The Sustainable Steel Council (SSC) was formed in 2009 to promote the use of steel as a sustainable building material to the various stakeholders within New Zealand’s building and property industries.

Following the formation of Metals New Zealand (MNZ) in 2011, SSC supports the wider MNZ activity on the sustainability of metal products.

Since 2011, SSC has been working closely with the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) to ensure that steel-framed buildings are treated fairly in comparison with competitor materials.

It is therefore with great pleasure that the new steel credit (MAT-8) was published on the NZGBC web site on 1 September 2015. The aim of the credit is to encourage responsible sourcing and the reduction of environmental impacts from using structural steel in buildings.

Before any points are awarded, the prerequisite criteria are that:

  • The steelmaker is a member of worldsteel Climate Action Programme (a list of members can be found here);
  • The steelmaker holds a valid ISO 14001 Environmental Management System or Enviro-Mark Diamond level certification; and
  • When stainless steel is used, the stainless steel manufacturer must be a member of the International Stainless Steel Forum’s (ISSF) Sustainable Stainless Charter.

Should the structural steel fulfill the above prerequisite criteria, Greenstar points can be awarded in through the following two criteria (however, only a maximum of 3 points can be obtained through a combination of Criterion A and B):


Product sustainability

Up to 3 points are awarded where it can be demonstrated that all steel used has a reduced environmental impact, which includes the following initiatives:

  • Reused products (which has the highest weighting for)
  • Third Party Certification
  • Stewardship Programmes
  • CarboNZero
  • Declare

Responsible industry

To ensure that the complete value chain is recognized, up to 1-point is awarded to a steel fabricator or processor with an Environmental Management System (EMS). An ISO 14001 EMS or Enviro-Mark Diamond level are recognized, as well as Enviro-Mark Gold and Platinum levels.

In addition to the new steel credit, an additional 2 points are available to steel-frame buildings through an Innovation Challenge that recognizes products with Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

As reported in last month’s HERA News, given that SSC together with the Building Research Levy seed-funded the development of the Australasian EPD scheme, the recognition of EPDs by NZGBC is particularly satisfying.

However, following the publication of another two Australian EPDs for steel products on the Australasian EPD web site, it appears that there are other international drivers at play that are encouraging manufacturers to commit to this third-party certified ecolabel.

Update shared by our General Manager Structural Systems Dr Stephen Hicks