ACRS and CARES launch new Australasian sustainable steel certification scheme

03-Mar-2021

ACRS set to raise the bar with new sustainable steel certification scheme

Scheme enables consumers, industry & government to confidently source high quality constructional steels produced under high standards of environmental, social and ethical management

Will help combat ESG confusion through the steel supply chain

 

Australasian Certification Authority for Reinforcing and Structural Steels (“ACRS”), the leading independent steel certification authority for Australia and New Zealand, today announced the Australasian launch of a certification scheme that will dramatically improve buyers’ ability to source high quality, ethically and sustainably produced steel for construction across Australasia.

The Scheme will ensure that the public knows that steel installed in their homes, high rise commercial and residential buildings and across Australasian infrastructure meets the highest global standards.

ACRS has partnered with the leading international construction steel certification authority, CARES, to introduce its market leading Sustainable Constructional Steels Certification Scheme into the Australasian markets – to be known as the SCS Scheme (‘SCS’ or the ‘SCS Scheme’).

The Scheme ensures that construction steel entering Australia and New Zealand from anywhere in the world meets the highest global environmental, social and ethical standards, using independent certification of ESG criteria and performance indicators.

Despite Australia and New Zealand importing significant volumes of steel to meet expanding building and infrastructure needs, many existing sustainability schemes fail to provide adequate, independent verification of the supplier's claims regarding the sustainability of the materials supplied to consumers. There is rapidly increasing demand for a premium, independent verification scheme in the area of steel sustainability, that provides surety there is no producer bias, mis-representation or dilution of the expected certification process. 

Australians and New Zealanders will now be able to determine with confidence the sustainability performance of the steel procured.

Australian and international steel producers are working hard to reduce their emissions – around 7% of global CO2 emissions[1] are generated by the industry.The SCS Scheme will help steel producers and processors measure, monitor and improve the sustainability performance of their products and will strengthen industry efforts already underway to combat greenhouse gas emissions.

As construction will play a major role in post-pandemic economic recovery across Australia and New Zealand, this Scheme will help building designers, specifiers and customers make informed decisions about the materials they are buying.

 

Commenting on the Australasian launch of the SCS Scheme, Philip Sanders, CEO of ACRS, said:

 

“This is an important development not just for the Australasian steel industry but for the general public.We all look at vehicle emissions and ethically produced clothing but how about the steel that holds up our infrastructure and buildings? This internationally recognised, best-in-class sustainability scheme will help leading producers better demonstrate the sustainability of their product and it will give the general public confidence that our cities are being built with environmentally and ethically sourced steel.

 

“Global demand for sustainable steel is growing in line with increasing public and government demand.Many Australian and New Zealand government projects are demanding it.”

 

Commenting on the partnership with ACRS, Lee Brankley, CEO of CARES said the launch of CARES’ SCS scheme into the Australasian markets represented a “real turning point” for the industry:

“Recent events have confirmed, more than ever, how important it is to build confidence in the provenance of safety critical products, like steel, entering the construction supply chain. CARES is proud of its long track record in operating an SCS scheme which has gained global recognition and the partnership launched today with ACRS is a real turning point for the sector in Australia and New Zealand.”

Mr Brankley said CARES, based out of the UK, has grown its reach globally as more manufacturers and clients have sought to lock in the confidence that comes from verified, independent, third-party scrutiny:

“Whether it is constructors, their consultants or consumers, all our stakeholders are entitled to know the full story behind the products they are choosing to rely on for a secure, sustainable future.”

 

Provides a clear public benefit

The Scheme’s supplier mapping evaluation and management systems requirements provide insights into labour conditions and human rights risks in sourcing and production. The Scheme aligns to the UN convened Sustainable Development Goals - ‘The Global Goals’ - and measures and monitors a comprehensive range of criteria through the global supply chain, including ethical business practices; modern slavery, human rights and labour conditions; environmental impacts (including circular economy and climate change); fair supplier treatment and the socio-economic impacts of the steel value chain.

Raw material and transport data combined with independently verified production and life cycle emissions data supports the development of the products carbon footprint and Environmental Product Declarations – prerequisites of the scheme. This enables accurate data, for example the Global Warming Potential, per tonne of product, to be easily accessed by designers and specifiers. On product bar marking and digital product labelling allow 100% traceability on all verified products from manufacture to site.

 

Supporting international trade and commerce

The Scheme already certifies over 40 producers and suppliers in 13 countries.

Products certified under the Scheme are approved inputs for a range of international building and infrastructure rating systems.It is currently seeking recognition from the Green Building Council of Australia and is compatible with the recently released Responsible Steel Standard.

The UK’s Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) recognises the Scheme as a ‘responsible sourcing certification scheme’; with the US LEED building rating system and the Hong Kong CIC scheme also recognising its Environmental Product Declarations (EPD).

 

Will help accelerate the ongoing transition to an environmentally friendly construction industry

The Scheme assesses producers annually against benchmark sustainability performance, assisting the better performing producers independently verify environmental and social performance of their product and its production processes.

Utilising a Rosette Rating System, credits are awarded to recognise and incentivise levels of performance exceeding mandatory levels, enabling organisations to better understand and plan a ‘transition pathway’ from current performance levels to an aspirational ‘sustainable’ steel production represented by a ‘4 Rosette Rating’.This rating requires zero emission steel production, responsible sourcing, good safety record, sustainably produced and processed constructional steel, with a digital record.

For steel specifiers and procurement teams, the Scheme’s easy to access producer performance data and information allows them to more easily and accurately assess and demonstrate the expected certification requirements of the leading construction firms and government.

 

Benefits for firms seeking SCS certification

With the introduction of SCS certification, product conformity, traceability, and sustainability certification will all now be available through ACRS. Firms seeking both independent premium product and sustainability certification can now do so through one certification body.

The independence and rigour that ACRS is renowned for in Australia and New Zealand will help achieve the desired quality, environmental and socially responsible outcomes across the construction industry.

 

Additional points on the SCS certification scheme

The Scheme covers steelmaking (billets, blooms), production of intermediate materials (e.g. wire rod, slabs) and finished materials (e.g. steel bar/coil and structural steels), and fabricated materials (mesh, processed bar and welded fabrication).

The Scheme is compatible with ACRS’ traceability provisions in ACRS “Stage 1” (Manufactured Product) and “Stage 2” (Fabricated Product) certification plus the Traceability scheme for traders and distributors.

ACRS is the sole certification body in Australasia for delivery of CARES’ SCS, the internationally recognised scheme that is compatible with ACRS’ existing certification schemes and meets local market needs.



[1] IEA (2020), The challenge of reaching zero emissions in heavy industry, IEA, Paris


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