United States Steel recycled 73% more scrap steel in 2020 than it did in 2021, unveiled a sustainable steel product, made a goal to be net-zero in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2050, and identified the nine most important material ESG topics to the company.
US Steel released its 2021 sustainability report and says it reduced its Scope 1 and 2 emissions to 1.93 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per ton of raw steel, which is down from 2.31 tons in 2020. The company says increasing the efficiency of its equipment, reducing the amount of coal it uses, and transitioning to energy-efficient lighting helped with the reductions.
The company also identified its key ESG material objectives. US Steel came up with 16 items overall but broke out nine of them as specific focuses.
Among those, US Steel includes air quality, energy conservation, greenhouse gas emissions, and water quality and conservation. The company says it used an independent third party to update its materiality assessment that was originally conducted in 2019 to be more comprehensive and involve external stakeholders.
In addition to these efforts, US Steel conducted workshops addressing climate risks using the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework. The company also says it is holding its suppliers to meet its standards, and suppliers must keep documentation showing their compliance.
Emissions from steel and iron production in the United States accounted for 62.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020, according to the EPA. That is down from more than 89 million metric tons in 2011, and many sustainable steel initiatives in the country include using hydrogen, biocarbon, and renewable energy to improve production processes.
For its part, US Steel completed the acquisition of Big River Steel in Arkansas, what it calls the only LEED-certified steelmaking facility in the country. US Steel is building two finishing lines at the facility that will help it produce sustainable steel, including non-grain-oriented electrical steel.
The company also broke ground on an advanced sustainable steel mill near Big River Steel, which it says will be 75% less carbon intensive than a traditional steel production plant.
Additionally, US Steel says it recycled more than 5.2 million metric tons of steel scrap in 2021. Additionally, it recycled nearly 3.2 million metric tons of blast furnace slag last year, and more than 235,000 metric tons of steel slag, selling it for use as aggregate and in highway construction.
US Steel upgraded six electric shovels and purchased two more in 2021. The company then retired four diesel-operated shovels that it says reduced 14,500 tons of carbon dioxide at its Minnesota ore operations. The company is also converting two diesel-electric switcher locomotives to battery-electric switchers, which it says will be completed next year.
The company also added natural gas injection capabilities to a blast furnace, which it says will reduce emissions, improve efficiency, and increase the heating value of the blast furnace gas that is used to generate steam and electricity for the plant. US Steel says that will save 70,000 metric tons of carbon each year.
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