Zero carbon steel program Tātaitai Puhanga Waro set to launch

The month of May will usher in a new zero carbon steel programme for steel products. The program, Tātaitai Puhanga Waro, has been independently developed and based on verifiable data and provides a carbon emission calculator, believed to be a world first, to help companies offset carbon emissions and offer zero-carbon steel in their projects. HERA is the facilitator of the program and has partnered with social enterprise Ekos, a leader in environmental financing, to administer the offsetting process.

Tātaitai Puhanga Waro is a great leap forward for the steel industry in New Zealand, promising to give new tools to materials producers, engineers, designers, fabricators and end users to measure, reduce, offset and report their emissions from steel.

New Zealand has committed to a net zero carbon target by 2050, and the reduction of the steel industry’s emissions is only part of the challenge. Carbon is primarily used in the steel-making process as a reductant, rather than an energy source. Although there is research into alternative reductants (e.g. hydrogen), currently no commercially viable alternative exists for coal, so until an alternative is developed, it is important for the industry to utilise carbon offsetting as a mechanism to reduce net emissions.

Tātaitai Puhanga Waro has been developed to provide independent and robust carbon offsetting rules for the industry, with a preference for the offsets to be focused on the domestic planting of native trees and provide additional biodiversity and human capital benefits to New Zealand society. The rules of Tātaitai Puhanga Waro have been developed by thinkstep-anz, independent experts in sustainability, in consultation with HERA.

The engineering and construction sectors are having a lot of conversations around carbon in steel, with MBIE having developed two emissions mitigation frameworks under the Building for Climate Change Programme – the building and construction sector’s contribution to New Zealand’s 2050 goal. The novelty of Tātaitai Puhanga Waro is that it covers a number of different steel products. It includes painted steel used in roofing and cladding, rebar used in concrete, light-gauge steel framing, heavy structural steel and stainless steel.

We expect the program will change the conversation around the carbon performance of steel. For more information on Tātaitai Puhanga Waro, visit

Dr Troy Coyle brings more than 20 years’ experience in innovation management across a range of industries including materials science, medical radiation physics, biotechnology, sustainable building products, renewable energy and steel. She is a scientist with a PhD (University of NSW) with training in journalism and communications

The information and opinions within this column are not necessarily the views or opinions of Xpress Engineer NZ, NZ Engineering News or the parent company, Hayley Media.