Volvo signs SteelZero for net-zero goals
New initiative by Climate Group to reduce steel CO2 emissions Metal Tech News – June 1, 2022
Last updated 7/1/2022 at 9:21am
Volvo Cars has become the first carmaker to sign up with the SteelZero initiative, a net-zero steel pledge, which commits the European automaker to stringent carbon dioxide-based steel sourcing requirements by 2030, with the final goal of purchasing all its steel from fossil-fuel-free sources by 2050.
Steel production is a major source of CO2 emission for the automotive industry, averaging 33% of all production-related emissions for a new Volvo car in 2021. Globally, steel production is responsible for nearly 7% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
"A sustainable approach to steelmaking is not just good news for the environment, it is also good business as it limits our exposure to future climate risks and regulations," said Volvo Cars Chief Procurement Officer Kerstin Enochsson. "We are pleased to join the SteelZero initiative and support its ambitions to transform the steel industry. By signaling our demand for responsibly sourced low- and zero-carbon steel, we aim to help drive an increased supply to our sector."
SteelZero was launched by the Climate Group in partnership with ResponsibleSteel, an industry-wide standard and certification body that Volvo has also joined. Through ResponsibleSteel, Volvo gains access to reliable, third-party verified and audited information about its steel supply chain and relevant sustainability credentials, helping to ensure the company is responsibly sourced.
"Volvo Cars joining SteelZero marks an important step change in the global demand signal for low emission and net zero steel, and a pivotal moment for the automotive industry," said Jen Carson, head of industry at Climate Group. "This sector plays a central role in driving the net zero transition of steel. It's supporting the creation of a decarbonised steel market internationally, that can enable the sector to meet its own net zero targets and deliver a product that is truly aligned with the climate agenda."
In addition to CO2 reductions, ResponsibleSteel focuses on other important issues in the steel supply chain, such as labor and human rights, engagement with local communities, water use, and biodiversity impact.
Just last year, Volvo announced a collaboration with Swedish steelmaker SSAB to jointly explore the development of fossil-free, high-quality steel for use in the automotive industry through SSAB's HYBRIT initiative.
As well as SteelZero, Volvo was the first carmaker to work with SSAB and HYBRIT – which aims to replace coking coal with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen with the hope of being the world's first fossil-free steelmaking technology with virtually no carbon footprint.
All of this is largely due to Volvo's own ambitions to be a wholly climate-neutral automaker by 2040.
In terms of its own operations, all of Volvo's European plants run on 100% clean electricity, while its Torslanda plant in Sweden is fully climate-neutral, according to the carmaker.
Furthermore, last year, Volvo introduced an internal carbon price of 1,000 SEK (US$102) for every metric ton of carbon emissions from across its entire business, another first for a carmaker.
This self-imposed tax is to future-proof its organization and be ahead of the regulatory curve, as it anticipates and favors more governments implementing carbon price in coming years.