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A myriad of structural and global challenges from climate change, to resource scarcity, to fragile global chains, will fundamentally change the way we make and use materials in the future.
Decarbonising the production of the basic materials we use will have huge implications not only for material producers, like steelmakers, but also for all consumers further down the supply chain. There is an urgent need for on sectors like steel, concrete, and plastic to eliminate their emissions, but also pressure on consumers to opt for low-carbon, more costly, alternatives. As demand grows for low-carbon materials grown, driven both by consumer choice and government regulations, there will be impacts on prices, availability, and supplies of raw materials.
At the same time, a need to minimise wider environmental impacts of materials, coupled with resource scarcity and increasingly fragile global supply chains, is also requiring us to fundamentally rethink how we extract, make, use, and dispose of materials. Everything from materials innovation to consumer product design, to new adaptive business models will have a role to play.
Further complicating the picture, the transition to net-zero will be materials, and particularly metals, intensive. Increasingly ambitious commitments made by governments are creating demand for metals that supply chains are just not currently built to provide. Until these supply chains catch-up with demand, supply shortages, logjams and price volatility will be increasingly part of the system that consumers will need to adapt to cope with.
UK Steel brings together a range of thought leaders from industry and academia to discuss these challenges and some of the solutions we will need to deploy. A fascinating series of discussions of interest to anyone within the manufacturing sector and materials supply chains.