26 July 2023

Delivering long-term sustainability commitment at Tata Steel’s North Wales site - one year on

In 2022, Tata Steel announced an ambitious sustainability commitment for its Shotton site. One of the bold short-term targets was to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 20%, with the ambition for Shotton to become carbon neutral well in advance of the deadlines set out by the Paris Agreement and in particular, the UK greenhouse gas emissions net zero target of 2050. Now, a year on, the site is delighted to reveal the impressive results it has achieved so far.

Tata Steel’s Shotton plant, situated in North Wales, has been producing market-leading steel products for over 125 years. Recognising that the world is facing a climate emergency, the Shotton team committed themselves to providing a positive environmental legacy, with four key themes of sustainable development: 

1.    Reducing the site’s carbon footprint
2.    Developing and producing products and services that support sustainable construction
3.    Protecting and expanding the biodiversity that co-exists on site
4.    Maximising material efficiency and achieving zero onsite waste.

After a year of dedicated efforts, the Shotton site, which manufacturers the Colorcoat® range of pre-finished steel, is pleased to reveal the progress it has made on its sustainability commitment.

EV Vans at Shotton

Carbon Footprint

A huge part of the 20% reduction target set in 2022 was achieved by switching the sites electricity supply to 100% renewable sources, bringing the electricity use to zero carbon. From April last year, the site has been supplied by a combination of sources such as solar, wind, biomass, and hydro, with the supply fully certified by UK Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs). This major step reduces the site’s annual CO2 emissions by 16%.

Furthermore, over 70 onsite vehicles are now fully run on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), as an alternative to conventional diesel and some onsite vehicles have been switched to fully electric. More recently, a trial of an electric HGV has also taken place in collaboration with haulier partner Sunhill. The trial included local deliveries to customers based near to the site and is now being evaluated in terms of benefits based on load and delivery data.

Going forward the site is already looking at manufacturing initiatives such as heat recovery, but also alternative fuels to deliver a further reduction in emissions on site.

Products and Services

Products and Services Shotton Sustainability

Tata Steel is already renowned in the industry for manufacturing and supplying highly durable pre-finished steel products to the highest European standards. In fact, in 2022 the EN 10169 standards were updated, and Tata Steel was pleased to announce that its Colorcoat Prisma® and Colorcoat HPS200 Ultra® pre-finished steel products surpassed the requirements of RC5+, providing excellent corrosion resistance. 

In addition to this, Colorcoat® products offer a range of carbon reduction options, such as Optemis Carbon Lite, a fully certified direct reduction scheme verified by leading assurance organisation DNV, as well as Confidex Sustain®, the world’s first CarbonNeutral® building envelope Guarantee in the UK available through Colorcoat® supply chain partners. Both schemes are backed up with product specific environmental product declarations (EPDs) to EN 15804 and ISO 14025, which give construction professionals the tools to assess the environmental impact of product choices over the life of a building.

Pre-finished steel for roofs and walls offers opportunities for innovation both in their developments, but also in the applications they are used with. Among the solutions currently being explored are solar reflectance pigments on one of its pre-finished steel products, Colorcoat Prisma®, to help reduce a building’s operational carbon. The solar reflectance pigments in dark colours will allow them to effectively perform in the same way as light-coloured shades in terms of reflecting sunlight, which could reduce operational carbon emissions associated with mechanical cooling. 

As well as this, the manufacturer aims to build transparency of the products with an independent assessment scheme and is also investigating solvent free alternatives, with products produced in a fundamentally more carbon-efficient way, such as different curing methods. 

Protect Biodiversity

Bees at work in Shotton

The Shotton site already contains a range of protected areas, including the Shotton settlement lagoons and reed bed habitats (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and Ramsar areas (Wetland Sites Designated to be of International Importance). Not only this, but the site is proud over the years to have the largest Common Tern colony in Wales. With this in mind, Tata Steel has continued to promote biodiversity, with the installation of beehives and bird boxes around the site. In 2022, Tata Steel commissioned an audit from Enfys which gives recommendations for further improving the biodiversity, with an ambition to achieve The Wildlife Trusts’ Biodiversity benchmark. This is a nationally recognised standard for commitment to biodiversity and responsible land management. If successful, Shotton would be the only site in North Wales to hold this standard.

Material Efficiency 

HVO Vehicles

The Shotton site had originally targeted 100% recovery of waste on site – and this target has almost been achieved, with nearly 90% of onsite waste currently being recovered. As a result of this, the site has decreased its overall waste by almost 10% in the last five years. Another positive statistic to add to this is that 99.8% of supplied paint is either being used or recovered. To further this objective, the site is aiming to reduce its plastic packaging and waste. 

Lindsay Andrews, Marketing Manager for Colorcoat® from Tata Steel, spoke on this progress, saying: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been able to reduce our annual carbon footprint and achieve the target we set ourselves for the first year. Of course, this is just the beginning and whilst huge strives won’t come overnight, we have a solid plan in place to achieve our long-term goals.  

“The next steps for us are to work with the relevant stakeholders to continue decreasing the carbon footprint of our site, increase material efficiency, as well as further promoting biodiversity and bettering our products and services. Ultimately, our goal remains the same as it did one year ago, to offer even more sustainable, but durable pre-finished steel solutions to the construction market, while also reducing our own carbon footprint.” 

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