Launch of Steel Sustainability Australia

Steel Sustainability Australia (SSA) offers a new certification program that provides a clear pathway for steel businesses to operate more responsibly and transparently while being part of an environmentally and socially sustainable future.

SSA opened for applications at the end of January 2023. Several organisations have already applied for certification, with the audit process underway. 

The SSA team has been working with several steel distributors, manufacturers, roll formers and reinforcing steel suppliers on developing business cases and multi-site certification. 

Over the last few months, SSA has also hosted several webinars and briefing sessions, including a joint event with the Green Building Council of Australia and thinkstep-anz.

About the SSA program

The SSA program was developed by the Australian Steel Institute (ASI). Superseding ASI’s Environmental Sustainability Charter (ESC), the SSA program engages the entire steel value chain by certifying downstream steel businesses such as fabricators, roll formers, and reinforcing processors, and verifying upstream steel producers against best practice environmental, social and governance (ESG) indicators aligned to the principles supporting the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Responsible Product Framework.

The SSA certification program:

  • Assures certified steel suppliers and their products are sustainably manufactured and processed and are sourced through responsible and ethical supply chains
  • Promotes steel as a sustainable material choice, supporting mega trends such as embodied carbon reduction and circularity/circular economy
  • Provides specifiers, engineers, builders and government with the means to identify sustainable steel suppliers through transparent and consistent measurement of environmental, social and health impacts across the entire steel value chain
  • Is a recognised initiative under Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Responsible Product Framework, rewarding points under Green Star rating tools
The 5 star rated 300 George Street in Brisbane. "A key factor in Multiplex’s selection of Beenleigh Steel Fabrications for the structural steel subcontract was the fact they are a Gold Member of the ASI’s Environmental Sustainability Charter." (Multiplex)

Benefits for specifiers and procurement professionals

From compliance with ESG indicators to Green Star Points, SSA certification offers a range of benefits for specifiers and procurement professionals:

  • Access sustainable steel suppliers: allows project owners to identify sustainable steel suppliers who can deliver projects to the desired specification. Listing of SSA Suppliers available on website.
  • Transparency of measurement: the SSA certification program’s transparent measurement of the ESG impacts of products and processes provides assurance that the steel supply is reducing its environmental and social impact.
  • Developed by sustainability leaders: the SSA certification program was developed with thinkstep-anz, one of the region’s leading sustainability consultancies.
  • Green Star Points: SSA certified suppliers contribute varying Green Star Credit points* on a Green Star project.
  • Responsibly sourced products: ensures the steel supply is responsibly sourced from manufacturers that are actively managing the environmental and social impacts of their steel manufacturing operations.
  • Best practice for ESG performance: certifies compliance to ESG sustainability indicators across the entire steel value chain in one program, setting a best practice sustainability standard for steel suppliers and their products.
  • Backed by ASI: backed by the Australian Steel Institute, the peak industry body representing the entire steel supply chain, who manage a range of other compliance solutions including SCA and ShedSafe.
  • Independently audited: certification to the SSA program is assessed by independent auditors.

* Refer to the GBCA website for further information on the Green Star program

Benefits for SSA certified suppliers

Downstream steel businesses like fabricators, roll formers, and reinforcing processors can derive a raft of benefits from SSA certification:

  • Competitive advantage: suppliers can quote with confidence on projects with sustainability specifications. Listing of SSA Suppliers available on website.
  • Can improve bottom line: through delivering operational efficiencies and reducing business costs.
  • Green Star Points: contribution of Green Star Credit points* on a Green Star project.
  • Tiers of achievement: the program offers three varying levels of achievement, making the certification journey easier.
  • Best practice sustainability: demonstrates and provides assurance that your operations  are meeting best practice ESG sustainability performance expectations.
  • Promotes your brand: promotes to potential clients your company’s ESG sustainability credentials in one program.
  • Independently audited: certification to the SSA
    program is assessed by independent auditors.
  • Resources and discounts: access to sustainability tools and resources, plus discounts available to ASI and SRIA members.

Levels of certification 

The SSA program is a recognised initiative under the GBCA Responsible Products Framework (RPF). The SSA certification program assesses compliance to a mix of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria and provides 4 pathways (L1, L2A, L2B, L3) to achieve certification. Certification to each SSA level has corresponding Responsible Product Values (RPVs) that meet the requirements of the 4 Green Star Responsible Products Credits under the ‘Responsible’ category in the Green Star Buildings rating tool. 

Level 1: The entry level of SSA certification (4 RPV) can be combined with other valid certifications to achieve Green Star credits. 

Level 2: Achieves ‘good practice’ recognition (10 RPV) and offers two pathways to comply; 2A certification, where a verified product-specific EPD can be provided and 2B certification, where a verified EPD cannot be provided.  

Level 3: Aspirational level of certification assesses extended compliance requirements to achieve ‘best practice’ recognition (15 RPV) under GBCA’s Responsible Products Framework.

Application process

SSA applicants are subjected to an annual,
site-based desktop audit conducted by an independent auditor to assess compliance to the requirements relevant to the chosen level of certification (SSA L1, 2A, 2B or 3). The audit assesses the management systems, and on-site operations and practices in manufacturing the finished steel product.

Recognition of ESC certification

As of January 2023, SSA has replaced ESC. For suppliers with current ESC certification, specifications calling for ESC may still be in place (and valid) for pre-existing projects until ESC certificate expiry (no later than 30 June 2023).

Further information

Contact Jerusha Beresford (ASI Sustainability Manager) on ssa@steel.org.au or 0419 253 016.

Visit: https://www.steelsustainability.com.au/

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