Tata Steel discuss their recent ‘Steelie’ award for their involvement in sustainable construction products
Tata Steel has won a ‘Steelie’ for taking a new approach to demonstrating that steel is a highly sustainable construction product. The company took the top environmental prize at this year’s awards, announced on 16 October, after becoming the first steel company to operate an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) Programme – a means by which the environmental impact of products can be calculated and reported.
Judged by a number of international LCA experts, from outside the steel industry, the award for ‘Excellence in Life Cycle Assessment’ demonstrates Tata Steel’s commitment to product sustainability and proactive use of LCA. Steelies are the steel industry’s highest awards and are presented by worldsteel each year.
Nick Coleman, Principal Researcher, Product Sustainability, for Tata Steel commented ‘A Life Cycle Assessment approach is critical for optimum resource decisions to be made, and such an approach provides a means of evaluating the environmental credentials of steel products from raw material extraction through to reuse and recycling at end-of-life. This is vital to ensure that the sustainability of steel is understood, and its use maximised. It is an approach that delivers both transparency and clear reporting of the sustainability of steel. It is for that reason that we embarked on the somewhat unique journey to become an Environmental Product Declaration Programme Operator.’
Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are increasingly being used for communicating the LCA attributes of products. This is particularly the case in the construction sector where EPDs are used to assess the environmental performance of buildings.
Tata Steel now have the ability to provide their customers (and wider stakeholders) with externally verified EPDs that comply with EN15804 and ISO14025 standards. Furthermore, Tata Steel is developing the programme to provide EPDs for specific customer requirements, for the project based construction sector. The combination of transparent reporting and customer focus is key to demonstrating steel’s sustainability credentials.
Barry Rust, Sustainability Manager for Tata Steel’s construction sector stated ‘Being able to supply product and project specific EPDs enables us to help our construction supply chains to meet ever increasing demands for higher building certification ratings such as LEED and BREEAM as clients recognise the importance of owning and operating sustainable buildings.’
Tata Steel are also talking to other parts of the steel supply chain regarding the use of the Tata Steel Programme for the production of their own EPDs. In this way the Tata Steel scheme can be utilised to increase the provision of steel EPDs in the market thereby furthering the transparency and reporting of steel based products.