Ljubljana, 18 April 2024 – SIJ Group has achieved ResponsibleSteel certification and placed Slovenia on the global map of sustainable steel production. Apart from the SIJ Group, there are only 13 steel groups in the world with this certification.

Obtaining ResponsibleSteel certification represents a new sustainability milestone in the history of SIJ Group, following our transition to steel production based on circular economy principles four decades ago. We are now part of a select group of steelmaking companies worldwide that are setting standards for sustainable practices in our industry. It reflects our commitment to our employees, the community and the environment in which we operate. Steel is the most widely used material in the world. With our steels and products, we are a reliable partner for automotive, mechanical engineering, infrastructure, construction, power generation and other industries who require the assurance that the materials they use have been obtained through sourcing and production processes based on responsible practice. The goal of ResponsibleSteel is to satisfy such requirements with a management approach that combines economic development, social inclusion, environmental sustainability and transparent governance, in order to contribute to the creation of a more sustainable future for people and the planet,” said Andrey Zubitskiy, President of the Management Board, SIJ Group.    

SIJ has long made efforts to be at the forefront of sustainable practice in the industry. SIJ’s first EAF opened in the 1960s, and today around 78% of its steel input is scrap. But sustainability must go beyond circularity, and beyond decarbonisation. Most recently as part of the certification audit process, SIJ has made real strides to meet ResponsibleSteel International Standard’s social and governance criteria, committing to strengthening and improving the protection of worker’s rights and health and safety systems,” said Annie Heaton, CEO, ResponsibleSteel.

The standard is based on 12 principles, which include a variety of criteria and requirements, with company stakeholders also being involved in the assessment process. To achieve ResponsibleSteel certification, each site must undergo a rigorous third-party audit, to verify that a steel site’s activities meet a set of rigorously defined standards across a broad range of social, environmental and governance criteria and stakeholder relations. The report is reviewed by an independent Certification Committee which makes the final certification decision.

The steel companies SIJ Acroni and SIJ Metal Ravne, along with the parent company SIJ d.d., have successfully passed the third-party audit conducted by AFNOR, based on the ResponsibleSteel standard.

“The project, which lasted for more than two years, involved a wide range of employees from various companies within the SIJ Group. Their dedication to the common goal and professional expertise were crucial for the successful implementation of the ResponsibleSteel standard across all areas of our operations. While sustainability has always been an important topic for us, ResponsibleSteel has taught us to take a more management systems-based approach and has helped us improve our understanding of the importance of even better working conditions for employees and a culture of health and safety at work. Today, we are proud of our achievement, but we are aware that the path of sustainable development is a continuous process of learning and improvement, which we will demonstrate every year and half through recertification,” said Dr Tadeja Primožič Merkač, Director of Quality, Sustainability and Corporate Management, SIJ Group.

“We would especially like to emphasise the contribution of the EBRD, which facilitated the process and supported SIJ Group during this journey. We will continue our sustainable development and spread these best practices to the rest the Group’s companies outside of the Steel Division, making entire SIJ Group an eligible borrower for the wide range of financial partners”, said Igor Malevanov, Vice-President, and CFO, SIJ Group 

As emphasised by the President of the Management Board of the SIJ Group in his address to employees, the entire steel industry is at a pivotal moment. According to the International Energy Agency, steel production accounts for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is thus a collective challenge to transform the industry and reduce our environmental footprint in a way that ensures a just transition for employees and local communities.

SIJ Group is confident that in the process of transitioning to decarbonised steelmaking, it can reach new customers who are already being directed by market demands and legislative changes towards the use of steels produced with more environmentally friendly technologies, such as those that are already being produced by the SIJ Group today. By halting blast furnaces and implementing recycling technology four decades ago, the Group already achieved the same CO2 levels that are now considered as the benchmark in the steel industry. Nevertheless, it remains committed to the same global climate goals, and in accordance with the Group’s Decarbonisation Plan 2020-2030-2050 the goal has been set to further reduce carbon emissions by 51% by 2030 compared to the benchmark year of 2020. The investment plan supporting the SIJ Group's Decarbonisation Plan until 2030 is estimated at 70 million euros. As the second key sustainability goal, in line with the sustainability development strategy, they have set targets in the field of occupational health and safety. By 2026, six Slovenian companies within the SIJ Group will operate in accordance with the ISO 45001 occupational health and safety standard.


SIJ – Slovenian Steel Group is one of the leading producers of stainless steel and special steels in Europe. We are committed to global and European climate goals and operate in line with the principles of the circular economy. With our steel and steel products, we are the right partner for facilitating the green transition in Europe. We have confirmed our sustainability credentials with ResponsibleSteel certification, based on the first global initiative to standardise and certify responsible and sustainable practices in the steel industry. This positions us as one of the most responsible and sustainable steel producers in the world. Our two largest companies are modern recycling steelworks, and our steel is recycled because it is made from steel scrap. With more than 3,500 employees, we are one of the largest employers in Slovenia and a pillar of the Slovenian steel sector. We are one of Slovenia's leading exporters. About 85% of our revenue is generated in 70 foreign markets.


More information:

SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla, d.d.

Sara Wagner, Head of Corporate Communications

Corporate Communications

Telephone: +386 1 242 98 27

Mobile phone: +386 41 313 532