18. noiembrie 2022

German steel industry submits proposal for uniform definition of green steel - Swiss Steel Group welcomes the presented label system for green lead markets

Following intensive committee work, the German Steel Federation presented a coherent proposal for a label system (A-E) to define and mark green steel as a joint result of the work of the German steel industry.

When is steel to be classified as "green" or climate-friendly? Up to now, there have been various definitions of different companies that have dealt with this issue.

The Swiss Steel Group, as Europe's largest manufacturer of electrical steel, represented throughout Europe and North America, can only welcome this step and sees the potential to adopt the definition as well as the label system internationally.

What was the challenge at first?

  • Creation of comparability between the different production routes, both the electric steel route, which has clear advantages in purely technological terms due to the predominant use of scrap, and the blast furnace route, which is initially technologically inferior in terms of its CO2 footprint.
  • Answering the questions of the extent to which investments that first lead to climate-neutral steel can be credited if primarily renewable energies are available, and what standards can ensure that all market participants account according to the same rules so that the various paths to transformation can also be compared and evaluated.

As green lead markets for basic materials such as green steel are a central policy building block on the way to a climate-neutral industry, it was urgently necessary to create comparability here. This is to relieve the burden of the necessary government start-up financing by creating the conditions for the creation of incentives on the demand side.

With a transparent and comparable basis for the necessary government start-up financing, companies also gain planning and investment security.

The proposal for a green steel label system now presented takes into account, by definition, transformative steps taken by companies towards emission reductions in addition to the pure carbon footprint of a specific product. This is the real advancement compared to current practices. The label system uses a classification from A = Near Zero steel production to E = Reference Threshold.  This proposal promotes the development of lead markets for climate-friendly products and contributes to the goal of decarbonizing the basic materials industry. Only with clear definitions corresponding markets can develop and subsequently relieve the initial state start-up financing required and create investment security.

One of the advantages of this label system over other systems, such as that of the International Energy Agency (IEA), is that the balance area includes not only the steel mill but also the rolling mill and is therefore closer to the finished product, which makes it easier for customers to track their purchased steel emissions. Furthermore, in addition to Scope 1 and 2 emissions, emissions from purchased materials (Scope 3.1), upstream emissions from energy used (Scope 3.3) and emissions from inbound transport (Scope 3.4) are also taken into account. Crucially, unlike other schemes, the current proposal clearly defines which two steel grades it applies to: C22 for the blast furnace route and C45 for the electric steel route. In a next step, a rulebook will be developed which clearly defines how reference values for other, higher-alloyed grades can be determined on the basis of the reference values for these two basic grades.

"The Swiss Steel Group, as the European market leader for green steel, endorses the idea of the rulebook and sees it as a strong signal for the further decarbonization of the industry. We hope that the German Federal Government and the European Commission will take this up and include it in the deliberations and talks at G-7 level with the involvement of all stakeholders," says Frank Koch, CEO of the Swiss Steel Group.


- END -


For more information:
Helmut Freiherr von Fircks, h.freiherrvonfircks@ext.swisssteelgroup.com, +41 (0)41 581 4161

Anina Berger
Vice President Corporate Marketing and Communications
Swiss Steel Group

Steeltec AG
c/o Swiss Steel Holding AG
Landenbergstrasse 11
CH-6005 Lucerne
P: +41 41 581 4121


About Swiss Steel Group

The Swiss Steel Group is today one of the world's leading suppliers of individual solutions in the area of special steel long products. In both tool steel and stainless long steel, the Group is one of the leading manufacturers in the global market and one of the biggest companies in Europe for alloyed and high-alloyed engineering steel. With almost 10,000 employees and its own production and distribution companies in over 30 countries on five continents, the company ensures global support and supply for its customers and offers them a complete portfolio of production and sales & services worldwide. They benefit from the company's technological expertise, consistently high product quality worldwide, and detailed knowledge of local markets.