Cleveland-Cliffs Inc

Maintaining our social license to operate requires us to be a leader in sustainable mining practices. To achieve this, it is essential we apply the same rigor to our environmental systems and performance as we do to safety, quality and profitability. Most importantly, we do not compromise our safety or our environmental practices for the sake of production. Ethical, safe and environmentally responsible behaviors are the backbone of our business.

We have implemented and continually improve our Environmental Management System (EMS) which is registered to the international environmental management system standard (ISO 14001:2015 Certificates of Registration for all our operations can be downloaded in PDF format) as the management tool to facilitate environmental performance and drive continual improvement.

Our operations have reduced direct and indirect emissions by using cleaner fuels, implementing energy efficiency measures, and through the development of innovative process technology to reduce direct and indirect emissions. We have negotiated energy supply contracts that resulted in lower power costs and the replacement of two coal-fired power plants with a portfolio of cleaner, more efficient sources as well as renewables.  This shift in electricity generation substantially reduces air emissions that contribute to regional haze (SO2 and NOx) and greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2019, we exceeded the U.S. 2015 Paris Agreement pledge of 26 to 28% GHG emissions reduction from 2005 baseline levels six years ahead of the 2025 target for both our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.  Our 2019 GHG emissions exceeded the Paris Agreement target reductions on both a mass basis and an intensity basis.  On a mass basis, we reduced our direct Scope 1 and indirect Scope 2 GHG mass emissions at our Mining and Pelletizing segment from 2005 levels by 42% through 2019 and expect to further reduce those emissions from the 2005 levels by 47% through 2020.  On an intensity basis, we reduced our Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 31% compared to 2005 emissions with an objective to further reduce our GHG intensity by 36% in 2020 compared to 2005 emissions.  

We have made and will continue to make investments to reduce the environmental footprint of our operations and to develop products that reduce downstream emissions to enable our customers to produce low-emitting steel. A progress report is provided below for some of our key tangible sustainability goals.

Sustainability Goals

Progress Towards Sustainability Objectives and Targets 

Link to Additional Content

Significantly reduce Regional Haze Emissions (SO2 and NOx) from our operations 

Our emissions of regional haze pollutants (SO2 & NOx) have been reduced by 31% compared to 2005 with an objective to reduce those emissions by more than 50% by 2022 when compared to 2005. (1)


Significantly reduce indirect Regional Haze emissions (SO2 and NOx) associated with the electricity we purchase

We constantly strive to be more efficient and reduce the electricity we use.  Our electricity providers have also reduced SO2 & NOx emissions associated with electrical generation.  Together, our indirect NOx and SO2 emissions have been reduced by 89% compared to 2005 with an objective to reduce those emissions by approximately 97% by 2022 when compared to 2005.(1)


Significantly reduce greenhouse gas emission from our operations (Direct, Scope 1 emissions)

Our direct Scope 1 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on a GHG intensity basis from our Mining and Pelletizing Segment have been reduced by 26% compared to 2005 emissions with an objective to reduce GHG intensity by 35% by 2020 from 2005 emissions.  We have reduced our Scope 1 GHG mass emissions from 2005 levels by 39% and expect to reduce by 46% by 2020. (1)  


Significantly reduce greenhouse gas emission from electricity providers (Indirect, Scope 2 emissions)

Our indirect Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, on a GHG intensity basis from our Mining and Pelletizing Segment, have been reduced by 34% compared to 2005 emissions with an objective to reduce GHG Scope 2 intensity by 35% in 2020 from 2005 emissions. We have reduced our Scope 2 GHG mass emissions from 2005 levels by 45% and expect to reduce by 57% by 2022. (1)  


Procuring a cleaner energy supply 

Our electrical suppliers are planning to increase generation of renewable energy to 40-45% by 2025 which is expected to reduce our Scope 2 related carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.  


Energy Conservation

Since 2016, two of our facilities have implemented numerous energy efficiency projects that have resulted in 67,000,000 kWh savings  (enough for 2,100 houses over three years).


Develop products that reduce downstream emissions to enable our customers to produce lower emitting steel

$100 Million invested in DR-grade pellet production capability at Northshore to produce HBI at the $830 Million IronUnits facility under construction in Toledo, OH that will enable our steelmaking customers to reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions by approximately 50% compared to conventional blast furnace route.

$75 Million invested at United Taconite to produce super flux “Mustang” pellets which improve energy efficiency and reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions for our steelmaking customers. On a lifecycle basis, if United Taconite’s full standard pellet production capability were converted to flux pellets, its indirect Scope 3 downstream net GHG emissions would decrease by approximately 370,000 CO2e tons per year.


Reduce environmental related incidents

 Since 2011 we have reduced environmental incidents by 98% with a goal of zero incidents.


Restore and reclaim disturbed land

Cliffs takes a progressive approach to mine land reclamation – establishing a foothold for diverse vegetative communities or other productive use – by actively incorporating it into current mining practices.


Efficient and optimal use of water

Reusing wastewater is an important component of our sustainable water management practices. On average, we recycle approximately 96% of all water used in our processing facilities.



Footnote: 1. Excluding mobile equipment and transportation related aspects

These efforts demonstrate our commitment to environmental stewardship and our ability to meet customer, investor and stakeholder demands while enabling the production of lower emitting/cleaner steel. 

Our environmentally superior  iron ore pellets enable production of cleaner steel in North America. We deliver high quality, custom-made pellets that allow our customers to remain competitive in both quality and efficiency while reducing downstream indirect emissions from our customers (Scope 3 emissions). 

We are poised to capitalize on structural shifts in the iron and steel industry which are increasing use of cleaner, higher-grade iron products.


Sustainability Performance Data

A spreadsheet of Cleveland-Cliffs' Sustainability Performance Data is provided for your use

Last Updated: 10.23.2020. 


200 Public Square, Suite 3300, Cleveland. OH 44114-2544 - Phone: 216-694-5700