Olympic torch steel providers ArcelorMittal slammed by environmental campaigners. X/@Paris2024

The world's second-largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, has provided low-carbon steel for the Olympic torch which arrives in France on Wednesday. However, environmental campaign groups claim the company is using its involvement in Paris 2024 to hide its failure to invest in decarbonisation.

On the eve of the Olympic flame's arrival in Marseille, advocacy group SteelWatch reported that ArcelorMittal had spent just one third of the $1.5 billion (€1.4 billion euro) it had promised to invest in decarbonisation in the past three years.

According to AFP, a number of activist groups including Fair Steel Coalition, have slammed the multinational firm, saying, "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."

The groups also claimed that ArcelorMittal returned 22 times as much money to shareholders as it put into decarbonisation, and accused the company 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. That while extensively publicising its role in providing low carbon recycled steel for the torch and the Olympic rings which will adorn the Eiffel Tower during the Paris Games.

Steelmaking accounts for around seven percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, but an ArcelorMittal spokeswoman told AFP that the group plans to cut its emissions across the world by a quarter by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality in 2050.

She added that the firm has launched a plan to reduce the carbon intensity of its emissions in India by recycling more steel and industrial gases, plus shifting to natural gas and hydrogen to fuel its blast furnaces, although no timeline was given for that initiative.