Major governments commit to green steel procurement

At the COP28 meeting in Abu Dhabi this week, major purchasers of emission-intensive materials used in public construction projects strengthened their commitment to create market demand for low-emission steel, cement and concrete.

The governments of Canada, Germany, the UK and US, member countries of the Industrial Deep Decarbonization Initiative (IDDI), pledged to adopt timebound commitments to procure low-emission steel, cement and concrete, says the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido). Alternatively, they pledged to adhere to emissions reduction thresholds for whole project life cycle assessments to achieve net zero emissions in public buildings and/or built infrastructure.

The commitments were made through IDDI’s Green Public Procurement Pledge.

The commitments are “an important milestone to help drive the global decarbonisation of heavy industries by creating a market for low and near-zero emission steel and cement. Governments are among the top buyers of materials for major infrastructure projects. Public procurement is estimated to be responsible for 25% of global construction revenue,” says Unido director general Gerd Müller in a note seen by Kallanish.

Stefan Wenzel, German parliamentary state secretary for economic affairs and climate action, deems accelerating demand for green steel to be “one of the major levers for decarbonising our industries”.

“Governments have the power to instigate change through public contracts, kick starting the improvements needed to decarbonise heavy industry,” says UK energy security and net zero minister Graham Stuart.

The four governments also committed to support innovation and the deployment of breakthrough technologies by stimulating demand for, and the commercialisation of, near-zero emission materials.

They also committed to support the development and use of harmonised emissions accounting standards and definitions for low and near-zero emission construction materials, starting with steel, cement and concrete. To accelerate this process, at COP28 the IDDI Secretariat is releasing a white paper outlining a potential pathway towards harmonised greenhouse gas emissions accounting standards.

In addition to the four signatories, the governments of Austria, Japan and United Arab Emirates have endorsed the GPP Statement of Intent to work towards key aspects of the Pledge.

Adam Smith Poland