There is a need for stronger partnerships between governments and the steel industry if the role of the latter within the context of progressive industrial policy is to be understood, claims the World Steel Association (worldsteel) in a recently published position paper on environmental change that highlights the contribution of the steel industry to a low carbon society.

Edwin Basson, director-general of the World Steel Association (worldsteel) has acknowledged that the steel industry is both CO2 and energy intensive by nature, but its central role in enabling other industrial sectors to mitigate CO2 emissions is crucial and this also must be recognized.

According to Mr Basson, “In order to achieve a low carbon society it is extremely important to have cohesive and consistent environment policies around the world. First, steel is a highly competitive industry and about 35% of steel is traded internationally, thus a global level playing field is a necessary condition,” he said.

Basson said that fair competition should not be compromised due to inequity in carbon policy and added that governments should take into account the full life cycle of products when creating new regulations. “This will help to create reliable and predictable frameworks for cost effective energy and environmental policies,” he said and suggested that governments should promote a circular economy approach, which would lead to: low waste, reduction in the amount of materials used and encouragement of re-use and recycling of all materials.

Basson said that progress in breakthrough technology development in steelmaking must be maintained or accelerated and this would require the financial burden to be shared by both government and the private sector.