13 November 2021 Brussels, Belgium

The World Steel Association (worldsteel) today publishes Sustainable steel – Sustainability Indicators 2021 and our sustainability journey. In addition to including the latest figures for our 8 Sustainability Indicators, the publication gives an overview of the evolution of sustainability programmes at worldsteel over the past 50 years, and details our 9 new Sustainability Principles.

worldsteel uses 8 indicators to measure key aspects of the steel industry’s economic, environmental and social sustainability performance. A total of 94 steel companies and associations representing just over 1 billion tonnes of crude steel production, 53.7% of global crude steel production, contributed data for the fiscal year of 2020:

Environmental performance UNIT 2018 2019 2020
1 CO2 emissions Tonnes CO2/tonne crude steel cast 1.81 1.85 1.89
2 Energy Intensity GJ/tonne crude steel cast 19.51 20.06 20.62
3 Material efficiency % of materials converted to products & co-products 96.33 96.49 97.86
4 Environmental management systems (EMS) % of employees & contractors working in EMS-registered production facilities 97.07 97.16 96.11
Social performance 2018 2019 2020
5 Lost time injury frequency rate Injuries/million hours worked 0.84 0.83 0.85
6 Employee training Training days/employee 6.48 6.90 7.18
Economic performance 2018 2019 2020
7 Investment in new processes and products % of revenue 6.12 7.09 8.03
8 Economic Value Distributed % of revenue 94.18 98.27 97.75

In 2021, nine steel companies were recognised by worldsteel as Steel Sustainability Champions for outstanding sustainability performance; JFE Steel Corporation, JSW Steel Limited, Novolipetsk Steel (NLMK Group), Outokumpu Oyj, Severstal (PAO), Tata Steel Europe, Tata Steel Limited, Tenaris, and Ternium. Not only did these companies provide data for each of the indicators above, but they also submitted data for at least 60% of their total crude steel production to worldsteel’s life cycle inventory (LCI) database, and were shortlisted in sustainability-related categories in the annual Steelie Awards, or included in the Safety and Health Excellence Recognition programme.

Our first policy statement on the environment was released in 1972, five years after worldsteel was founded as the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI). Since then, as the scope of sustainability has broadened, we have released policy statements on topics including safety, climate change and LCA, and have collected industry data from across the world so that our members can benchmark their own performance and strive for continuous improvement.

Our 9 new Sustainability Principles are the latest development in our sustainability journey, updating our previous principles. They reflect the rapidly changing business environment and societal expectations and reiterate our commitment to being part of the solution for a sustainable society and future. The graphic on pages five and six of the publication outlines how the principles are aligned not only with our internal programmes, but also the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.



  • The World Steel Association (worldsteel) is one of the largest and most dynamic industry associations in the world, with members in every major steel-producing country. worldsteel represents steel producers, national and regional steel industry associations, and steel research institutes. Members represent around 85% of global steel production.
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