Vanessa Riedemann, Manager, Sustainability, worldsteel

19 April 2018

As a global industry, we share society’s challenges and concerns – from climate change and economic turmoil to meeting societal needs in a sustainable way. We don’t yet have all the answers to these challenges, but we are being proactive on many different fronts.

In fact, we recently recognised some of our member companies that are leading the way in finding solutions and pushing the sustainability agenda forward, namely, ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel Europe, Tata Steel Limited, Tenaris, thyssenkrupp AG, and voestalpine AG. Here are 5 successful sustainability “habits”  that these “high-flyers” or our Sustainability Champions are getting right:

  1. Make the commitment:
    The CEOs of these companies have all demonstrated their commitment by signing the worldsteel Sustainable Development Charter. The Charter outlines the steel industry’s sustainability principles which are strongly aligned with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals set out in 2015.
  2. Prioritise what really matters: 
    These companies have all performed so-called materiality assessments to identify and prioritise their company’s most important, or “material”, sustainability issues, based on relevance to their stakeholders and impact on society. These assessments ensure that the company is tackling the right issues and helps to identify “hot spots” on the horizon.
  3. Do your homework & measure:
    Over the years, these companies have consistently submitted their sustainability indicator data, which helps us get a pulse on the industry’s environmental, social and economic performance.  They have also made a substantial effort to contribute to our global life cycle inventory data collection – an intense exercise, but essential to understanding the environmental performance of steel products over their entire life cycle and critical for material decision-makers around the world.
  4. Report on progress & engage:
    Every year, these companies report to their stakeholders on their economic, social and environmental performance according to international sustainability reporting standards like the Global Reporting Initiative G4 guidelines.  They are also pro-actively engaging both internally within their companies, and externally – on many different levels. That’s because they understand that we can’t solve sustainability issues on our own.  It takes cooperation with their employees, local communities, governments, the investment world, customers and suppliers alike to find solutions and “make it all happen”.
  5. Push the agenda and set higher standards:
    Individuals from these member companies are consistently at the table and taking part in local, regional and global sustainability discussions and initiatives.  They thereby contribute to outcomes like improved employee safety & health, better training and education for their employees and their communities, and reduced carbon footprint of their products – which are all essential to a circular economy. They are taking the lead, sharing their ideas, making things happen and making a difference.  Each of the Sustainability Champions has been shortlisted for one of our worldsteel Steelie awards (Innovation of the Year, Excellence in Sustainability, Excellence in Life Cycle Assessment, and Excellence in Education and Training) or our Safety and Health Recognition Programme.

The challenge? Let’s expand this list of champions: It is collectively that we have more power and resources to ensure that our industry achieves its sustainability ambitions.