Steel: the sustainability challenge

Posted on 20.04.15 by




by Alan Knight, general manager, corporate responsibility, ArcelorMittal

AlanKnight_300x200ArcelorMittal has today published its 2014 sustainability report, which is available to view here. The report launches the company’s 10 new sustainable development outcomes, an evolution from the four pillars approach to corporate responsibility – investing in our people, making steel more sustainable and enriching our communities, all supported by transparent corporate governance – that the company had previously adopted.

In the first of a new blog series, in which Dr Alan Knight, general manager, corporate responsibility, will take a closer look at what we mean by, and how the company is going about achieving its objectives in, each of the 10 sustainable development outcomes, we start by looking at the big picture – steel and sustainable development.

At ArcelorMittal, we say that steel is the fabric of life. From buildings to automobiles to a vast range of domestic appliances, steel is all around us and plays a vital role in our daily lives. Can you imagine a world without steel? Whether by train, plane or automobile, how would you travel? Look around your home or workplace, remove all the steel products in it and try to get on with your daily life – do you think you could? Steel plays an essential role in the modern world, and we believe will continue to do so in the future.

Due to steel’s strength, durability and recyclability, it is one of the most sustainable materials in the world. And the products that we make play an active role in helping to create a low carbon future, whether it be through reducing the carbon footprint of the automobiles and buildings our steel is used to construct, or for using steel to generate renewable energy.

our-10-outcomes-without-governance-small-signpostBut as the well as the opportunities that steel offers, there are also many great challenges. The manufacture of steel is energy intensive and the chemical process involved, for which there is currently no alternative, emits carbon. We have to ensure that steel fulfils the role we believe it has in creating a sustainable future. This is our challenge and the ten sustainable development outcomes we have announced today provides us with a framework for moving towards this goal in a manner that will be measured, shared and create value, for ourselves and for others, on a local and global scale.

So, to our ten outcomes, they are:

1) Safe, healthy, quality lives for our people and neighbours
2) Products that accelerate more sustainable lifestyles
3) Products to create sustainable infrastructure
4) Efficient user of resources with high recycling rates
5) Trusted user of air, land and water
6) Responsible energy user, that helps create a low carbon future
7) Supply chains that our customers trust
8) Active and welcomed member of the community
9) Pipeline of talented and qualified employees for tomorrow
10) Our contribution to society is measured, shared and valued

I would encourage you to go to here to read more about each of these outcomes and learn more about what we are doing in each area. Sustainable development is about understanding the material issues that face our business from environmental and social trends. By developing and pursuing these 10 outcomes we will be better placed to respond to these long-term trends and more effectively deliver against stakeholder expectations, hence creating value for ourselves and society as a whole. I look forward to discussing each of the ten outcomes in more depth throughout this blog series.


  • ArcelorMittal

  • mining

  • steel

  • sustainability