Corporate Knights JAN 2023 / by  / Read original article

Schnitzer Steel’s rapid ascension to the top of the Global 100 highlights the growing importance of both the circular economy and low-carbon metals in the energy transition

It began in 1906 as a one-man scrap metal business in Portland, Oregon, called Alaska Junk Company. More than a century later, Schnitzer Steel has been named the world’s most sustainable corporation of 2023.

Steel is one of the world’s most carbon-intensive products (accounting for roughly 7% of human-produced CO2 emissions, the International Energy Agency’s Iron and Steel Technology Roadmap says), so having a corporation that makes steel products top Corporate Knights’ Global 100 ranking of the world’s most sustainable companies may seem surprising.

However, during its long history, Schnitzer Steel has developed into a global leader in the collection, processing and sale of the world’s most recycled product: steel. The company generates most of its revenues from recycling steel and other metals. And about a third comes from forging recycled scrap steel into finished products in electric arc furnaces that are powered by hydropower, making the metal extremely low carbon.

It’s only the second recycling company and the first steelmaking company to earn the top spot in the Global 100 since its inception in 2005, highlighting the growing importance of both the circular economy and low-carbon metals in creating a more sustainable future.

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