The Sustainable Steel Council (SSC) is a group of industry leaders committed to the circular economy and New Zealand’s low-emissions future.
Our programme of work will support New Zealand’s steel sector through.
Members of the Sustainable Steel Council are committed to a vision where steel is valued as a critical enabler in New Zealand’s journey to a low emission economy. This vision is achieved by an industry which has a strong history of being financially sound, taking leadership in delivering to the living standards framework, measured across human, social, natural and financial / infrastructure capitals.
Our members commit to the following goals aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Climate change Taking a holistic approach based on the Living Standards framework to help address climate change, a global challenge that affects everyone, everywhere.
Waste and the Circular Economy Strive to optimise the eco-efficiency of products throughout their life cycle. Design for upcycle, re-purpose, reuse and recycling. Separate the technical from the biological.
Safety and Health Foster well -being of employees, provide them with a work environment that is, as far as reasonably practical, without risks to their health and safety, enabling them to return safely to their families at the end of each working day.
Diversity, inclusivity, engagement with Iwi and life-long learning Create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs. Reduce inequalities through universal policies, paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalised populations.
Product quality and resilience Strive to meet future challenges of climate change and our shaky isles.
Transparency, ethics and legal compliance Build our knowledge of sustainability and willingly share it with others.
How can we inspire and expect others to follow – if we ourselves are followers? Our board members are committed to leading the way towards sustainability through the actions they take in their own lives.
“I bring a bit more of a general perspective and the view of a small business into the discussions. The resources of a small business are always under pressure, so while changes have to be made to improve sustainability in the metals sector it needs to be balanced with achievable demands and goals. Therefore providing tools and support for small businesses is an important aspect of the Sustainable Steel Council’s role.
“Personally, for me, sustainability means helping people to live in a way that sustains them. From being a good welder at 9am to being a good parent at 9pm. If our work force lives well, the shop floor will work well, businesses will do well and a community will flourish. That’s the ideal, our current reality falls short of this, it takes time to build processes, good ways of doing things and personal character; but that’s a key part of what sustainability looks like for me.”
“For me, sustainability is about being as responsible as possible in the present. This means being crystal clear and aligned on what the material sustainability topics are for the industry so we can prioritise resources, commit to action and improve. It’s about optimizing what we do right now to give us the best chance to overcome any challenges the future might bring.
“From a personal perspective I’m conscious of what I eat. My diet is now more plant-based than ever before. I try to align my choices with responsible industries as much as possible. I continuously update my understanding of the sustainability challenges they face and expect their leaders to do the right thing. For industries to be attractive, they must ensure they have their house in order around sustainability.
“I’m very conscious of what the world might look like for the next generations. I see sustaining our environment as making sure that there is a future for those generations and safeguarding it. I’m also very mindful of diversity and inclusion within my working life and beyond it and am constantly educating myself to ensure that my decisions are contributing to a more sustainable future.”
Scott was a key collaborator alongside Nick Collins in creating the questions and format for the SSC audit tool and has helped take some companies through that tool. “For me sustainability is an awareness of the circular nature of everything we do, however we impact things. As a scientist there’s no such thing as free energy, every time you take something out of the ground there’s a consequence. So sustainable principles really motivate me in how I approach work and professional aspects.
“My master’s thesis was around fuel additives in catalytic converters and fuel mechanisms in terms of cars, so I am conscious of factors of pollution. I’ve been driving an electric vehicle for the last three years and bought solar panels for my house, reinsulating my house to match European building codes. My kids also ensure we’ve been plastic bag free for the last three years. These are all little things which each on their own may not mean too much – but collectively build into a large, impacting journey.
Troy has helped develop resources for SSC and is our chair. She strives to live sustainably in her own life.
Troy was responsible for the metals industry undertaking the first industry assessment of impact using the Living Standards Framework, which looks an inter-generational wellbeing and measures performance against the Four Capitals of Human, Natural, Physical and Social.
“In my own personal life, I live my values. I’ve got solar panels, good insulation, I have planted a lot of trees, my favourite activity is a good beach clean-up, I’m vegan, I have been driving a hybrid vehicle for 10 years, and I offset wherever possible – even with my son because I didn’t believe in population growth. I also volunteer for a range of organisations. In my professional life, I am a strong advocate with increased engagement with Maori and Women in Leadership and STEM. I am also very interested in how industry can improve social capital by establishing strong community trust. I also consider myself an expert in enabling industry to transform in readiness for the future.”
“It’s important that the SSC exists, so each of the membership bodies can access and work together using the same tools and benchmarks. The SSC will ensure the entire industry has a uniform approach, rather than trying to address sustainability individually, as we are intrinsically linked within the steel sector.
“My opinions have changed during my time with the SSC, I’ve always thought sustainability in terms of product. Now I’ve realised it’s wider than that and includes far wider and broader contributions to society. If you don’t have sustainability in your business, it’s going to be increasingly difficult getting tier 1 and tier 2 projects in the future.”
Nick has a closet of different hats dedicated to metal related industries in New Zealand. When he has his Sustainable Steel Council hat on, he’s been leading and driving the reinvigoration of the SSC. Prior to his time with Metals, Nick led Beacon Pathway, a not for profit which was focused on making New Zealand’s homes and neighborhoods more sustainable.
“In my private life, I am committed to living more sustainably. I am currently trialing the work commute from the central city to Manukau by electric bike and train. I’ve also been installing alternative technology on our houses for years; including PV three times and solar water heating twice, and am endeavoring to install PV on a central city townhouse, which even has a green roof. Rainwater collection and reuse in the home and garden is another passion. Such are the challenges of reducing your footprint, while still ensuring you still have fun… but not at the expense of future generations.”
“Our job in the SSC is essentially to look after the entire industry. I built my current home in 2000. If I knew then what I knew now, I think I would’ve built it to be far more sustainable. We use rooftop water, and we have a black water treatment system that goes back to the ground so in terms of water we are totally self-sufficient and nothing is wasted, nothing goes into sewer or sea and all the water that is on the property remains on the property. The water we reclaim also helps to grow a lot of produce in my garden to consume.
“I have been able to witness the world change for the worse and essentially destroy itself. I think it’s important if anyone could even do a little part to help guide people in the right direction towards thinking about circularity and sustainability. I also believe metals are fantastic materials to use and can be recycled.”
The original SSC was established in 2008 by HERA, (Heavy Engineering Research Association), a time when sustainability wasn’t yet a mainstream consideration. SSC failed to gain traction and in 2015 council members voted to put it on hold.
“The community wasn’t having these conversations yet, so the previous council were probably a little ahead of their time.” (Scott Morrison, Board member)
But the time for reinvigoration is now.
“I think there’s a time for everything. I think the wider community is becoming more aware; particularly with climate change issues. The younger generations are becoming more of a prevalent portion of the consumer base. Their drive around the expectations of what industry does will be very different.” SSC Chair and CEO of HERA Troy Coyle
With raised global and domestic consumer expectations and awareness, the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendments Act and the global commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, businesses and industries, must consider the shifting criteria for the social licence to operate. Neglecting sustainability, will ultimately make business unsustainable.
SSC is leading the industry by exploring then actioning, the opportunities and challenges of sustainability to provide realistic steps that will not only be financially profitable, but enriching for our wider communities.
There are many challenges that exist in this industry, like the current technological barrier against zero-embodied carbon steel and an industry mindset that sustainability actions = cost, green washing, time. However, steel is inherently a circular material, and will continue to be the backbone material of our modern world. And sustainability, is all about efficiency and profit.
What we can do is drive positive attention and education on steel and sustainability. The process of the SSC audit and certification is just the seed. When changing consumer expectations, government regulations and procurement rules are added to the mix, it becomes clear that businesses and industry must begin growing their willingness to improve upon sustainability, and in doing so, reap the many benefits.
To date, the SSC has developed its certification tool, which was expanded from outlined priorities identified by SSC stakeholders in a materiality analysis. This certification tool reflects Treasury’s Living Standards Framework and relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals.
We have now completed the pilot phase of the tool, and SSC certification and membership is a recognised criterion in the New Zealand Green Building Council’s Green Star rating scheme.
As for our next steps, SSC is targeting 60 more audits, developing formalised governance, finalising and developing more tools and resources based off in-person discussions from the pilot phase . . .
. . . and keeping you updated on our progress as we aim to increase our communications. All of this will continue to enable SSC on its way in becoming a “highly active and visible voice for the steel and metals industry.” (Scott Morrison, Board member)