Mighty Earth, ArcelorMittal, Lendlease, Daimler, HSBC & Others Launch ResponsibleSteel™, The World’s First Sustainability Standard For The Steel Industry

WOLLONGONG, NEW SOUTH WALES – Today, Mighty Earth joined leading steel companies, including ArcelorMittal and Blue Scope, leading construction and development company Lendlease, major automakers Daimler and BMW, and many other civil society partners to announce the launch of the ResponsibleSteel Standard, the world’s first international, multi-stakeholder standard for responsible production for steel making and processing sites. The announcement was made during the ResponsibleSteel’s Forum II in Wollongong, Australia.

The new standard seeks to holistically address many challenges in the steel manufacturing process, including how to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from steel production, implementing sustainable mining practices, and protecting labour rights, water quality, biodiversity, and human rights. The ResponsibleSteel Standard helps the steel industry address these challenges by setting a universal baseline, establishing the fundamental elements and the required levels of implementation for sourcing and production of steel to be labelled responsible. Taken together, the new standard supports ResponsibleSteel’s vision: to maximize steel’s contribution to a sustainable society.

“In our work at Mighty Earth, we have seen entire industries transform when market leaders work together to advance ambitious voluntary commitments for climate, environment, and human rights,” said Mighty Earth Campaign Director Margaret Hansbrough. “Today, we are seeing leaders step forward in the steel industry, an industry responsible for approximately 7 to 9 percent of global emissions. When companies and civil society step up together, big things can happen. This rigorous yet accessible standard is the result of a deeply collaborative stakeholder process which we will continue to leverage to bring forth even bolder goals to ensure a 1.5-degree threshold is possible. This urgent work has only just begun.”

In the fall of 2018, Mighty Earth released two seismic reports, Cold Steel, Hot Climate and Construction Destruction, which helped to activate the global steel and construction industries to make commitments to clean energy and carbon neutrality. Through engagement with the steel industry and its biggest customers, Mighty Earth is starting to see real climate action taking shape. The launch of ResponsibleSteel marks a new milestone in this engagement.

Also announced at the forum were new members of ResponsibleSteel, including Lendlease, one of the top building and development companies in the world, which was named in the Construction Destruction report. Additional new members include Anglo American, Carport, Clean Air Task Force, Harsco and new Associate Members ACRS (Australasian Certification Authority for Reinforcing and Structural Steels certification), GUTcert GmbH, HERA (Heavy Engineering Research Association), RTQMS (Real Time Quality Management Services), Sustainable Steel Council, and United Certification Systems.

“This is a huge milestone for both ResponsibleSteel and for its members and supporters,” said Matthew Wenban-Smith, Executive Director of ResponsibleSteel. “The ResponsibleSteel Standard has been developed through a rigorous process of public consultation, membership approval and board ratification, and we are pleased it is now available to support the responsible sourcing and production of steel. Civil society groups like Mighty Earth have been critical to making this standard the best it can be for people and the planet” (emphasis added).

The Standard consists of twelve principles: Corporate Leadership; Social Environmental and Governance Management Systems; Occupational Health and Safety; Labour Rights; Human Rights; Stakeholder Engagement and Communication; Local Communities; Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Noise, Emissions, Effluent and Waste; Water Stewardship; Biodiversity; and Decommissioning and Closure.

As a multi-stakeholder organization, ResponsibleSteel sought to engage the voices of its members and a broad range of interested parties in the standard development process. The Standard was approved by a ballot of the ResponsibleSteel membership and formally ratified by the ResponsibleSteel Board of Directors in November 2019.

ResponsibleSteel has developed tools to help organizations implement the Standard, including Implementation Instructions and an Assurance Manual. The first auditor training workshop was held in London on 18-20 November. It is expected that the first certified steel sites audited with ResponsibleSteel Standard will be announced in the first half of 2020.

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