Globally, the steel sector’s direct CO2 emissions amounted to 2.6 Gt in 2019, or 7% of total energy sector emissions and 28% of industrial emissions. (When indirect emissions are included, this total rises to around 3.6 Gt.).

Demand for steel is projected to continue rising. If action is not taken to optimize its efficiency in use, we will see an increase in absolute demand by approximately 30% by 2070.

Applying best practice in the steel industry

In 2015, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) developed the Sectoral Decarbonisation Approach (SDA), a scientifically-informed method for companies to set GHG reduction targets necessary to stay within a 2°C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels. This led to the development of a 2°C and a well-below 2°C pathway.

However, the Paris Agreement and the recent IPCC 6th Assessment Report have highlighted the need to keep warming within a 1.5°C temperature rise.

Our new methodologies, tools and guidance will build on the previously developed SDA methodology for steel to develop 1.5°C-aligned resources. They will enable companies to set targets that align with science-based decarbonization pathways within the unique context of their sector.

By setting emission reduction targets in line with this goal and defining appropriate decarbonization strategies, steel companies can help accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy and prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Initial funding for this project has been provided by ArcelorMittal.

Project participants

SBTi is the project lead and convener.

Participating in this project is possible via the following groups:

  • Expert Advisory Group (EAG): Composed of technical experts from stakeholder organisations and companies interested in setting an SBT and contributing to the project execution. Invitations for participation in the EAG consider the need for a balance of stakeholder categories, geographical diversity and gender balance.
  • General stakeholder consultation: Both industry and non-industry representatives will be able to provide feedback on each project component through workshops and webinars. SBTi will ensure a balanced participation of stakeholder categories.

Development process and timeline

The project will build on the previously developed SDA methodology to develop 1.5°C-aligned resources, delivering the following guidelines and tools:

  1. Integration of new pathways in SBTi’s target setting tool to allow modelling of targets at the sub-sector level (primary and secondary sources) and integration of sub-sector level targets at the company level.
  2. Identification and assessment of scenarios for modelling of 1.5°C-aligned near-term and long-term net-zero targets for primary and secondary steel production.
  3. Update to the SBTi target setting tool to integrate adjusted SDA calculation method.
  4. Road-testing of new target setting resources.
  5. Development of guidance for science-based target setting in the steel sector.

To socialize the resources developed as part of this project, we envision joint capacity building activities, including webinars and/or workshops.

Provisional project timeline


Coming soon


For further information on the project please contact:

  • Brenda Chan, Technical Manager, Science Based Targets

Email: [email protected]

  • Karl Downey, Senior Technical Manager, Science Based Targets

Email: [email protected]

  • Aamir Khan, Project Officer, Science Based Targets

Email: [email protected]