Telling the story of how steel contributes to New Zealand

The local steel industry is a significant contributor to wellbeing in New Zealand, through economic activity, good jobs, environmental stewardship, and a focus on health and safety.

However outside of the industry itself this is not well understood.

We want to change that by telling the story of exactly how our industry benefits New Zealand and are excited to share our new  New Zealand Steel Industry Case Study Framework 

Why do we need a case study framework?

As well as its contribution to economic, social and environmental wellbeing, the New Zealand steel sector is a crucial part of construction and infrastructure projects from roofing and cladding through to reinforcing and structural beams.

Construction procurement processes are complex and the focus is commonly on least-cost rather than value-added, on capital costs rather than the costs over the life of the building, and on reducing embodied carbon without considering other environmental and social consequences.

In the context of steel building products in New Zealand, this is particularly relevant when comparing local versus overseas supply chains. Heavy fabricated steel is the predominant building system choice for commercial and industrial structures.

Steel produced and manufactured in New Zealand comes from companies that are required to meet high environmental, health and safety and quality standards. In contrast, we know little about the stewardship of imported fabricated steel, which can be sourced from companies and nations that do not have the same level of regulations, policies and commitment to improvement as we do in New Zealand.

It is widely known that supply chains are coming under scrutiny due to poor environmental stewardship and issues such as modern slavery, and a way of avoiding these practices entirely is to make use of the local industry here in New Zealand.

To demonstrate exactly how the local steel industry contributes to New Zealand, we have worked with sustainability consultants thinkstep to develop the Steel Industry Contribution to New Zealand Case Study Framework. This framework that measures how our industry delivers to the New Zealand’s Living Standards Framework (LSF) and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Additionally, as New Zealand has set targets under these frameworks, we can communicate directly how it contributes to these.

By expressing the sector’s contribution to wellbeing in the context of these frameworks we have a common and consistent story to tell that can be understood by all.

As part of developing this framework we worked on an example project – the Air New Zealand Logistics Centre, a 100% locally made and constructed success story. Read an overview here.