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LESS: Low Emission Steel Standard

The Low Emission Steel Standard (LESS) is a labelling system for classifying and calculating steel produced with low CO2 emissions.

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The goal is clear: a climate-neutral economy by 2045. The steel industry in Germany has embarked on a journey towards climate neutrality. This is both inevitable and challenging. In view of the climate targets, a rapid and substantial start to decarbonisation is necessary. But it is about more than just decarbonising an industrial sector: low-carbon steel also ensures lower emissions in numerous value chains. These include Germany’s key industries, such as the automotive and mechanical engineering sectors.

This is where the political instrument of „green“ lead markets comes into play. The establishment of lead markets for climate-friendly products will be a central component in supporting the entrepreneurial transformation steps and represent an important bridging element until CO2-reduced materials become economically viable on the market.

To achieve this, we need to make the climate impact of the steel produced visible, comparable and therefore also assessable. The Low Emission Steel Standard (LESS) was developed for this purpose.

This is LESS

LESS is an initiative of the German Steel Association, flanked by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, which aims to accelerate the development of a demand for CO2-reduced steel and to develop first markets.

LESS is particularly designed to accompany the transformation of the steel industry with a label system. This system can be used to map the gradual path to climate neutrality and allows to compare different steel products. The standard offers steel users the opportunity to track the progress made in reducing climate-relevant emissions in steel production based on standardised rules and to integrate it into their own sustainability strategies. LESS can also serve as a basis for simplifying public procurement and promoting the use of low-emission steel.

The aim of the German Steel Association and its member companies is to introduce the standard during the year 2024. LESS takes up the results of the one-year stakeholder process “Green lead markets for climate-friendly basic materials”, which was organised by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and completed in November 2023, and implements them for the steel sector. LESS is ambitious and internationally compatible. Certification by independent third parties guarantees credibility and legitimacy. 

Find out more about the background to the Low Emission Steel Standard LESS