Friday, June 2, 2023

Celsa, Acerinox and Arcelor clash over ‘greenwashing’ of emissions

For months most sectors of the economy have been labeled ‘green’ as a tagline. Today everything is ecological and sustainable; From yogurts to construction beams. The steel sector was no different. And at a time when more and more customers are measuring emissions when they buy their products, this last name is especially important. The problem arises when even the sector itself does not agree on what green steel is. In the absence of general regulations, each company sweeps the house and implements standards that benefit their measurement. Thus, Acerinox and Arcelormittal support the Responsible Steel Association while Celsa is one of the founders of the Global Steel Climate Council (GSCC). Clearly, each defends his organization and accuses the other of being untrustworthy.

The steel sector emits between 7% and 9% of global CO2 emissions. “In the case of steel, most of the pollution comes from the blast furnace, but coke, a derivative of coal, is also used during the production of the material, which also produces CO2”Rafael Gonzalez, head of the chemical engineering department of the Sarria Chemical Institute (IQS), explained this to the media.

For this reason, companies have joined the race to certify their product under the sustainable label. Selsa promotes the Global Steel Climate Council, a mainly US initiative, which also includes companies such as Megasa, Grupo Riva or Siderurgica Balboa. He has come to challenge the Responsible Steel seal, which includes Arcelormittal, Acerinox—the conflict doesn’t so much affect it—Cargill or Mercedes Benz by manufacturing stainless steel.

Frank Cardona, head of public affairs at Selsa, says, “We found that steel labeled as green with other initiatives emitted five or six times more than ours; we believed that was a sufficient A complete solution was not being provided.” The Catalan firm is one of the most advanced in this sector in terms of sustainability, as its ovens are electric.

The GSCC is still in a public consultation process, informing itself about the authorities and potential customers. Its promoters desire that their criteria be included in the procurement. “California, for example, includes a cap for CO2 emissions” adds Cardona.

A little further traveled is Responsible Steel. One company grouped under this seal has defended that its initiative may better represent green steel because it takes into account the entire path of a product – something the Global Steel Climate Council also ensures – and that coal Sustainable products can be produced with furnaces if they save emissions when collecting scrap metal, for example.

Looking for a public standard for steel

It tries to deliver the transversal vision of Andres Barcelo, General Director of the Employers’ Association, UNISID. “You have to remember that they are not established standards, they are in part private initiatives”, keeps. “And the difference is in the nuances, with some more interested in highlighting certain qualities and others more interested in hiding certain flaws,” he says.

The leader advocates for institutions and general rules recognized by the entire region. “We are working at European level for a common definition of green steel, because there are times when certain things are embarrassing to look at, but it is necessary to agree. Everyone is convinced that it should be done, But so far it has not happened”, ditched.

Meanwhile, both standards do not hesitate to point to greenwashing (eco-laundering) or marketing initiatives to sell more. More at times of stress for the sector.

why The European Union is working on rules to end these practices., In March, he introduced a proposal to establish common standards for the whole continent against ecological degradation. In 2020, the European Commission conducted a study which found that 53% of environmental claims were misleading and 40% of them were not supported enough.

For this reason, it now intends to elaborate on this type of message if it refers to the whole product or only parts of its activity and that the comparison with other companies be made in a concrete and more detailed manner. Is performed. Now..

This will be difficult in the steel sector, as there is no consensus on what is sustainable. A recent study published in the Journal of Cleaner Production argues that there is debate over where to draw the line in determining whether a product is green. Furthermore, there are many methodologies for accounting for carbon, and within each methodology there are many options. An additional problem is that there are several methods of producing steel: primary and one that uses recycled steel, so it is even more difficult to compare the two methods.

A conclusion: “Carbon emissions reduction will take 4.5 times longer with the primary route than with the secondary to reach net zero, Therefore, primary steel companies may believe that they are at a disadvantage when it comes to meeting green steel norms,” ​​the authors of the text warned.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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