Blog: worldsteel’s Open Forum – A climate conversation with the steel industry

In October worldsteel organised its inaugural Open Forum, which aimed to engage with stakeholders in the steelmaking ecosystem, including equipment manufacturers, suppliers, international organisations and academia, and to discuss issues related to the steel industry’s decarbonisation transition.

The event itself took place in Brussels on 4-5 October and I could not have been happier with how it turned out. It was very well attended with excellent presentations, very active participants, and constructive discussions. The agenda focused on enabling conditions, and most speakers were external from many different parts of the steel ecosystem including international initiatives, NGOs, suppliers and consultancies.

Programme sessions

· Opening session: Sajjan Jindal, Chairman and Managing Director, JSW Steel Limited and worldsteel Chair set the scene, sending a clear message that the steel industry is committed to decarbonisation action. Lord Adair Turner, Chair, Energy Transitions Commission gave an overview of the global decarbonisation context that steel industry has to operate in.

· The pathway to Paris: The Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change, aims to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. The International Energy Agency and the Mission Possible Partnership gave their perspective on the strategies available to the steel industry.

· Implementation and activitiesArcelorMittalChina Baowu Steel Group Corporation, and Ovako AB, three of worldsteel’s member companies, detailed a number of their current projects and strategies going forward.

· Partnerships for transformation: Decarbonisation of the entire steel value chain can only happen with the close cooperation of both upstream and downstream industries. BHP, one of the world’s largest iron ore miners, OGCI Climate Investments, and Woodside Energy all gave their perspectives on how we can move this close cooperation forward.

· How to measure and track emissions from steel production? The Net-zero Steel Pathway Methodology Project (NZSPMP)The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)The Net-zero Industry Tracker, and the IEA all stressed the importance of being able to prove that the steel industry is delivering on the goals that it has set itself. They outlined the work they are doing in developing methodologies that best incorporate steel industry specifics.

· Raw materials and energy requirements for the steel industry’s transitionWood Mackenzie and The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) explored the challenges that the steel industry faces in its upstream operations, and The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) and BHP provided their perspectives during the panel discussion.

· How customers and finance are shaping the market for low-carbon steel: The last session centered on initiatives that encourage steel industry customers to make low-carbon purchase commitments, SteelZero and ResponsibleSteel, as well as the Sustainable STEEL Principles developed by a group of banks that wants to ensure the climate alignment of their lending portfolios.