Sustainable steel – Indicators 2020 and steel applications

17 November 2020 

The World Steel Association (worldsteel) today publishes Sustainable steel – Indicators 2020 and steel applications. The publication features the steel industry’s sustainability performance via its 8 sustainability indicators and focuses on 3 key steel applications from a life cycle perspective: automotive, construction and packaging.

A life cycle assessment (LCA) of a product provides a full picture of its environmental performance as it accounts for resource and energy consumption as well as all emissions to air, water and land. LCA also considers all stages of a product’s life, from the raw material extraction stage to its end-of-life stage, including reuse and recycling. An LCA approach must therefore be considered for the development of appropriate legislation to ensure that the true environmental impact of products is assessed correctly and consistently, avoiding any unintended consequences.

Construction, automotive and packaging are examples of three key steel market sectors where life cycle thinking is being incorporated into regulations or standards. A more widespread use of LCA in other applications is crucial to minimise the overall environmental impact of products throughout their whole life.

Nine steel companies were recognised by worldsteel as Steel Sustainability Champions for their work in 2019; ArcelorMittal, BlueScope, China Steel Corporation, JSW Steel Limited, Nippon Steel Corporation, Tata Steel Europe, Tata Steel Limited, Tenaris and Ternium. Not only did they provide data for each of the indicators and for worldsteel’s life cycle inventory (LCI) database, but also a programme or initiative of these companies was shortlisted for one of the 5 categories of the annual Steelie Awards, or Safety and Health recognition programme.

worldsteel uses 8 indicators to measure key aspects of the steel industry’s economic, environmental and social sustainability performance. A total of 104 steel companies representing 1.1 billion tonnes of crude steel production contributed data – this covers nearly 60% of global crude steel production.

Environmental performanceUnit20172018 2019
1CO2 emissionsTonnes CO2/tonne crude steel cast1.841.811.83
2Energy IntensityGJ/tonne crude steel cast19.8519.5419.84 
3Material efficiency% of materials converted to products & co-products96.4996.3397.49 
4Environmental management systems (EMS)% of employees & contractors working in EMS-registered production facilities96.5597.0897.15 
Social performance20172018 2019
5Lost time injury frequency rateInjuries/million hours worked0.970.840.83 
6Employee trainingTraining days/employee6.266.366.89 
Economic performance20172018 2019
7Investment in new processes and products% of revenue5.766.107.07 
8Economic Value Distributed% of revenue95.3693.8498.02 

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.