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Advancing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in Latin American steel operations

World Steel Association : 29 October, 2012  (Company News)
Over 90 representatives from across Latin America came together to look at how Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) could be rolled out through the steel industry in the region. LCA provides a method of assessing the environmental impacts of a product or material across the whole supply chain, from raw material extraction to end of life recycling or disposal.
Advancing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in Latin American steel operations

On 23 October 2012 the World Steel Association, in partnership with Ternium and Alacero, the Latin American Steel Association, held a seminar on “The Life Cycle Assessment of steel and its impact on the value chain” in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is the second LCA and Steel Seminar of worldsteel’s ongoing global LCA seminar series after the first seminar held in Beijing in July 2012.

Discussions focused on the importance of taking a life cycle approach to evaluating environmental impacts throughout the steel value chain in different market sectors. This comprehensive perspective is particularly important to demonstrate the benefits of the recyclability of steel. The event was attended by more than 90 participants including steel-producers, customers, NGOs, regulators, academics and journalists.

The World Steel Association has undertaken a series of LCA initiatives. It has developed one of the first global sector databases for life cycle inventory data. The datasets provide the most accurate and comprehensive data on the environmental profile of 15key products, representative of the spectrum of steel production. worldsteelhas also been a sponsor of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Life Cycle Initiative (LC Ini) since 2009.

Edwin Basson, Director General of the World Steel Association said: “Only by assessing the use of steel through all its phases can we truly understand the potential environmental impacts of products. Life Cycle Assessment is the best framework currently available to evaluate the full value chain environmental impact. We are pleased to learn that the concept of LCA is increasingly used in regulations and standards worldwide and that it has become a vital element to be taken into account for material decision making in product design”.

Daniel Novegil, CEO of Ternium said;“In line with Ternium’s environmental policy we support an open dialogue with all interested parties to take on the challenge of minimising the environmental impact of steel products over the whole life cycle. Steel contributes to sustainable development and has proved to be an environmentally virtuous material versus the alternatives in the automotive industry, construction and packaging applications.”

Enrique Mantilla, president of Argentine Chamber of Exporters said “It is important to include life cycle thinking into the sustainability strategies of Latin America. We need to understand the value of steel products as being part of the solution rather than part of the problem. In competition with other materials, steel has clear potential advantages when considering social and economic aspects in addition to the environmental impacts of products.”

Presentations from the seminar are available.

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