Steel production is responsible for around seven per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions and is a major contributor to the C02 emissions produced by the automotive industry. Currently, around 33 per cent of all emissions produced while making a Volvo car are from producing the steel parts.
By joining the scheme, Volvo, which has previously announced its intention to be carbon neutral by 2040, has committed to sourcing all net-zero steel by 2050.
Between now and 2040, Volvo aims to reduce the lifecycle carbon footprint per car by 40 per cent between 2018 and 2025. Its manufacturing processes and plants are powered by clean energy, and it is targeting a carbon emission reduction in its supply chain of 25% by 2025 to achieve this. Volvo Cars also looks to become a fully electric car maker by 2030, further reducing the climate impact of its vehicles.
Volvo Cars Chief Procurement Officer, Kerstin Enochsson, said: “We are pleased to join the SteelZero initiative and support its ambitions to transform the steel industry. By signalling our demand for responsibly sourced low- and zero-carbon steel, we aim to help drive an increased supply to our sector.”
SteelZero was launched in 2020 by the Climate Group. It was created in partnership with ResponsibleSteel, a steel industry-wide standard and certification body which Volvo Cars will also join.
According to the company, ResponsibleSteel will give Volvo Cars access to reliable, third-party-verified and audited information about its steel supply chain and relevant sustainability credentials, to help ensure it is responsibly sourced.
As well as CO2 reductions, ResponsibleSteel investigates other potential issue areas along the steel supply chain such as labour and human rights, engagement with local communities, water use and biodiversity impact.
Jen Carson, Head of Industry at Climate Group, said: “Volvo Cars joining SteelZero marks an important step change in the global demand signal for low-emission and net-zero steel, and a pivotal moment for the automotive industry. This sector plays a central role in driving the net-zero transition of steel. It is supporting the creation of a decarbonised steel market internationally that can enable the sector to meet its own net-zero targets and deliver a product that is truly aligned with the climate agenda.”
In Volvo’s push for decarbonising its steel, last year it announced it was working with Swedish steel maker SSAB to explore the development of fossil-free, high-quality steel for use in the automotive industry through SSAB’s HYBRIT initiative.
HYBRIT aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for iron ore-based steelmaking, with fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. If successful, it could be the world’s first fossil-free steelmaking technology, with almost no carbon footprint.