3. Products that create sustainable infrastructure

With the twin challenges of climate change and a growing world population, our long-term prosperity will depend on high-quality construction, energy and transport infrastructure that’s sustainable to produce, flexible to use, and endlessly recyclable. This is especially important for the world’s cities, which will house nearly 70% of the population by 2050.

Why is this important to us?

The future demands a vast investment in infrastructure in roads, bridges and railways, hospitals, schools and offices, in clean energy generation, water infrastructure, and coastal defences. Global wind power capacity alone is projected to increase eightfold by 2050. More and more, global commentators look to new approaches to building design and construction to ensure that the resources used have the optimum impact over their lifespan. Steel has an important role to play here.

The commercial imperative

What kind of challenges do we face?

As the demand for more sustainable construction materials rises, steel will have to prove its credentials against other alternatives, such as concrete and timber. This represents both a challenge to our industry, and a significant opportunity. We have a track record in developing and commercialising more sustainable products for infrastructure customers, and want to build on this in the years to come. A large part of the challenge surrounds the legacy that today’s infrastructure creates for the future, such as how useful and how valuable the materials we use now will be at the end of their current life.

What do we need to do?

We are investing in innovation – developing new products and engineering components for the construction and infrastructure sectors, and working alongside our customers to meet their needs and anticipate future trends. But we need to work harder to prove and communicate the contribution steel can make to sustainability. Although steel can be produced with half the energy that was required 40 years ago, we still need to reduce that and cut the carbon emitted, and ensure more steel is re-used or recycled at the end of its useful life. This is a key element of ‘circular economy’ thinking, which we explore in outcome 4.

What is the potential to create value?

The steel industry is meeting much of the world’s need for sustainable construction and infrastructure. It is strong enough to build skyscrapers, versatile enough to meet any construction challenge, and endlessly recyclable at the end of its useful life. Our researchers can calculate where steel will bring added sustainability value compared with other materials, due for example to its lower ‘global warming potential’ score. And our innovations can ensure that modern infrastructure produces fewer carbon emissions and is more energy-efficient – from bridges, to railways, to the turbines used in the renewable energy sector.

Our stakeholders’ expectations

The expectations of the governments, public sector organisations and the commercial customers who commission large-scale buildings and infrastructure projects are changing. We are seeing third-party environmental certification schemes, such as BREEAM in the UK and LEED in the US, as well as labelling schemes like the ECCA Premium® label in Europe and the ABNT Eco label in Brazil. Many major infrastructure projects now demand these certifications, which in turn is driving demand for construction materials which are more sustainable than conventional alternatives. However, in today’s economic climate, the construction industry is under pressure to ensure this is possible at a competitive cost.

The outcome we need

Steel is the first-choice material for the governments and public bodies that commission and approve building and infrastructure projects, and the firms that design and construct them. They know steel is part of the answer, not part of the problem. 

Achieving our new outcome

We want to review the contribution our products make to sustainable development and so we have set up a new research project to examine how the new products in our development pipeline can create sustainable infrastructure and to what extent these are meeting the needs of the industries we serve. Across the company we need to assess how to create further value by collaborating with architects, engineers and direct customers to develop new products.

What's new?

News 21.09.2016 Steel goes circular: The Circular Building
News 19.03.2015 ArcelorMittal steel in Warsaw underground
Our Stories01.05.2016 Steel goes circular: re-using sheet piles
Our Stories01.04.2016 Collaboration on the Great Lakes
Our Stories01.04.2016 Getting on the front foot in Ostrava: dealing with dust
Our Stories01.04.2016 Fertile thinking: farmers benefiting from steel slag
Our Stories01.04.2016 Clearing the air: new products for indoor environments
Our Stories01.04.2016 New ideas, new technology: interns in Argentina
Our Stories01.01.2015 Engineering low-carbon solutions for buildings
Our Stories01.01.2015 Sustain Our Great Lakes
Our Stories01.01.2015 Measuring impact in South Africa
Our Stories01.01.2015 Liberia: Mobilising the response to Ebola
Our Stories01.01.2015 Creating shared value at the base of the pyramid
Our Stories01.01.2014 Rails of steel
Our Stories01.01.2014 Strong, sustainable, inspirational steel
Our Stories01.01.2014 The science behind the steel
Our Stories26.06.2012 Steel on the move
Our Stories01.04.2012 Clearing the air
Our Stories31.03.2012 The house of the future
Our Stories01.01.2012 Making zero the hero
Our Stories01.01.2011 Saldanha's scorpions
Our Stories01.01.2011 Transforming tomorrow in emerging markets
Our Stories01.01.2010 Engaging with local communities
Insight30.05.2015 Steel packaging and the circular economy
SD Update19.01.2017 Gender diversity award for ArcelorMittal Ostrava
SD Update31.10.2016 Moroccan steelmaker heads for 90% wind-powered steel
SD Update10.10.2016 Largest exporter in Bosnia & Herzegovina
SD Update25.09.2016 Judiciary honour for social outreach work in Brazil
SD Update27.06.2016 ArcelorMittal assesses contribution to South Africa
SD Update16.05.2016 Nafta: review of 2015
SD Update13.05.2016 How does ArcelorMittal create value for society?
SD Update03.12.2015 Presenting lightweight solutions at Megatrends India
SD Update12.11.2015 The building you can build again and again
SD Update30.07.2015 Building for the future: the b home
SD Update17.04.2015 Kazakhstan and Ukraine: Ethics days
SD Update26.02.2015 Kazakhstan: best workers honoured
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: researching technology
SD Update01.01.2015 US: Maximising water re-use
SD Update01.01.2015 Engaging with our suppliers: Buying safe products
SD Update01.01.2015 Kazakhstan: Treating mine water
SD Update01.01.2015 US: Girls in STEM
SD Update01.01.2015 South Africa: Renewable energy
SD Update01.01.2015 US: Encouraging interest in STEM
SD Update01.01.2015 The social value of steel
SD Update01.01.2015 Brazil and South Africa: Nuclear energy
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: The integrity campaign
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Employment and turnover
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Collective bargaining agreements
SD Update01.01.2015 South Africa: Building the skills the economy needs
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: adapting to the downturn
SD Update01.01.2015 US: Success in both steel and mining
SD Update01.01.2015 Europe: European Works Council
SD Update01.01.2015 Morocco: Reducing accidents to zero
SD Update01.01.2015 Training: Performance and progress
SD Update01.01.2015 Mining: Managing security
SD Update01.01.2015 R&D: Innovations in our energy processes
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Performance and progress
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Progress and performance
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Health and safety day
SD Update01.01.2015 Americas: Continued progress
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Performance and progress - Resources
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Maximising value from residues
SD Update01.01.2015 Europe: The Energize programme
SD Update01.01.2015 Performance and progress
SD Update01.01.2015 Jean-Sebastien Thomas: a personal contribution
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: R&D
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Performance and progress - Resources
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Women in Leadership programme
SD Update01.01.2015 Morocco: Developing a local scrap economy
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Valuing differences
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Performance and progress
SD Update01.01.2015 Progress and performance: Assessing our suppliers
SD Update01.01.2015 South Africa: Zero effluent discharge (ZED)
SD Update01.01.2015 US: Encouraging women into steelmaking
SD Update01.01.2015 Poland: A broad-based programme
SD Update01.01.2015 Romania: Meeting targets
SD Update01.01.2015 Customers: Managing sustainability enquiries
SD Update01.01.2015 Performance and progress
SD Update01.01.2015 Conflict minerals: tracing our supply chain
SD Update01.01.2015 Liberia: The resettlement and livelihoods programme
SD Update01.01.2015 Measuring our impact
SD Update01.01.2015 Local procurement: BBBEE in South Africa
SD Update01.01.2015 Morocco and Czech Republic: Employee volunteering
SD Update01.01.2015 South Africa: Environmental disclosure
SD Update01.01.2015 Liberia: Responding to Ebola
SD Update01.01.2015 Bosnia & Herzegovina: Responding to the floods
SD Update01.01.2015 Mining: Managing risks from our tailings dams
SD Update01.01.2015 Algeria: Supporting women
SD Update01.01.2015 Liberia: Protecting natural habitats
SD Update01.01.2015 Mexico: A mixed year
SD Update01.01.2015 Railways and bridges
SD Update01.01.2015 Liberia: Managing expectations
SD Update01.01.2015 Flood defences
SD Update01.01.2015 France: living up to our promises
SD Update01.01.2015 Baffinland, Canada: committed for the long term
SD Update01.01.2015 Europe: EU2030
SD Update01.01.2015 Performance and progress
SD Update01.01.2015 Replacing hazardous compounds
SD Update01.01.2015 Reducing zinc
SD Update01.01.2015 Energy efficiency: insulation
SD Update01.01.2015 R&D: New ways to deal with CO2e
SD Update01.01.2015 Liberia: Responding to Ebola
SD Update01.01.2015 R&D: Low-impact steelmaking
SD Update01.01.2015 Kazakhstan: Health checks
SD Update01.01.2015 Performance and progress
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Tackling stress
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Raising health awareness
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: R&D
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: Performance and progress
SD Update01.01.2015 Czech Republic: Modernisation programme at Ostrava
SD Update01.01.2015 Czech Republic: Aiming to be a non-smoking company
SD Update01.01.2015 Canada: Challenges for Dofasco
SD Update01.01.2015 Global: supporting research students
SD Update01.01.2015 Bosnia and Herzegovina: Mixed blessings
SD Update01.01.2015 Germany: apprenticeships volunteering
SD Update01.01.2015 Future leaders scheme
SD Update01.01.2015 France: Investing in university-level talent
SD Update25.06.2013 Presenting new ultra lightweight car door solution