Åsa Ekdahl

Head, Environment and Climate Change, worldsteel

20 December 2023

Clare Broadbent

Head, Sustainability

20 December 2023

The UN’s Climate Conference, or the 28th Conference of the parties to the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change, COP28, took place in Dubai, UAE from 30th November to 13th December.

This year worldsteel was represented by Åsa Ekdahl, Head of Environment and Climate Change and Clare Broadbent, Head of Sustainability.

Given the importance and visibility of steel in the discussions on decarbonisation, it is vital that worldsteel is present at COP, to represent the global voice of the steel industry, supporting policymakers, finance institutions and the industry in general to move in the right direction.

It’s key for us to talk about how we see the steel industry transition, to support members at their events, and to have in-person discussions with steel-related initiatives, customers and other stakeholders.

We spent an intense week at COP28, taking an active role in the discussions, side events and announcements. While the outcome of the main negotiations is the foundation of the global transition, there were a number of exciting initiatives launched that will hopefully play an important role in the continued transition of the steel industry and the ecosystem of which we are part.


For the first time, worldsteel were an integral part of two important announcements at COP and our participation in these initiatives underscores our commitment and leadership in promoting environmental sustainability within the steel industry. The collective efforts within these initiatives are pivotal in driving the industry’s transition towards a more sustainable, inclusive and climate-friendly future.

The ITA aims to accelerate delivery of Paris-aligned ambition across heavy industry, transport, and energy sectors to keep 1.5 degrees warming in reach. It was officially launched on the 2nd December and was then further discussed at a  Presidential Roundtable on 5th December. Åsa, now part of the ITA Leadership Council for worldsteel, emphasised the benefit of the cross-sectoral approach of ITA, bringing together different industries as well as technology development, finance, and low-carbon energy availability and infrastructure. We will be taking an active role in defining the detailed programme of work for the steel sector.

ITA is co-led by Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber (COP28 President), Mike Bloomberg (UN Climate Envoy), Mark Carney (UN Climate Envoy) and Simon Stiell (Executive Secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). It is backed by $30M from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the COP28 Presidency.

The Steel Standards Principles, jointly developed by worldsteel, WTO, IEA, IDDI, the Steel Breakthrough and ResponsibleSteel, were launched at a high-level launch event on 1st December and at an open and interactive panel session a few days later.

The Principles express an intent by the endorsing organisations to work towards aligning GHG emissions measurement standards in the steel industry and have to date been endorsed by more than 40 standard-setting bodies, international organisations, steel producers and industry associations. The Principles recognise the need for an open and inclusive process across developed and developing economies, governments, producers, industry associations, and policymakers to refine the existing emissions standards landscape for steel. During the panel session, Clare made the point that to achieve this, we all need to work together and all be willing to make a few changes, to help with the alignment of the different approaches. We can be open to different approaches for different purposes, but they all need to be built on the same building blocks.

We are taking a leading role in aligning all these methodologies for steel production and products, and already working closely with key standards developers.

Speaking engagements

An important part of COP for us is to support steel industry events organised by members as well as to provide the steel industry perspective in events organised by the different initiatives and those in our ecosystem. Some of the events that we participated in this year are listed below:

“Shedding Light on Carbon Emissions for Steel Production”

A panel discussion with both Clare and Åsa on the challenges and ways forward for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a low carbon steel industry, organised by worldsteel member Elmarakby Steel at the Egypt Pavilion. The conversation included in-depth discussions on carbon emissions measurements, sustainability reporting frameworks, and the need for their unification. The panel also highlighted the need for customer awareness of climate action and the use of green materials, emphasising the importance of women’s inclusivity in the industry.

“Forging a Carbon-Free Future: The Indian Steel Sector’s Transition”

Åsa was part of the panel at an event hosted by CEEW and India’s Ministry of Steel on the topic of “Forging a Carbon-Free Future: The Indian Steel Sector’s Transition” in the India Pavilion. The transition will look different in different parts of the world, and it’s essential to allow companies to choose the best technologies for their local circumstances. Considering India’s planned capacity increases and the current unavailability of near-zero breakthrough technologies, research into existing technologies is of utmost importance to enable substantial reductions from steel production in the short term.

  • BCG COP28 Flagship event “From Pledges to Action: Making Net Zero Happen”
    Åsa participated in the panel discussion which focused on how finance, energy and infrastructure requirements are all needed to enable the transition for the steel industry.
  • Clare spoke at an IAEA event, Nuclear energy – key to decarbonizing hard to abate sectors. It’s important in the discussions on energy availability to not just talk about renewable energy as the ‘green’ energy supplies, but to really look at all low carbon emission energy sources – we’re going to need all the help we can get in making this transition, and it’s not a one size fits all solution for the global steel industry.
  • POSCO and POSRI held an event at the Korean Pavilion, which brought together different players in the supply chain, with a particular focus on the importance and relevance of scope 3 emissions. Clare moderated the session where the Korean Energy Economics Institute spoke about progress with the negotiations and steel producers JFE, Nippon Steel and ArcelorMittal shared their views on what their companies are doing to account for and reduce their own emissions and in their supply chain.
  • We participated in The Steel Breakthrough Roundtable as well as the newly launched Buildings Breakthrough Roundtable – it’s important for us to track what is going on in these initiatives, provide the voice of the global steel industry and provide leadership, particularly in the development of methodologies for GHG emissions accounting. The Breakthrough Agenda has set ambitious goals for 2030 to dramatically accelerate the innovation and deployment of clean technologies in five key sectors of the economy – Power, Road Transport, Steel, Hydrogen, and Agriculture.

A couple of other key announcements that are relevant for us include the following:

In addition, the four pledge signatories committed to support the development and use of harmonised emissions accounting standards and definitions for low and near zero emission construction materials, starting with steel, cement and concrete. To accelerate this process, at COP28 the IDDI Secretariat released a white paper (discussion paper) outlining a potential pathway towards harmonised greenhouse gas emissions accounting standards. worldsteel has actively participated in this work to ensure a global and technologically representative approach.

  • The Climate Club was officially launched on December 1st. The Club is an inclusive and ambitious high-level intergovernmental forum for industry decarbonisation, co-led by Germany and Chile. The club currently has 36 government members and the secretariat is hosted by IEA and OECD. An official side event also took place. The club will focus on steel and cement. More detail is available on the climate club website where you can also find the work programme for the coming year.