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Steel carbon reduction commitment strengthens

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Fears have been raised that the UK’s commitment to tackling the climate emergency may be waning in the face of the multitude of immediately pressing issues facing the government. Much fretting was sparked by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s initial decision not to attend the COP27 event, which was reversed shortly before NSC went to press.

The Prime Minister certainly has a lot on his plate right now and his initial decision to stay in the UK and focus on UK issues looked reasonable. The background for that decision has seldom been more challenging, with the UK economic outlook uncertain following the bond market crisis sparked by the Liz Truss-Kwasi Kwarteng lower tax and higher spending plans; the war continuing in Ukraine; rising COVID-19 levels and warnings of a possible upsurge in flu. Dealing with the illegal immigration upsurge on its own could justify cancelling ministerial foreign trips for a while. There is also the small matter of the Autumn Budget being prepared for release on 17 November.

Turning away from commitments to net zero carbon however would be swimming against a strong tide of support for measures to tackle the climate emergency that has built up across the world in recent years. A single decision not to go to an event that is unlikely to adopt major new climate emergency measures, beyond what was committed to at last year’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow, should not be taken as evidence that efforts such as the steel sector’s plans for its net zero carbon journey that were detailed in its 2050 Roadmap are in danger of being wasted. UK government commitment to playing a leading role in the drive to reduce carbon emissions also seems to remain strong, which is underlined by the Prime Minister’s decision to after all attend COP27.

The steel sector is certainly not diluting its support for the net zero carbon drive, and the commitment is only strengthening as measures promised in the Roadmap are developed. British Steel for example has just announced an extension to its Advance range of structural sections that represent a significant aid to achieving the design efficiency targets in the BCSA’s 2050 Roadmap (see News).

Tata Steel has just released its new Optemis Carbon Lite product range, lower certified CO₂ steel that is verified by independent assurance. Tata Steel aims to reduce all CO₂ emissions by 30% by 2030 and be a CO₂ neutral steelmaker by 2045. Arcelor Mittal’s XCarb steel initiative points the way towards becoming carbon neutral by 2050, reducing European CO₂ emissions by 35% by 2030.

Looking ahead, BCSA will soon publish its new guide to sustainable procurement, reinforcing the objectives and strategies detailed in last year’s 2050 Roadmap. The BCSA’s Sustainability Charter that members sign up to has been updated and relaunched in line with the government’s 2050 target, new carbon footprint tools have been developed to help members to accurately calculate their carbon emissions. Across BCSA’s membership, companies of all sizes are pressing ahead with their own carbon reducing initiatives, and we will bring you news of some of them in future issues of NSC.

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