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  • Forging a sustainable future

    14 May 2018 | Corporate News

    The Tata Steel in Europe mission and strategy, launched in May last year, set out the company’s vision to become Europe’s leading steel business that is sustainable in every sense.

    But what does a truly sustainable steel business look like, and how would the intended joint venture with thyssenkrupp Steel Europe help to achieve this ambition?

    “First and foremost, sustainability is about being able to demonstrate to your stakeholders – such as governments, customers, but also society – that you will be relevant to them not just today, but also in the future,” says Roger Steens, Director Sustainability, Tata Steel in Europe.

    Understanding stakeholder expectations

    In order to achieve this, steel businesses must understand what their stakeholders expect of them in terms of sustainability. Take supply chain transparency – there is now increasing pressure on steel companies to be more open about how they operate across their supply chain, and to clearly communicate the steps they are taking to address potential supply chain risks such as child labour, or human rights abuses.

    Sustainability is also about ensuring an organisation remains relevant to its employees – including the workforce of tomorrow.

    “Talent is scarce in the steel industry,” says Roger, “and so it is hugely important to demonstrate to the younger generation that ours is an industry that is relevant to them.

    “We also need to do more to appeal to women, and to show them they have an opportunity to work in a genuinely inclusive industry.”

    Addressing climate change is another extremely important aspect of sustainability. Organisations whose activities result in significant CO2 emissions are expected to play their part in mitigating the environmental impact. For steel businesses, this means having clear strategic targets towards achieving carbon neutrality, and communicating these to stakeholders.

     

    Short and long-term benefits

    So, how would the intended joint venture with thyssenkrupp help Tata Steel to achieve sustainability across each of these areas? 

    “All of these challenges require transitions to a new way of working,” says Roger, “and the intended joint venture would strengthen our ability to deliver these transitions.”

    To take the example of climate change, Tata Steel and thyssenkrupp have both developed a number of processes to help reduce the carbon emissions  of steel production.                                                                                                         

    “There is no single technology or process that will provide the full answer to this challenge,” says Roger, “but the proposed joint venture would allow us to significantly broaden our toolbox in this area.

    “In the short-term, the potential joint venture would allow us to deliver more innovative products and services, but over the longer-term, it will help us to go much further, and to lead the way in terms of sustainability.”

     

     

    A sustainable steel business must demonstrate to governments, customers, and also society, how it will be relevant to them not just today, but also in the future.