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Steel industry to launch new ResponsibleSteel certification standard by year's end

A worker walks through rows of ArcelorMittal coils in 2011 as they are loaded onto a ship bound for Macedonia from the Port of Indiana. The steel industry will soon launch a new ResponsibleSteel certification standard.

The steel industry plans to launch a new ResponsibleSteel certification standard meant to show that steel products "meet rigorously defined standards across a broad range of social, environmental and ethical criteria."

ArcelorMittal, other steelmakers, automakers and industrial associations have been working on "the steel industry’s first, multi-stakeholder certification initiative that aims to set a single, global standard for the entire ‘mine-to-metal’ steel value chain."

“I am encouraged both by the progress we have made in developing the ResponsibleSteel standard and the broad-based interest in the scheme. For a scheme like this to truly gain market acceptance we need involvement, collaboration and input from multiple stakeholder groups," ArcelorMittal Head of Sustainable Development Alan Knight said. "Steel industry participants clearly have an important role to play in its development, but an accreditation scheme created solely by the steel industry and for the steel industry would lack credibility. The multi-stakeholder aspect is critical, so the support and membership sign up we have received from mining majors, financial institutions, steel consuming customers and NGOs brings that credibility."

So far, the initiative has 19 full members and 18 associated members. Participants include ArcelorMittal, BlueScope Steel, VAMA, Voestalpine, HSBC, BMW, Daimler, IndustriALL, the International Tin Association and the International Zinc Association.

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They have been crafting the standards based on public input.

"It has also been integral in ensuring the development of the standard is sufficiently stringent — we received over 600 responses to the public consultation carried out on version three of the standard," Knight said. "With this input carried into version four, I am confident the scheme will be market ready later this year and will achieve its objective of providing the reassurance steel customers and industry stakeholders need on industry sustainability standards.”

A formal market launch is expected later this year. 

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.