Mapping the global flow of steel: From steelmaking to end-use goods

Our society is addicted to steel. Global demand for steel has risen to 1.4 billion tonnes a year and is set to at least double by 2050, while the steel industry generates nearly a 10th of the world's energy related CO2 emissions. Meeting our 2050 climate change targets would require a 75% reduction in CO2 emissions for every tonne of steel produced and finding credible solutions is proving a challenge. The starting point for understanding the environmental impacts of steel production is to accurately map the global steel supply chain and identify the biggest steel flows where actions can be directed to deliver the largest impact. In this paper we present a map of global steel, which for the first time traces steel flows from steelmaking, through casting, forming, and rolling, to the fabrication of final goods. The diagram reveals the relative scale of steel flows and shows where efforts to improve energy and material efficiency should be focused.