At the heart of ArcelorMittal’s corporate responsibility report for 2008 is the company’s goal to deliver sustainable steel, investing $295 million in research and development in 2008. The global steel producer has also announced a new corporate responsibility strategy that segments its commitments into four priority areas — investing in people, enriching communities, making steel more sustainable and transparent governance.
In the area of environmental performance, the company has reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 36 million tons through recycling of scrap steel. The company said it recycles one ton of steel every second. In addition, 91 percent of all ArcelorMittel sites are certified to ISO 140001 standard for environmental management systems.
The company’s steelmaking operations emitted approximately 223 million tons of CO2 in 2008, which is 8.2 percent less than the previous year; however, this is mostly due to production cuts.
ArcelorMittal is also implementing energy-efficient measures across the company. Kryvih Rih in Ukraine, for example, implemented 179 different energy-efficiency measures during 2008, which resulted in savings of 19,000 tons of equivalent fuel and over 15,000 MW/h of energy.
A key focus at ArcelorMittal is to develop advanced technologies and processes that help the company operate more efficiently and implement more sustainable practices.
As an example, ArcelorMittal said its new ultra-light high-strength steels (HSS) can reduce the weight of industrial gas cylinders by 50 percent and the weight of car parts by up to 40 percent, which results in better fuel consumption and lower emissions. Currently, the company is working on the next generation of steels that have the potential to reduce the weight of an average car by a further 20 percent.
The company has also developed a new steel product for construction applications that can reduce the weight of steel columns by 32 percent, and beams by 19 percent, which can reduce the CO2 produced during construction by as much as 30 percent. The more efficient high-strength alternative to traditional steel called HISTAR was developed in partnership with the Centre de Recherches Metallurgiques in Liege, Belgium, using a pioneering “Quenching and Self-Tempering” process.
The company has also found innovative applications for a major by-product of the steelmaking process called Blast Oxygen Furnace slag (BOF). A plant like ArcelorMittal Tubarao, Brazil, produces up to 650,000 tons of BOF slag every year. Applications include road-building projects, sewage filtration, seashore protection (artificial reefs), railway ballast, and as a raw material for cement, or as a replacement for natural aggregates like stone.
Two key environmental goals include a commitment to reduce CO2 emissions 8 percent by 2020 from a 2007 baseline, and to reduce flare losses to 2.2 percent of the total production, which equates to a reduction of 600,000 tons of CO2 emissions, according to the company.