Steel-manufacturing giant ArcelorMittal is being accused of greenwashing for its use on carbon capture technology, which by some analysts is considered ‘unproven’ at best.
The criticism comes from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and its analysis of the company’s strategy to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
On the one hand, the analysis criticizes the steelmaker’s reliance on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology to lower the carbon footprint of steel manufacturing, as it questions the effectiveness of CCUS and points out its ‘long history of failure’.
On the other hand, IEEFA compares the approach to steelmaking that ArcelorMittal has in Europe and Canada, which involves a transition from blast furnaces to green hydrogen-powered steelmaking, to its approach in India, where it plans to build new coal-powered blast furnaces.
Hence, part of the possible accusations revolve around the company’s potential to be perceived as greenwashing, as ArcelorMittal appears to have two separate decarbonization plans for developed countries and for the developing world.
Namely, the global steelmaking giant is now building two new coal-fired blast furnaces after entering the Indian market through its joint venture with Japanese Nippon Steel called ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS India).
And although these blast furnaces are set to be equipped with CCUS under the company’s ‘Smart Carbon’ pathway, its flagship CCUS facility in Belgium only captures a fraction of the operation’s CO2 emissions.
Hence, IEEFA has voiced concerns of how ArcelorMittal may come under scrutiny for using CCUS as an excuse to install more blast furnaces.