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Steel recycler tops global sustainability list

US-based Schnitzer Steel Industries has been named the world’s most sustainable corporation of 2023. It tops in the
Corporate Knights Global 100 ranking, having moved up from 15th spot last year.

According to the organisers, it’s only the second recycling company and the first steelmaking company to reach number one since the index’s inception in 2005 ‘highlighting the growing importance of both the circular economy and low-carbon metals in creating a more sustainable future’.

According to a profile on the Corporate Knights’ website, Schnitzer generates most of its revenues from recycling with a third coming from forging recycled scrap steel into finished products in electric arc furnaces. In 2019, it adopted specific goals and metrics included reducing Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions from recycling operations by 25% from 2019 levels by 2025 and reaching net-zero GHG emissions for all operations by 2050.

In 2022, Schnitzer’s emissions were 24% lower than in 2019, its baseline year when it started tracking its GHGs. This reduction has been achieved by investment in emission control systems that, improved energy efficiency, the use of alternative fuels and resource-conservation projects.

The profile adds: ‘It saw a 74% increase in energy productivity over last year and made significant improvements in water (69%) and carbon (55%) productivity. It also scored well for its proportion of non-male board members (five out of nine are women) and racially diverse executives, while it also saw a significant drop in its worker injury rate.

‘The company’s ranking also received a boost by its linking of its CEO’s pay to the achievement of sustainability targets.’

Tamara Lundgren, Schnitzer ceo, insists that sustainability has been at the core of the company’s operations since its founding in 1906. ‘Our work and our purpose have never been more relevant than they are today. We are honoured to be recognised by Corporate Knights for our contributions to the sustainable economy.”

Schnitzer is one of North America’s largest manufacturers and exporters of recycled metal products with operating facilities located in 25 states, Puerto Rico, and western Canada.

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