will be based on our values of innovation, sustainability and integrity. Our license to operate in the communities where we live and work requires us to be fully open and transparent, and to prioritise safety and care for the environment.

President & CEO
Techint Group

1967 - 2017

Worldsteel Association Chairmen 1967 - 2017