ArcelorMittal, Vega Unit, receives ResponsibleSteelTM international certification

Global initiative seal offers certification to steel plants around the world that are committed to responsible, fair and sustainable production

In a year that marks 20 years of operations, ArcelorMittal, Vega unit, a steel processing plant located in São Francisco do Sul, Santa Catarina, has recently received certification from Responsible Steel™️, a global certifying body that establishes international standards for responsible steel processing and production. This achievement represents, in addition to the unit's high standard production processes, recognition for a series of actions implemented for the purposes of obtaining social transformation and sustainability and encouraging diversity and inclusion. 

The certification’s rigorous auditing process, which lasted approximately one year, took place during the largest expansion works completed in Vega's history, an investment made towards expanding the unit in the order of US$350 million. This audit was performed by the independent consulting firm DNV (Det Norske Veritas), which analyzed indicators for sustainable practices and processes at ArcelorMittal’s Vega production unit, including several areas of the company within its scope, particularly those involving ESG-related (Environmental, Social and Governance) issues. Auditors also observed the processes implemented at the unit firsthand and interviewed company leaders, employees, suppliers, third parties, and representatives from the government and entities and institutions from within the local community.

For Jorge Oliveira, CEO of ArcelorMittal Aços Planos LATAM, this achievement demonstrates the company's commitment to responsible and sustainable steel production and its respect for individuals. “ResponsibleSteel certification also reinforces our main purpose, which is to manufacture smart steels for people and the planet, and represents a milestone in Vega's history, given that this year marks two decades of operations,” Oliveira affirmed. 

According to the report presented by DNV, the Environmental Management System implemented at the unit (which is certified under ISO 14001) is one of the positive aspects that contributed to the ArcelorMittal’s receiving this certification. This system endorses Vega's commitment to preserving biodiversity in the region by promoting the identification and continuous monitoring of species of fauna and flora present in its Private Natural Heritage Reserve (RPPN), which occupies one third of the industrial unit, in addition to preparation of a Biodiversity Master Plan. Through means of its Water Master Plan, Vega seeks to guarantee that the region's water resources remain viable and maintain a commitment to the well-being of the population, generating a reduced impact on public water sources by reusing an average of 98% of the water collected in the unit.

“Receiving this global certification in a year that marks 20 years of operation at the Vega unit as we move towards our largest expansion efforts to date demonstrates that we remain steadfast in our objective for sustainable steel production and commitment to community development, individual safety and respect for the environment,” Sandro Sambaqui, General Manager of ArcelorMittal Vega, stated.

Inclusion, representation and sustainable development

Initiatives implemented at ArcelorMittal Vega for the purposes of inclusion, diversity and social transformation were also highlighted in ResponsibleSteel ™️‘s audit report. According to the analysis, “interviews carried out with women occupying leadership positions in Vega’s operations demonstrated engagement with objectives for inclusion and diversity and the fact that promotions carried out within ArcelorMittal consider competence and merit and not respective professional’s gender,” the document highlighted. 

Incentives were implemented in order to increase representativeness among the female workforce in positions that were previously largely held by men. The Technical Sustainability Program, which, since 2018, has aimed to train, place value and offer qualifications to young people living in São Francisco do Sul within the region's labor market, has contributed to achieving gender equity. Approximately 89% of the students participating in the program are employed at ArcelorMittal Vega or other companies in the region -- a development opportunity that has also benefited female professionals.

Based on the initiative carried out in partnership with Senai SC, women began working on the unit’s production lines for the first time, a scenario that will contribute to achieving a target established for all ArcelorMittal Brazil units: increase the number of women throughout all areas of the company, including operational, administrative and leadership positions, to 25% of the workforce by 2030.

What is ResponsibleSteel™️?

Established in 2015, ResponsibleSteel™️ certification is a non-profit global initiative that seeks to contribute to a more sustainable society by certifying companies around the world that promote responsible steel supply and best practices and adhere to the the certification’s 13 standards for environmental, social and governance principles.

These global principles include: Corporate Leadership; Social, Environmental and Governance Management Systems; Occupational and Community Health and Safety; Labor Rights; Human Rights; Local Communities; Stakeholder Engagement and Communication; Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Noise, Emissions, Effluents and Waste; Water Resources; Biodiversity and Decommissioning and Finalizing of Operations.

ArcelorMittal Vega is ArcelorMittal’s third Brazilian unit that has received ResponsibleSteel™️ certification. ArcelorMittal Tubarão and ArcelorMittal Monlevade, which are located in Serra, Espírito Santo and João Monlevade, Minas Gerais, respective have already received this certification. ArcelorMittal's aimed to have all of the group’s production units in Brazil certified over the coming years.

About ArcelorMittal Vega
In operation since 2003, ArcelorMittal Vega is one of the world’s most modern steel processing plants and is part of the ArcelorMittal group, a world leader in steel production. The company, which is located in São Francisco do Sul, Santa Catarina, operates in the processing flat steel strip and cold-rolled and coated flat steel in order to serve the automotive, household appliance and civil construction sectors, among other market segments.

In 2021, ArcelorMittal Vega began the largest expansion works ever carried out in the plant’s history -- the CMC Project -- which provides for a new continuous galvanizing and annealing line, an increase that is expected to expand the plant’s production capacity from 1.6 million to 2.2 million tons of steel each year.

This expansion represents a total investment of US$ 350 million. The unit is also expected to expand its product portfolio and begin producing, for the first time in the Americas, Magnelis®, a coating that was patented by ArcelorMittal and widely applied within the market.  Magnelis® is currently only produced in ArcelorMittal’s European units and is particularly prevalent in projects aimed at generating solar power.