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Activists Call on Steelmakers to Embrace the Cleaner Future of Green Steel

NOVI, Mich. — Activists called on steelmakers today to quickly deliver on green steel at the Great Designs in Steel industry conference today in the Detroit suburb of Novi. 

In a series of digital ads, mobile billboards, and a newly launched green steel FAQ webpage, activists from Public Citizen and Mighty Earth called on steel industry insiders and automotive executives to shift production practices away from fossil fuel based steel. 

“Steel manufacturing remains one of the most energy intensive and polluting aspects of making a vehicle, but there are solutions to clean it up,” said Erika Thi Patterson, supply chain campaigns director at Public Citizen. “As companies and governments work to meet net zero climate commitments, it’s time that the steel industry take the growing need and demand for fossil-free steel seriously and embrace the cleaner technologies that exist today. Insiders at this conference need to recognize the inevitability of green transportation and move in that direction quickly and forcefully.” 

At the venue, a mobile billboard specifically referenced Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.’s recent announcement that the company would remain committed to fossil fuel blast furnaces in the near future. 

Billboards reading “Cleveland Cliffs: Ditch the past, embrace the Green Steel future!” circled the venue throughout the conference. 

“As a sponsor of the Great Designs in Steel conference, Cleveland Cliffs must end its commitment to dirty blast furnaces that release significant climate and health-harming pollution,” said Matthew Groch, senior director for decarbonization at Mighty Earth. “Instead of embracing the future and investing in low-carbon steel production, Cliffs has doubled down on blast furnaces, announcing plans to reline a blast furnace at its Burns Harbor, Indiana facility, extending the plant’s life by an estimated 18 years. As the auto industry works to decarbonize its steel supply chain, Cleveland Cliffs’ dirty steelmaking locks the company into high-emission technologies for decades.”

The actions at the Great Designs in Steel conference follow the launch of the ‘Lead the Charge’ campaign, of which Public Citizen and Mighty Earth are members. The coalition’s  scorecard tracks human rights and environmental issues throughout the electric vehicle supply chain. 

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