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About steel

Steel is the world’s most important engineering and construction material. It is used in every aspect of our lives; in cars and construction products, refrigerators and washing machines, cargo ships and surgical scalpels. It can be recycled over and over again without loss of property.

A healthy economy needs a healthy steel industry providing employment and driving growth.

Steel is everywhere in our lives for a reason. Steel is the great collaborator, working together with all other materials to advance growth and development. Steel is the foundation of the last 100 years of progress. Steel will be equally fundamental to meeting the challenges of the next 100 years.

Key facts:

  • Average world steel use per capita has steadily increased from 150kg in 2001 to 224.5kg in 2018, making the world more prosperous.
  • Steel is used in every important industry; energy, construction, automotive and transportation, infrastructure, packaging and machinery.
  • By 2050, steel use is projected to increase to be 1.5 times higher than present levels in order to meet the needs of our growing population.
  • Skyscrapers are made possible by steel. The housing and construction sector is the largest consumer of steel today, using more than 50% of steel produced.

Steel is at the core of a green economy

The steel industry does not compromise on environmental responsibility. Steel is the world’s most recycled material and 100% recyclable. Steel is timeless. We have improved steel production technology to the point where only the limits of science confine our ability to improve. We need a new approach to push these boundaries. As the world looks for solutions to its environmental challenges, all of these depend on steel.

Key facts:

  • Around 90% of water used in the steel industry is cleaned, cooled and returned to source. Most of the loss is due to evaporation. Water returned to rivers and other sources is often cleaner than when extracted.
  • The energy used to produce a tonne of steel has been reduced by 61% in the last 50 years.
  • Steel is the most recycled material in the world, with around 630 mega tonnes recycled annually.
  • In 2017, The recovery and use of steel industry by-products has reached a worldwide material efficiency rate of 96.3%.
  • Steel is the main material used in delivering renewable energy: solar, tidal, geothermal and wind.

There is always a good reason to choose steel.

Steel allows you to make the best material choice regardless of what you want to do. The excellence and variety of its properties mean steel is always the answer.

Key facts:

  • Steel is safer to use because its strength is consistent and can be designed to withstand high-impact crashes.
  • Steel offers the most economic and the highest strength to weight ratio of any building material.
  • Steel is the material of choice because of its availability, strength, versatility, ductility, and recyclability.
  • Steel buildings are designed to be easy to assemble and disassemble, ensuring big environmental savings.
  • Steel bridges are four to eight times lighter than those built from concrete.

Steel cares for its community.

We care about the health and well-being of both the people who work with us and live around us. Steel is local – we touch people’s lives and make them better. We create jobs, we build a community, we drive a local economy for the long term.

Key facts:

  • For 2017, the world steel industry reported distributing 1,384 billion USD to society directly and indirectly, around 97% of its revenue.
  • Many steel companies build roads, transport systems, schools and hospitals in the areas around their sites.
  • In developing countries, steel companies are often more directly involved in the provision of healthcare services and education for the wider community.
  • Once established, steel plant sites operate for decades, providing long-term stability in terms of employment, community benefits and economic growth.
  • Steel companies generate jobs and substantial tax revenues which benefit the local communities in which they operate.

Steel enables innovation. Steel is creativity, applied.

Steel’s properties make innovation possible, allowing ideas to be achieved, solutions to be found and possibilities to be reality. Steel makes the art of engineering possible, and beautiful.

Key facts:

  • New lightweight steel makes applications lighter and more flexible while retaining the required high strength.
  • Modern steel products have never been more sophisticated. From smart car designs to high-tech computers, from cutting edge medical equipment to state-of-the-art satellites.
  • Architects can create any shape or span they desire and steel structures can be designed to suit their innovative designs.
  • New and better ways of making modern steel are invented every year.
  • In 1937, 83,000 tonnes of steel were needed for the Golden Gate Bridge, today, only half of that amount would be required.
  • Over 75% of the steels in use today did not exist 20 years ago.

Let’s talk about steel.

We recognise that, because of its critical role, people are interested in steel and the effect it has on the global economy. We are committed to being open, honest and transparent in all our communications about our industry, its performance and the impact we have.

Key facts:

  • The steel industry publishes data on production, demand and trade at national and global levels, which is used for analysing economic performance and making forecasts.
  • The steel industry presents its sustainability performance with 8 indicators on a global level every year.
  • The steel industry proactively participates in OECD, IEA and UN meetings, providing all the information required on key industry topics which have an impact on our society.
  • The steel industry shares its safety performance and recognises excellent safety and health programmes every year.
  • The steel industry collects CO2 emissions data, providing benchmarks for the industry to compare and improve on.

Source: Worldsteel Association