Environmental protection legislation
EU Circular Economy
Steel is 100% recyclable, losing none of its unique properties when properly processed. The European steel industry works hard to ensure that the steel it produces can be reused, recovered and recycled: steel is a ‘permanent’ material. The industry also ensures that steel production’s by-products are put to the best possible uses.
Primary and secondary raw materials are integral and interdependent parts of EU raw materials policy. A level playing field for the supply and use of raw materials and inputs is a prerequisite for reducing waste volumes.
The EU legal framework for product policy must recognize the concept of the ‘permanent’ material, providing the right incentives to foster their proper use. Extended producer responsibility and the Ecodesign Directive should include measures to encourage the use of these permanent materials and to introduce durability, reparability, dismantling and recyclability requirements into products’ design. Steel is a uniquely flexible material, in this regard.
EU Industrial Emissions Directive
SSAB’s Nordic production facilities are subject to the European Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and preparations to comply with these requirements are in progress. In connection with the IED, the Best Available Techniques (BAT) Reference Document is to be followed. Some of the BATs have been updated (e.g. Iron and Steel Production as well as Large Combustion Plants), some are currently being updated (e.g. Ferrous Metals Processing Industry).
Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECA) for maritime traffic in the Baltic Sea, North Sea, English Channel and the Atlantic seaboard of the US mean that the sulphur content in fuels for vessels may not exceed 0.1%. The amended Sulphur Directive entered into force on January 1, 2015.
The Sulphur Directive is an important act toward achieving a sustainable environment. SSAB seeks ways to minimize sulphur emissions by route and transport mode optimization, transport efficiency management, minimizing empty runs, improving loading rates, subcontractor management and changes in contract structures, e.g., fuel and bunker efficiency clauses. A specific example as it relates to the dry bulk transports between the steelworks at Raahe, Luleå and Oxelösund in the northern Baltic Sea is the new LNG-fuelled large bulk carriers, representing the latest in technology and innovation. The vessels will be in commercial operation in the second part of 2018 and CO2 emissions per tonne of cargo transported will be reduced by 40-50% in comparison to the current vessels in operation.
REACH, the European Union’s chemicals regulation, aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment against the risks of chemicals and to enhance the competitiveness of the EU chemical industry. SSAB manufacturers, imports and uses substances and articles to which REACH applies. We submit information about the registration of substances and of any hazardous substances in the supply chain. SSAB employs a safety data sheet management system to improve management of up-to-date information about the use of chemicals. In addition, SSAB communicates with stakeholders about any requirements regarding REACH and SSAB’s products when obligations change. SSAB works together with the supply chain to replace substances regulated by REACH with safer ones as soon as possible. Queries about REACH matters can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS)
In May 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) released their final rule defining “Waters of the US” (WOTUS) subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The rule was an attempt by the agencies to provide clarity to the definition of such waters following Supreme Court decisions on the matter in 2001 and 2006. Instead of facilitating efficient and effective regulatory protections for the country’s navigable waters, the final rule would have broadened EPA and Corps jurisdiction. This could have resulted in an increased need for permits and the potential for litigation that will negatively impact the operations of key aspects of our economy. Further permitting delays can result in lost opportunities for economic growth and job creation. The rule is subject to a number of lawsuits across the country from states and stakeholder groups. On February 28, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order directing the Administrator of the EPA and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works to review the WOTUS Rule and publish for notice and comment a proposed rule rescinding or revising the rule, as appropriate and consistent with law. EPA and the Corps issued a proposed rule last fall to repeal the 2015 WOTUS rule. The two agencies plan to issue the final repeal rule as well as publish a proposal to replace that rule with a common sense clarity regarding Clean Water jurisdiction.
SSAB will continue to monitor this situation as additional clarification is provided and rule challenges progress.