BlueScope Establishes Strong Sustainability Initiaitves

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BlueScope Establishes Strong Sustainability Initiatives

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BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX: BLS) on the 15th of September announced their FY2020 sustainability report. The company produces various steel products across Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, China, India, Sri Lanka as well as the USA. The report details the efforts made across these markets to improve sustainability.

BlueScope is a strong advocate for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2005, the firm reduced its global footprint by roughly 30 per cent, with a 40 per cent reduction in Australian operations. The business supports the Paris agreement and aims to meet each country’s governmental goals to help support the effort to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees centigrade.

One of the highlights for BlueScope’s sustainability report is a new circular production method implemented in the New Zealand Glenbrook Mill, saving substantial costs through reusing limestone. The process is estimated to translate to 1.7 million dollars per year, preserving 24000 tonnes of limestone and 4800 tonnes of coal. The new method is believed to conserve 20,000 tC02 e (tonnes of carbon dioxide) per annum.

Further weighing in on sustainability efforts, BlueScope is partnering up with multiple entities and entering new initiatives to help support global sustainability efforts. BlueScope  Steel Limited plays an active role in building an association of rating agencies to standardise sustainable in the steel industry, with the ‘ResponsibleSteel’ certification. Specifically, Port Kembla Steelworks seeks certification by the end of 2021.

Becoming a signatory for Worldsteel’s ‘step up’ programme allows BlueScope to utilise their expertise and increase operational efficiencies for other members, helping conduct evaluations and improve overall industry footprint.

The C02 Cooperative Research Centre (CO2CRC) has also partnered with BlueScope where potential ways to reduce emissions through storage and capture methods are explored. Transportation and storage are a key efficiency opportunity, with bio-tech innovations considered, with results forecast to be reported in FY2021.

Australian Industry Energy Transitions initiatives aim to lead the way to net zero emissions integrated into supply chains. To assist in this effort, BlueScope has participated in workshops and one-on-one consultations to give light on the industry. This involvement will help develop practical plans to help the industry’s transition towards sustainability.

Despite this dedication to the future, the FY20 results for BlueScope were not as attractive in the short term. Net profit after tax is down by AUD1016 million to AUD97 million which signifies a 90 per cent drop in profitability during the year. While no guidance for FY21 has been given, favourable macroeconomic conditions are expected to help recovery.

In FY21, BlueScope aims to contribute to significant industry research papers through expert submissions, whilst continuing the 1-billion-dollar investment in expanding the low emission steelmaker at North Star. In FY21 the climate scenario analysis will support the development of long-term carbon reduction goals.

Caroline Wong

Caroline Wong is a Research Analyst at KOSEC – Kodari Securities. She writes on markets and focuses on ASX Top 300 companies. Email Caroline at c.wong@kosec.com.au.

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