In North America, 11 ArcelorMittal facilities are located directly adjacent to the Great Lakes, an area of great natural significance, which supports many habitats and species. For many years, we have worked in various public-private partnerships and spearheaded stakeholder engagement to ensure the Great Lakes region is a global leader in land and water conservation.
Our key partnership is with Sustain Our Great Lakes (SOGL), a consortium of regulatory agencies and government environment services dedicated to the conservation of the region. SOGL’s mission is to restore and protect fish, wildlife and habitat throughout the basin by leveraging funding, building conservation capacity and focusing partners and their resources on key ecological issues.
We are the sole corporate partner, and have invested $8.4million in SOGL since 2008. So far, SOGL as a whole has provided more than $74million in grants, which has been matched by local bodies, meaning that around $159 million has been invested in total since the partnership began.
Being part of SOGL has created positive and helpful working relationships with a number of stakeholder groups, and ensures we have regular communications with important organisations such the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and others. By supporting the environmental interests of the Great Lakes region, we are building trust with our stakeholders and demonstrating leadership in tackling the issues that matter to them.
The SOGL model has proved so successful that we’ve continued to work with SOGL’s administrator, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, on a more localised model of the programme in the form of the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund. Specific to the Chicago and Calumet regions of Illinois and Indiana, Chi-Cal Rivers Fund has leveraged more than $26 million in funding in this region since 2013.
Another good example is our Calumet Land Conservation Partnership with the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. Together, we have invested more than $2.5 million since 2013 to bring together not-for-profit organisations from Illinois and Indiana to work onland conservation issues around the region.
These partnerships demonstrate how working with others with the same goals achieves so much more that what we could do alone – a principle we follow when managing conservation at our own sites. Our facility in Burns Harbor, Indiana, for example, is adjacent to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and includes a rare habitat which we have been working to restore since 2011. As part of that, we have been opening our doors to the local community and teaching children about conservation. ‘Mighty Acorns’, a programme in partnership with the Dunes Environmental Learning Center, The Field Museum and the Shirley Heinze Land Trust, brings students to our site to take part in environmental conservation activities. Projects like these are really important in helping our communities understand how we are contributing to the local area, while bringing environmental thinking to the next generation.