Compass 2022 Video - Sustainability and Climate Action at BlueScope

In this video from Compass 2022, proudly supported by COLORBOND® steel, Gretta Stephens, Chief Executive of Climate Change and Sustainability at BlueScope, discusses BlueScope’s commitment to sustainability and climate action.

In this transcript from the video, Ms Stephens outlines BlueScope’s climate targets, breakthrough technologies, the significance of ResponsibleSteel™, the sustainability credentials of BlueScope’s products including COLORBOND® steel, and what BlueScope is doing about embodied carbon.

What does sustainability and climate action mean at BlueScope?

Sustainability is key to our purpose, to strengthen our communities for the future. It is also one of the things that matter most to our stakeholders, including our customers. Climate action is central to our approach and is integrated into our corporate strategy.

What are BlueScope’s climate targets?

We have built on the work that we started years ago to reduce the emissions intensity of our operations and products, setting ourselves the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions across all our operations by 2050.

This net zero goal is underpinned by two greenhouse gas emissions intensity reduction targets by 2030 – across our steelmaking and midstream operations, including painting and coating.

How is BlueScope going to meet its climate targets?

Achieving our 2050 net zero goal is dependent on key enablers that include breakthrough technologies, the availability of competitively priced renewable energy and hydrogen, the availability of raw materials and supportive policies.

We know we can’t achieve net zero on our own, so we will continue to collaborate across our value chain, including partnering with our customers and broader stakeholders.

Breakthrough technologies at BlueScope

The steel sector is going to require breakthrough technology to deliver a wholesale shift to low or zero emissions, but there are also incremental steps we can, and are taking, to improve our emissions performance within current technology.

Our Port Kembla Steelworks in New South Wales, Australia’s largest steel production facility, is front and centre in exploring breakthrough technologies. There are some exciting projects underway including joining forces with Rio Tinto, we will research and design low-emissions processes and technologies, including exploring the direct reduction of Rio Tinto’s Pilbara iron ores.

These collaborations are part of BlueScope’s climate action fund of up to $150M over the next five years. We are very excited – as we believe these projects and others will help take us to the cutting edge of current technologies to push us all to the next phase and bridge the technology gap.

Our long-term vision for Port Kembla is a manufacturing precinct recreated on green supply chains across multiple sectors that will sustain demand for renewable energy, hydrogen and, possibly, other emerging technologies. At its heart, our goal is a steelworks producing low-emissions steel to feed into industries manufacturing the products that Australia needs for the transition to renewable energy.

What is ResponsibleSteel™?

Alongside our action on climate, for more than 10 years, BlueScope has played a foundational role in establishing ResponsibleSteel™, helping to realise our shared vision for a sustainable steel industry. ResponsibleSteel™ is the global steel industry's first multi-stakeholder sustainability standard and certification program. The standard includes requirements for steel companies to take action on 12 principles including, climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, and it ensures transparency around emissions reporting and disclosure.

What is the significance of ResponsibleSteel™ site certification for Port Kembla Steelworks?

Our Port Kembla Steelworks achieved ResponsibleSteel™ certification earlier this year. This was not just a milestone in BlueScope’s sustainability journey, it was also significant on a global scale. BlueScope was the fourth steelmaker in the world to obtain certification under the ResponsibleSteel™ Standard, and Port Kembla was the first site in the Asia-Pacific region to be certified.

What does ResponsibleSteel™ site certification mean to BlueScope’s customers?

We believe that certification reflects the quality of our operations and how positively we seek to engage with our stakeholders, in particular, our customers, suppliers, employees and our communities.

BlueScope has long held the view that ResponsibleSteel™ certification can give our specifiers and customers confidence in the environmental, social and governance performance of our steelmaking facilities. Certification of our Port Kembla Steelworks can help these customers to meet their climate objectives and manage supply chain risks through steel specification.

What are the sustainability credentials of BlueScope’s products?

We are also committed to developing responsible products which enable sustainable outcomes. There are two elements to this:

  • the sustainability credentials of the products themselves and how they are manufactured, including product transparency and stewardship and
  • how these products support our customers to achieve sustainable outcomes, including meeting their climate goals.

BlueScope and ‘responsible products’

For key products in the COLORBOND® steel family, we clearly communicate environmental impacts over the product lifecycle via our Environmental Product Declarations or EPDs.

A number of COLORBOND® steel products are also certified to the widely recognised ecolabel - Global GreenTag GreenRate™ - achieving the highest rating, ‘Level A’.

Credentials such as these can help our customers and broader stakeholders to achieve points under green building rating schemes such as Green Star.

These product credentials are supported by company-wide initiatives including our Supplier Code of Conduct and Responsible Sourcing Standard.

How does steel enable sustainable outcomes?

If we look at steel as a material itself, it is central to a circular economy – one where resources and materials remain in use for as long as possible. Leveraging steel’s strength, durability and recyclability, a circular steel economy is one where products are designed for effective and long-term application, and then repaired, re-used or recycled, rather than discarded. We believe the steel products we make today can be the resources of tomorrow.

Steel is also an enabler - it is critical to underpinning the transition to renewable energy in many sectors – being key to the components required for wind towers, solar farms and transmission infrastructure. So as a material, steel has a significant role to play in decarbonisation.

And what about COLORBOND® steel specifically?

COLORBOND® steel, further supports a shift to a circular economy, through industry leading coating technologies that are designed for durability and resilience in Australia’s climate, helping to keep the product in use for longer.

Our Thermatech® solar reflectance technology*, featured in every core colour (except Night Sky®) of COLORBOND® steel’s Classic and Matt finishes, along with the now increased range of paler tones available, and our lowest solar absorptance product COLORBOND® Coolmax® steel can help support cool roof solutions with low levels of solar absorptance. These products and colours can help address issues such as Urban Heat Islands.

What is BlueScope doing about embodied carbon?

A number of our products can directly support our customers to achieve embodied carbon savings relative to standard building designs – these include:

  • high strength steel grades which can reduce the volume of steel required in certain applications and
  • efficient flooring systems that can reduce the total volume of concrete required, and
  • our light gauge steel framing products can come to the fore in adaptive reuse applications, supporting the retention of existing buildings which can also result in significant embodied carbon savings.

As I highlighted earlier, our significant investment in emissions abatement, including breakthrough technologies, will directly reduce the embodied carbon of our products and support the decarbonisation of our built environment.

Further information:

See more videos from Compass 2022



COLORBOND® steel Compass Video - August 2022


Gretta Stephens - Chief Executive of Climate Change and Sustainability, BlueScope

Trademark Acknowledgements

COLORBOND®, Coolmax®, Thermatech®, ® colour names and BlueScope® are registered trademarks of BlueScope Steel Limited, ABN 16 000 011 058.

*Results will depend on roof colour, roof shape, level and location of insulation, type, location, shape, and function of the building.