Metals workers and metal sheets

The Growth of the Sustainability Stakeholder

Improving operational efficiencies can help you reach your sustainability goals.

Today, the metals sector has little time - and even less excuse - to delay action when it comes to tackling environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. With an increasing number of investors and stakeholders now using ESG criteria to evaluate company performance, the metals industry is being scrutinised more than ever - the next few steps could define the next few decades.

Many companies operating within the metals industry have focused on perfecting a single equation: the highest volumes possible at the lowest production cost available. While this ratio remains critically important, firms must now widen their gaze - it has been estimated that 14 per cent of steel industry companies’ potential value is at risk, if they cannot decrease their environmental impact 1.

How can companies start reducing, or removing, carbon emissions from their processes? And how can they make sure that, in doing so, they are not compromising company performance?

Multiple potential solutions seem to be emerging, such as the use of hydrogen during the manufacturing stage - as a direct replacement for carbon-rich coke. As well as the increasing use of electric arc furnaces compared to more traditional blast furnaces that, which rely on raw material. That said, both technologies have their drawbacks, too.

With or without major technological breakthroughs - the long-term trend is clear.

The shift toward a more sustainable and efficient global economy must continue, and it must accelerate. Which is why firms throughout the metals sector must improve operational efficiencies throughout their business. It is these efficiencies that can simultaneously strengthen a business’s bottom line - and improve sustainability. Together, with our shared commitment to change and Shell’s technical expertise – we can achieve these goals.

Hoffmann, Christian, Michael Van Hoey and Benedikt Zeumer. “Decarbonization challenge for steel.” McKinsey & Company. June 3, 2020.

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