Since 2004, members of the World Steel Association have provided information on eight Sustainability Indicators as environmental, social and economic Key Performance Indicators on a yearly basis.
The data collection and the reporting of it over the last 18 years tells an interesting story on the progress of the industry’s performance, but also the consistent efforts to the industry’s commitment to improve its sustainability performance.
Evolving reporting requirements and environment
I have been an active participant in worldsteel’s programme as a member for nearly a decade, even more so since November 2019 when I became Chair of the Sustainability Reporting Expert Group (SREG). Looking at the rapidly changing reporting requirements and environment in recent years, I think that the time for a change or perhaps an ‘upgrade’ has come.
We have recognized not only an increasing interest and growing requests in reporting sustainability KPIs from all spectrums of the industries’ stakeholders but also the need to expand the scope of our sustainability reporting topics to close gaps in our current reporting. The discussion within SREG has started and consequently we formed a working group with a dozen members of the main SREG members in December 2021 to identify potential additional indicators.
As Chair of the group, I appreciate the rigorous process the working group has gone through to identify additional indicators. The group conducted a gap analysis with relevant reporting frameworks and guidelines, drafted methodologies including definitions and calculations for each of the potential indicators and carried out a member-wide survey on data availability and feasibility. With this work done, the working group has identified up to 14 potential indicators covering more detailed information on environmental, social as well as governance topics, which is under discussion for adoption and potential implementation at worldsteel. I think this will appropriately complete the alignment between the recently updated industry’s sustainability principles and its indicators.
How did we perform in 2022?
In 2022, more than 80 steel companies and associations worldwide voluntarily provided data for one or more indicators, and 33 companies provided data for all 8 indicators. Collecting sustainability performance data of the steel companies around the world and reporting it at a global level takes significant efforts and resources from the participating companies and associations.
Many of us sustainability practitioners, including myself, manage hundreds of corporate data points and provide them to various organisations and frameworks as part of stakeholder communications. Participating in the worldsteel data collection in addition to all the other requests for data has a unique value for all of us. It provides information on our performance at an industry level in the material topics and also demonstrates our collective and continuous efforts as an industry to commitment for sustainability.
Another value of this data collection programme is the performance benchmarking among the industry peers. Each participating company receives a customised individual company report with which they benchmark their performance against all participating companies (anonymously), the global average, and the top 15 performers. I believe this is rather useful information for steel companies to understand where they are in the KPIs and also to identify their scope for improvement.
The results of the data collection are published in an annual report which contains not only the performance of the 8 indicators since worldsteel started collecting this data, but also a list of participating organisations. All this information is made available here.
Additional indicators will require more work and effort from us, but it would provide evidence of the steel industry’s progress. It will also add value to our databases and will reinforce our effort for transparent communications with stakeholders, contributing to our journey to a more sustainable future.
I am very happy to present this report to you all and would appreciate your feedback on our work and performance.