Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

Schnitzer Steel Industries (Schnitzer) shared its first set of measurable multi-year sustainability goals for 2025 in its 2019 Sustainability Report.


Schnitzer plans to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions from its auto and metals recycling operations by 25pc by the end of 2025 and seeks to achieve a profitability improvement target of $15/nt ($17/mt) using sustainability-based initiatives by the end of 2021. The plan also includes safety and community involvement goals. 


The company’s facilities were powered by 90pc carbon-free electricity and 80pc of the water used in steel manufacturing was reused for the first time in 2019. The use of renewable resources, such as wind and solar power, are expected to increase Schnitzer’s Pacific Northwest operations, especially in Oregon which uses 68pc of this energy for steel manufacturing operations.


Additionally, Schnitzer decreased its absolute GHG emissions by 5pc and total energy consumption by 4pc compared to the previous year. The steel recycler estimates that it will invest $48mn by FY2022 to upgrade equipment to more fuel-efficient models. 


Schnitzer’s recycling facilities have an aggregate processing capability of more than 5mn nt (4.5mn mt) of ferrous and 600mn lb (272,155 mt) of non-ferrous annually including the six shredding facilities. 


In FY2019, ferrous scrap sold was 4.3mn nt (3.9mn mt), unchanged compared to the previous year, non-ferrous scrap sold increased 5pc to 667mn lb (302,546 mt), and finished steel produced declined 8pc to 478,000nt (433,757mt).  Industry wide, steel made primarily with scrap uses 40pc less water, 90pc less virgin material, and 74pc less energy. Since 2015, Schnitzer has processed and sold about 20.9mn mt of ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metals. 


In the past few years, Schnitzer has added enhanced separation capabilities to improve yields which eliminated additional processing and transportation steps and associated emissions. The company is now adopting additional gravity separation processes to minimize shredder residue.


2019 was also the first year that Schnitzer disclosed its emissions under the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) framework and in compliance with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Index. 


Tamara Lundgren, president and chief executive officer of Schnitzer noted the firm’s alignment with global trends that support lower carbon-based economies, higher metal demand, and the use of recycled materials. The developed plan is guided by environmental, social and economic issues.

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