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Steel Sector can Grow Sustainably in Harmony with Nature

June 28, 2022
 

Human history, or human civilization, is a microscopic blip in the timeline of our planet. However, in this infinitesimal fraction of Earth’s existence, we have managed to plunder her resources to an extent that threatens to be irreversible. More than anything else, World Environment Day should be seen as a time for reflection – on what we have done over the last year, of what we hope to do over the next year, and how our challenges have evolved.

We have all witnessed the devastation caused as the Coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc across the world. Every time a forest or natural habitat is destroyed, we may just risk exposing ourselves to a new outbreak. The human species’ rampant misuse of natural resources threatens our planet. The effects of climate change are there for all to see and experience – severe weather conditions, rising temperatures, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity and threats to global food supply. The effects of our collective impact on our planet is all interconnected, which will be felt by everyone on Earth in our lifetimes and that of our future generations.

This non-complimentary relationship we have developed with our planet, in the most part, stems from the need for economic growth. But we also need to understand and believe that the economy is a subsidiary of nature and not the other way round. It is us, and our decisions, that make the economy and create the world around us. We need to make conscious decisions to be in better harmony with other forms of life on Earth. After all, we are talking about our life on Earth. And, there is #OnlyOneEarth.

Apart from us taking environmentally conscious steps as individuals, the onus also lies on governments and industry to ensure sustainable growth that matches economic demand without harming our planet. Here is where steel comes in – an indispensable requisite for most industries.

Sustainability has been at the core of Tata Steel’s corporate DNA since our inception 115 years ago. With steel being an infinitely recyclable material, and testament to Tata Steel’s commitment to investing in a circular economy, we commissioned a 0.5 MnTPA steel recycling plant at Rohtak in Haryana in 2021. This plant will contribute to conserving valuable resources and reducing our industry’s environmental impact.

The steel sector’s contribution to the global greenhouse gas emissions is around 8%. This is among the highest among all industrial sectors, though far behind bigger polluting industries like energy.  One of the most significant strides to adopt efficient clean energy technologies and circular economy projects that underpin Tata Steel’s transition to becoming a climate neutral organisation was the commissioning of a 5 tonne per day CO2 capture plant at Jamshedpur to extract CO2 directly from blast furnace gas. This was a pioneering first in India by any steel company.

The global steel industry is set to account for nearly 35% of fossil fuel-related emissions by 2050. There is an increased push on the industry for transitioning to best available decarbonisation technologies. Tata Steel is working towards early adoption and scaling up of new age technologies to accelerate this transition.

Our approach to managing natural capital is underpinned by our strategies on low carbon transition, reducing dependence on freshwater consumption, pollution control, maximising value from waste, exploring opportunities in the circular economy and enhancing biodiversity across the value chain. We are leveraging digital technology to enhance our environmental responsiveness and are committed to conserving natural resources while ensuring sustainable growth and fostering strong relationships with communities. We are conscious of our responsibilities towards the environment and communities and will continue to pursue a greener and better tomorrow.

The overarching theme of World Environment Day 2022, #OnlyOneEarth, not only resonates with Tata Steel’s sustainability philosophy but is also reflected in everything we are trying to do to make the steel sector more responsible and to ensure sustainable growth that is in harmony with nature.

Author:

Vice President (Safety, Health & Sustainability), Tata Steel

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