Sustainable Development – The Need of the Hour
“Sustainable development is the masterful balance of meeting our own needs without jeopardizing future generations’ ability to do the same. “
In today’s situation when the world is fighting against global warming and scarcity of natural resources, it’s vital for companies in any industry to adopt sustainability in its core functionality. Let’s take a look at the steps taken by steel industry to reduce negative impact and enhance positive impact on the environment.
The key environmental issues identified by Worldsteel that are relevant for the steel industry are as follows:
Efficient use of resources, re-use and recycling are imperatives for sustainable development. For the steel industry, the impact of steel during the entire life cycle of products, the use of by-products, recycling, energy and water management are important focus areas. Steel’s two key components are iron – one of Earth’s most abundant elements – and recycled (scrap) steel. Once steel is produced it becomes a permanent resource for society – as long as it is recovered at the end of each product life cycle – because it is 100% recyclable without loss of quality and has a potentially endless life cycle. Its combination of strength, recyclability, availability, versatility and affordability makes steel unique.
This is a global issue that requires global solutions. Worldsteel acts as a focal point both for steel industry knowledge exchange and a shared global approach. It also works with the International Energy Agency, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and, through its members, the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.
The reduction of CO2 from steel production is an established priority, as is the reduction of GHG emissions during the life cycle of products that use steel. Companies incorporate strategies into their businesses to improve processes and drive product innovation in this direction.
Environmental Management Systems
An environmental management system (EMS) enables an organisation to identify, monitor and control the environmental aspects of its business. It is part of a company’s overall management system.
A sound EMS helps a company to understand how its activities may affect the environment and to know what action to take to safely prevent and minimise impacts. It should make employees accountable for their environmental performance. Aside from compliance with industry standards and legal requirements, such systems also support the continuous improvement of efficiency in the use of resources, pollution prevention and reduction, and product stewardship. They do so for example by helping set measurable objectives and targets.
Local Environmental Issues
On a local level, steel companies manage the environmental impacts of their businesses. For example, they try to reduce the amount of water they use and make sure that the water that goes back into the environment from the steel plant is clean. They also ensure that biodiversity and air quality is not threatened by the plants’ activities.
Efficient use of resources, re-use and recycling are imperatives for sustainable development. For the steel industry, the impact of steel during the entire life cycle of products, the use of by-products, recycling, energy and water management are important focus areas. Environmental sustainability is also related to the development of new products and technologies, which in the long-term will provide clear and lasting positive benefits for the environment including society and businesses.