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Case Study: Worldsteel

An in depth analysis of the sustainability issues and prioritisation of risks associated with steel making for Worldsteel.

Business challenge

TDI Sustainability was commissioned by Worldsteel to complete a study mapping the environmental, social and governance issues associated with steel production.

We were also tasked with providing guidance to Worldsteel and its members on appropriate courses of action to minimise risks, both downstream and upstream, and to help meet stakeholder expectations for responsible sourcing within the industry.

Approach and deliverable

To begin our analysis, we applied 17 criteria to the material inputs of the steel supply chain. From this we produced gradings of public association with each environmental, social and governance issue for each material.

This body of research resulted in the Materials Matrix report which is designed to be used in conjunction with country of origin data to offer meaningful analyses and to indicate where further supply chain due diligence assessment is required.

In addition, we mapped the voluntary standards landscape and civil society initiatives associated with the steel industry, identifying themes and aspirations that are shared with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas, a key resource for this sector.

Client benefits and broader industry impact

The Materials Matrix report provides a general analysis of the sustainability issues that face the steel industry today, presented in a format that facilitates preliminary judgements on the relative importance of each issue for each material.

This insight is applicable for all Worldsteel member businesses wherever they are in their responsible sourcing journey, and can also promote useful dialogue on collective routes forward for member businesses.

Project partners and methodology

In researching and producing the Materials Matrix report, we took on several roles. As project manager, we facilitated discussions between the member businesses of Worldsteel and its responsible sourcing task force, a role which frequently required us to bring together parties with different interests and conflicting mandates.

We also planned and conducted three meetings of the Worldsteel stakeholders to discuss the strategy for the organisation. From these meetings, we devised a strategic plan, and then delivered a work plan for its implementation.

To create the profiles of the steel supply chain materials for the Materials Matrix report, our researchers and analysts built – and continue to maintain – a repository of nearly a thousand references. We have also developed a second database to house information on steel supply chain alloys. In mapping the steel industry’s voluntary assurance standards and initiatives, we worked with over 30 different civil society, industry and standard setting associations and organisations.

TDI Sustainability was responsible for the writing, editing, full production and branding of the Materials Matrix report which will be renewed in 2020.

“Worldsteel has benefitted from TDI Sustainability’s fundamental knowledge of the risks and impacts associated with steel making from plant to mining project. TDI Sustainability’s skill is in thinking from the position of our members and presenting evaluations and assessments of public policy issues in a way that is enabling and facilitates the path to responsible sourcing.

The thoroughness of their approach is appreciated, as is their ability to respond to a flexible mandate in a timely fashion. We now have greater confidence in finding our way to establishing a compliant risk management approach to sourcing for our membership.”

Vanessa Reidman, Sustainability Manager, Worldsteel