Iain Millar, Manager, Life Cycle Assessment, worldsteel

24 January 2019

In an evolving society in which the circular economy is crucial for preserving natural resources, using a life cycle approach to look at every phase of a product’s life, including the steelmaking process, can bring about reductions in the overall environmental impact of steel products.

The ever-increasing demand from consumers for more environmental information on the products and services they use has led to a matching demand for more information to understand the impact of these products and services.

In a previous blog we’ve described the most important tool that we use within the steel industry: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which looks at the impacts from all stages of a products life. The steel industry is no exception when it comes to receiving requests for information from its customers, government bodies and university researchers on the environmental impact of the products that it produces.

The steel industry has responded to this challenge and worldsteel has been collecting data and calculating steel’s life cycle environmental impact for nearly 25 years. We started in the mid-1990s and since then our database has grown as more companies and sites have joined.

This is a massive task as a huge amount of data is collected for steel production from sites all around the world. In the past we carried out this process roughly every 5 years with new data being collected from the steel companies.

Annual data collection

In order to make the data collection process more efficient and to have a regular update of steel LCI data, we moved to a new system in 2018: an annual data collection, where a proportion of the sites are updated within the database as well as new companies and sites being added.

To keep the database as up-to-date as possible, only site data that is less than 5 years old can be kept in the database. The latest upstream datasets from the extensive thinkstep database and other high-quality industry datasets have been applied and the new annual results generated.

Life cycle inventory (LCI) data 2018

We completed the 5th iteration of the global steel LCI data in 2018 and data is now available on request via worldsteel.org. It will also be made available in the GaBi and SimaPro LCA software tools. Datasets are available from other sources, but as a global association working in close co-operation with so many steel producing companies, we can confidently say that we hold the most accurate and representative set of steel LCI data.

2019 data collection

We have already started on the 2019 data collection, to make sure we keep the steel LCI data as up-to-date and relevant as possible. The methodology has been reviewed a number of times by external parties to ensure it complies with the ISO 14040 and 14044 LCA standards. worldsteel will continue to make sure that its data is as accessible as possible.

If you would like to have access to the data or have any questions or comments, we would appreciate hearing from you.