Reinforced cross-industry collaboration between the steel and automotive industries to address environmental challenges Chongqing, China, 18 November 2015.

The World Steel Association (worldsteel) and the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA) have co-hosted a major conference entitled "Green Manufacturing, the Future of Steel and Automotive 2015".

The conference, held at the InterContinental Chongqing Hotel between 17-18 November, focused on sharing ideas and perspectives on how to reduce the environmental footprint of both industries by applying Life Cycle Assessment techniques and by greater collaboration between the two industries.

Over 170 delegates attended the event.

Edwin Basson, director-general of worldsteel opened the conference and Guangning Zhang, chairman of CISA, and Xingyong Tu, chief economist at the Municipal Government of Chongqing, delivered welcome speeches.

Tiejun Luo, vice director of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), delivered a key note address on policy development for China’s industrial materials industry and Qiuxia Wen from the Policy Research Centre for Environment and Economy, Ministry of Environmental Protection (PRCEE, MEP) gave a presentation on green credits for environment management in the automotive and steel industries.

Key topics discussed included lightweight vehicle trends, the latest innovations in steel applications, and eco-design for automotive materials. The outlook for the steel and automotive industries, integrated solutions for lightweight vehicles and optimisation of the steel-automobile supply chain were also discussed.

“Steel producing and automobile manufacturing are interdependent throughout the supply chain. Both are major global industries, which have a common mission to ensure sustainable economic, environmental and social development,” said Dr. Edwin Basson, director-general of worldsteel. “Reinforced cross-industry collaboration will allow the two industries to face their common challenges and transform their business models to enhance their sustainability credentials,” he added.

According to Dr. Basson, steel offers incomparable qualities for the automotive industry. “Not only does it provide superior strength, durability, formability and ease of use, but over the course of its life cycle it is also more environmentally friendly in terms of carbon emissions when compared to alternative materials,” he explained.

“Using a life cycle assessment methodology in this way gives a more accurate picture of a vehicle’s carbon footprint. With further innovation, steel will continue to be the optimal material for sustainable automotive manufacturing,” he argued.

Cees ten Broek, director, WorldAutoSteel, said: “Steel generates seven to 20 times fewer primary production emissions than its competitors, which secures its position as the material of choice for green automotive products. The steel industry is strongly committed to supporting innovative vehicle models for future mobility, such as are those emerging in China and other regions, with the latest in steels and steel technologies.”

Zhang Ning, deputy secretary general, Society of Automotive Engineers of China (SAE-China) commented, “The key issues in the current automotive industry are energy saving and improving efficiency through innovation. As China is the world’s largest country for both steel producing and car manufacturing, how we address these issues has a global impact. We believe that a closer partnership between the automotive and steel industries will help achieve our common goals and China should play a critical role in leading the collaboration.”