ArcelorMittal: Integrating natural capital into operations and performance

Natural capital is integrated into our operations and performance. We have significant dependencies on natural capital which include water, coal and iron ore.

Steel cannot be made without water: in 2016 our intake per ton of steel was 23.7m3. Considering the clean water we discharge, our net water use per ton is 5m3.

Coal is needed for the chemical process of making steel and for providing most of the energy for manufacturing. In addition, while iron ore is abundant in the earth’s crust, deposits are in increasingly sensitive areas with an important presence of ecosystems and species. Mining accounts for one of our impacts on nature.

Other impacts from our production process are GHG and air emissions - such as CO2, CO, dust, NOx and SOx; effluent waters; residues - which are recycled, stored and landfilled; noise and soil pollution.

Our reputation is dependent on good management of the above, as are our ratings in financial markets - which increasingly take natural capital into account.

Natural Capital Protocol used
  • No, but aligns with the Protocol’s framework
Impact drivers assessed
  • Disturbances e.g. decibels and duration of noise/light
  • GHG emissions e.g. volume of CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, HFCs and PFCs etc.
  • Impact on biodiversity e.g. impact on species, ecosystems, habitats or genetic diversity
  • Marine ecosystem use e.g. area of aquaculture by type
  • Non-GHG air pollutants e.g. PM2.5, PM10, VOCs, NO, NO2, SO2, CO, etc.
  • Other resource use e.g. volume of minerals extracted, volume of wild fish caught by species
  • Soil pollutants e.g. volume of waste matter discharges and retained in soil over a given period
  • Solid waste e.g. volume of waste by classification, materials constituents or disposal method
  • Terrestrial ecosystem use e.g. area of agriculture by type, area of forest plantation by type
  • Water pollutants e.g. volume discharged to receiving water body
  • Water use e.g. volume of ground- or surface water consumed
Organizational Focus
  • Corporate
  • Project
Valuation Type
  • Qualitative
  • Quantitative
  • Value to business
  • Value to society
Geographical Scope
Dependencies assessed
  • Energy e.g. solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biofuel, fossil fuel
  • Knowledge e.g. information from nature such as biomimicry
  • Materials e.g. wood fiber, genetic resources, metals, minerals, plant and animal materials
  • Regulation of waste and emissions e.g. waste assimilation, noise and dust regulation
  • Water e.g. fresh or sea water
Value Chain Boundary
  • Direct operations
  • Upstream
  • Mining and Metals

Key findings

Due to the different context for each ArcelorMittal site/operation – from highly populated urban areas to biologically sensitive and protected rural areas –   our approach to managing natural capital is tailored for local context.

Our results are global. At our largest Brazilian steel mill, 2.6 million trees act as a green belt providing benefits such as reducing fugitive emissions and noise pollution and helping with thermal comfort. Also in Brazil, we make charcoal from eucalyptus; we manage forests that were established in once degraded pasture lands representing a total of 135,000 hectares (including protected areas) this creates a carbon positive balance. 

Carbon is a challenge in steel making since it is needed to turn iron ore into steel. To tackle this, we are building an industrial demonstration project to use LanzaTech’s proprietary microbe to produce bioethanol from our waste gases.

We also believe that third party certification of mines is important to address upstream impacts and we have been a member of the steering committee for the development of IRMA.