SteelZero: accelerating steel sector decarbonization in new marketsWe Mean Business Coalition
With support from We Mean Business Coalition, SteelZero has expanded its reach to accelerate demand signals for net zero steel, in order to decarbonize one of the world’s most widely used materials.
Steel is one of the world’s most widely used materials, and its production accounts for over 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Steel demand for construction and engineering is projected to grow significantly by 2050. Demand signals from some of the largest end use sectors for steel can enable markets for net zero steel and drive the decarbonization of the industry as a whole, delivering deep emissions cuts even in a growing market.
Technologies already exist that can help to decarbonize steel production such as carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), and green hydrogen, but these need a big push from the private and public sectors to reach commercial scale adoption. There is a strong business case for scaling these solutions – it’s estimated that 14% of steel companies’ value is at risk from rising carbon prices.
To accelerate the market transition to producing decarbonized steel, Climate Group, in partnership with ResponsibleSteel launched SteelZero in 2020 as one of the first private sector demand-side initiatives in the steel industry. Companies that join make a public commitment to procure, specify and use 100% net zero steel by 2050, with an interim target of 50% by 2030. This means they must procure from producers that have set medium- and long-term science-based emissions reduction targets, produce Low Embodied Carbon Steel or are ResponsibleSteel certified. By making a commitment to SteelZero, and evidencing the demand for low carbon steel, companies can activate and influence producer action towards a rapid transition to producing low carbon steel.
With the Climate Group, We Mean Business Coalition identified the need for such a commitment and has supported SteelZero since its inception in 2020 to become a leading, globally-recognized demand-side initiative. In the first phase from 2019-2021, funding mobilized by the We Mean Business Coalition enabled SteelZero to launch and grow capacity to expand its membership base, activate members in key sectors and geographies, research policy areas to advocate for in key markets and develop its monitoring and reporting process. As of the start of 2023, 31 companies have made SteelZero commitments, including the UK’s BM Steel, Ørsted of Denmark, Volvo cars from automotive and Maersk from the shipping sector.
We Mean Business Coalition has also provided strategic support to SteelZero, aligning stakeholders to enable it to expand and deepen its efforts in key sectors and markets. This included the launch of working groups with the renewables, construction and auto sectors in the EU, to enable companies to collaborate and problem-solve collectively. In July 2022, SteelZero launched in India, which is the world’s second largest producer of steel, and conversations are underway on securing the first net zero steel commitments from Indian companies.
As the initiative grows in new geographies and sectors, We Mean Business Coalition is proud of its continuing support of SteelZero’s work to accelerate demand for net zero steel and the decarbonization of the steel industry as a whole – which is essential to deliver the Coalition’s vision of transitioning to a net zero economy by 2050.
Visit the grants page to learn more about how We Mean Business Coalition is supporting other corporate climate action initiatives.