ArcelorMittal caught greenwashing as Olympic flame approaches France

Environmental group said ArcelorMittal, which emits as much carbon as a Belgium, is using the Paris Olympics to polish its image
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Environmental groups have accused ArcelorMittal of greenwashing their image with the Paris Olympics, a day prior to the arrival of the Olympic flame in France. The flame is kept in a torch forged with low-carbon steel from the world’s second-largest steelmaker.

They said the firm, which emits as much carbon as a Belgium, is using the Summer Games to polish its image even though it has not been meeting its green commitments.

A report by advocacy group SteelWatch found ArcelorMittal has spent just one-third of the $1.5 billion it had promised to invest in decarbonisation in the past three years.

Activists said the firm was returning $22 to shareholders for every dollar it puts into decarbonisation.

“While ArcelorMittal prioritises shareholder returns and fossil fuel-based steel production over climate action, it consistently presents itself as a green champion, notably as an official sponsor of this year’s Olympic Games in France, where it has provided ’low carbon’ steel for the Olympic torch,” said the activist groups, which also include Fair Steel Coalition.

ArcelorMittal has publicly backed its role in providing low carbon recycled steel for the torch and the Olympic rings that will adorn the Eiffel Tower during the Paris Games in July and August.

Activists have also accused ArcelorMittal of pursuing a two-speed decarbonisation with green steel projects in Canada and Europe while continuing to build and use coal-fired furnaces in India and elsewhere.

Steelmaking accounts for around seven percent of global CO2 emissions.

An ArcelorMittal spokeswoman told news agency AFP that the group plans to cut its emissions across the world by a quarter by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality in 2050.

She said the firm has launched a plan to reduce its carbon emissions in India by recycling more steel and industrial gases, plus shifting to natural gas and hydrogen to fuel its blast furnaces.

(with inputs from AFP)

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