Activists march against ArcelorMittal’s macabre steel as Olympic torch arrives in Toulouse

Toulouse, France, 17 May, 2024 - As the Olympic Torch makes its way through France, civil society organisations are continuing to challenge steelmaker and official sponsor ArcelorMittal over its tarnishing of the eternal flame, calling upon it to respect human rights in actions, not just words.

The Fair Steel Coalition, in partnership with Oxfam Toulouse, Greenpeace Toulouse, ANV-COP21, Attac, Extinction Rebellion Toulouse, and StopTotal, is holding a ‘macabre march’ through the streets of Toulouse today (1), with demonstrators dressed in black and chained together to denounce the dirty tactics ArcelorMittal is accused of. This includes taking people’s land, disrupting livelihoods, polluting communities, and being silent in the face of forced disappearances and death threats against activists speaking out against its dirty operations in Mexico, South Africa, Liberia and elsewhere. (2)

“Steel is in everything, from cars and cutlery, to bridges and spacecraft. But for all ArcelorMittal’s shiny claims about making ‘smarter steels for people and planet’, it’s still focused on producing black steel, made with the dirty flames of coal. The company has to do better. Pollution and human rights violations will continue around its operations until it takes strong action to change,” said Pascal Husting, Shiny Claims, Dirty Flames campaign spokesperson.

"We are here because we want Europeans to know that they are not the only ones suffering from ArcelorMittal's social and environmental impacts. In Liberia, people are dying prematurely because of pollution from ArcelorMittal's mines. Their land is being stolen, their water poisoned and their livelihoods destroyed. ArcelorMittal's steel, which is everywhere, is dirty steel," said John Nimly Brownell, Programs Coordinator of Green Advocates International.

"Today the ArcelorMittal torch arrives in Toulouse, tarnishing the Olympic flame with its connection to human rights abuses and environmental degradation. From the mines to the mills, ArcelorMittal’s steel remains black so long as it is made with coal and harms communities. Here in France, the cradle of human rights, we reject silence and sacrifice. It’s time to forge a path towards true equality and sustainability," said Eduardo Mosqueda, Executive Director of Tskini, Mexico.

"ArcelorMittal's human rights abuses around the world sicken me, especially when I know that in 2022 the company paid its CEO 153 times more than the average wage of its workers, and its shareholders 22 times more than it spent on its so-called ‘smarter steels for people and planet’. I hope that, thanks to this action, the public at the Olympic Games will remember the many lives damaged by ArcelorMittal’s dirty steel," said Eugénie Bellet, Oxfam Toulouse.



Pascal Husting - Spokesperson (FR, EN)

Shiny Claims, Dirty Flames campaign

+352 621 887 730

Eduardo Mosqueda (ES, EN)

Executive Director of Tskini (Mexico), +52 1 33 1109 1152

John Nimly Brownell (EN)

Programs Coordinator, Green Advocates International (Liberia), +231 77 726 8668

Eugénie Bellet (FR, EN)

Coordinator, Oxfam Toulouse

+33 6 71 41 88 24

Media Liaison

Greg McNevin (EN)

Communications, SteelWatch (Australia), +61 475 247 044

Xavier De Wannemaeker (FR)

Media Liaison (France)

+31 6 2635 9683


  1. Photography of the “macabre march” activities in Toulouse today will be available from 18:00:
  2. Instances of land grabs, ecosystem destruction, loss of livelihoods, and serious health problems have been documented, as well as ArcelorMittal’s silence on enforced disappearances around its mines and steel plants in Mexico, Brazil, Liberia, and South Africa, in the new report: The Real Cost of Steel
  3. ArcelorMittal is being called on to Respect human rights, in actions not just words. Specifically:
    1. Assert zero tolerance towards any form of attack on communities and defenders who are speaking out about negative impacts of your plants and mines and protect their human rights. Don’t stay silent. Speak out for their safety;
    2. Review your human rights policy to assess whether it is effective in practice; engage with communities and the Fair Steel coalition to fix problems; implement and publicly report on actions taken;
    3. Revise your human rights processes to ensure they apply equally and operate effectively in all subsidiaries, joint ventures, joint operations and associates;
    4. Assess and address harms that may be indirectly associated with, or benefiting, your business even if not directly caused by you. Ensure that you have got Indigenous People’s unequivocal free prior and informed consent for all matters that directly or indirectly impact them;
    5. Effectively create a safe space for communities and defenders, take into account their views and allow unimpaired access to your sites to independent investigators, including journalists and NGOs, whenever necessary.
  4. Shiny Claims, Dirty Flames ( is a campaign organised by a global alliance of organisations, facilitated by the Fair Steel Coalition, and hosted by SteelWatch. Overall we’re calling on ArcelorMittal to:
    1. Respect human rights, in actions not just words;
    2. Stop making empty promises and be a real climate champion;
    3. Invest in future proofing your company, not enriching shareholders;
    4. Put workers, communities, and our environment first;
    5. Stop its dirty tricks: be accountable and transparent.
  5. As part of its official Olympic sponsorship, ArcelorMittal has provided “steel with a reduced carbon footprint” for the torch that is carrying the Eternal Flame, and the cauldron. The reduced carbon footprint comes from two factors: First, the steel is 100% made from scrap in an electric arc furnace (EAF); and second, ArcelorMittal indirectly buys enough renewable electricity to cover the consumption of the EAF. ArcelorMittal says the combination of the two can lead to a carbon footprint “as low as approximately 300kg of CO2 per tonne of finished steel”, though it does not indicate the exact total carbon footprint of the torches. This process is not new, recycled steel is useful but common. It does not represent a technological shift to decarbonise on a pathway that is compatible with the Paris Agreement or a 1.5C climate scenario.

    ArcelorMittal spent just USD500 million on decarbonisation from 2021-2023 – one third of the USD1.5 billion figure it said it would invest. In the same period, it returned USD11 billion to shareholders via buybacks or dividends from 2021-2023. This is 22 times the amount it spent on decarbonisation. See: SteelWatch Arcelormittal Corporate Climate Assessment 2024:

    Oxfam France’s Cash 40: trop de millions pour quelques hommes report finds that in 2022 ArcelorMittal paid its CEO 153 times more than the average wage of its workers:
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