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SteelZero Q&A member series: Trane Technologies

9 November 2023, 9:00 UTC 4 min read

In this blog series, we speak to our members of SteelZero - the growing global network of businesses committing to buy and use 50% low emission steel by 2030, setting a clear pathway to using 100% net zero steel by 2050 at the latest.

Scott Tew, Vice-President, Sustainability & Managing Director of the Center for Energy Efficiency & Sustainability (CEES) for Trane Technologies spoke to us about why the company joined SteelZero, and what they want to see from global policymakers as we look ahead to COP28.

Why did Trane Technologies decide to join SteelZero?

As a global climate innovator and leading provider of efficient and sustainable heating and air conditioning ventilation systems, we've long prioritised decarbonisation.

Our finished products use a lot of steel, so joining SteelZero – and collaborating at each stage of the process as we continue our journey to net zero – made a lot of sense. We need and appreciate the industry frameworks that are enabling us to challenge what’s possible. 

How do you plan to meet SteelZero’s emissions targets (50% low emission steel by 2030, 100% net zero by 2050)?

The good news is: our journey towards net zero is well underway. To date, we’ve worked with our suppliers, including Nucor, to better understand how we can achieve at least 50% low carbon emission steel in the next seven years. We're looking to procure an even higher percentage of low carbon steel as we enter the next decade. 

In fact, Trane Technologies is the very first company in our sector to secure purchasing agreements for low emission steel. This steel is manufactured with high recycled content in a process almost 80% less carbon intensive than traditional blast furnace steel, and is net-zero for scopes 1 and 2 through offsets and renewable energy VPPAs. 

What are the opportunities for green steel in the US and beyond?

Globally, there are huge opportunities. Across heavy steel consuming sectors, there's an appetite for rethinking carbon intensive supply chains.

More and more companies like Trane Technologies are pledging to use low carbon materials and slash product emissions. This in itself is a step forward. But what we need now is for steel manufacturers to ramp up production of greener materials.

"The main takeaway is: We're not an island. Companies across multiple sectors are joining us in generating demand for green steel. It's a multisectoral transition, and manufacturers and purchasers are equal parts of the solution."

How have your customers and suppliers responded to your membership of SteelZero?

It’s been very welcomed! Our customers are delighted that - less than one year after announcing our purchase agreements - we’re already putting low carbon steel into residential products for homes, in addition to leveraging the same steel in products for commercial buildings including data centres, schools and hospitals. 

Our customers are on the decarbonisation journey with us, with many of them tracking their own carbon footprints and looking for ways to adjust and reduce their overall environmental impact.

As a result, they need companies like Trane Technologies to continue stepping forward with innovative solutions. And they don’t have to wait until the end of the decade: there are technologies and solutions that exist today.

What would you like to see from global policymakers as we head towards COP28?

We want policymakers to understand that the technologies needed for us to move the needle already exist.

Often, lawmakers have questions like: ‘Do the technologies exist at scale in the economy to make a difference?’ The answer to that is: ‘Yes. No more waiting. We can move today.’ We don’t have to wait until all conditions are perfect before we take steps towards decarbonisation.

We may not have zero-emission steel today, but we certainly have lower emission steel. Businesses are stepping up, and we urge policymakers to do the same. In other words: don’t simply wait for the next big innovation before taking action, because there's plenty we can do today to make a difference. 

What’s more, policymakers must lead by example. Government-owned buildings and properties should also be part of the net zero transition, using already available green technologies.

What would your message be to other businesses that are interested in joining SteelZero?

There's no downside to joining SteelZero; doing so presents a unique opportunity to learn more about what’s happening in steel decarbonisation throughout different regions of the world.

SteelZero has enabled deeper collaboration with like-minded businesses, and a laser-focus on what companies must do today versus what they should consider doing in 2030 and beyond. Joining SteelZero provides a meaningful platform for every company to be heard, and come away with tools and frameworks for improving their operations.

Trane Technologies is a global climate innovator. Through their strategic brands Trane® and Thermo King®, and their portfolio of environmentally responsible products and services, they bring efficient and sustainable climate solutions to buildings, homes, and transportation. Learn more about our SteelZero initiative.