Mike Peirce, Director of Corporate Partnerships at Climate Group shares his thoughts on British Steel’s recent announcement.
This month British Steel announced that they’ll be adopting science-based targets. Meaning that the company will invest in technologies to deliver net zero steel by 2050, and drastically reduce CO2 emissions by 2035. The Climate Group’s SteelZero initiative is cited as a critical factor to driving this transformative decision, clearly showing the power of collective action in building a demand signal.
We build a demand for net zero steel by bringing together forward-looking businesses that use, procure and specify steel – right across the entire value chain. Through an ambitious commitment framework, our SteelZero members commit to use 100% net zero steel by 2050 with an interim commitment of 50% by 2030. This sends a strong signal to steelmakers that there’s an immediate commercial appetite for decarbonised steel products.
Some of our SteelZero members are customers of British Steel. This announcement shows that steel suppliers are not only listening to their customers’ requirement for net zero steel products but are taking action to decarbonise now. British Steel recognise that if they fail to act now and meet their customers’ expectations, they’ll lose their competitive advantage and customers in the process. Their decision not only creates a pathway to tackle the climate crisis, but future proofs their business for a low carbon world.
We’ve seen the power of demand signals from the progress of other Climate Group initiatives. When RE100 launched in 2014, the cost of renewable electricity was far more prohibitive. Now over 300 RE100 members represent an electricity demand greater than the UK or Italy. Their actions are fast-tracking the global transition to zero carbon grids, with renewable electricity cheaper and more accessible than it has ever been. Suppliers have increased production, which has further reduced the price. It has gone from impossible to a no-brainer for business. We have the same ambition for SteelZero.
British Steel’s adoption of science-based targets is one of the first promising steps in driving a similar shift for the steel industry. We’re delighted to see this type of action now. It’s crucial that others follow now so that we can halve global carbon emissions by 2030, and limit global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees.