Less CO2

is emitted per ton of steel in CMC's manufacturing and recycling processes


Recycled Scrap Steel

is used in all of CMC facilities as the primary material in steel production


The number of scrap metal recycling facilities that CMC owns

The Path to Drawdown: Industrial Recycling

Project Drawdown considers recycling as the recovery of recyclable post-consumer waste (like metals, plastic, glass, etc.) from the industrial and residential sectors of the economy. Recycling replaces the disposal of recyclable materials in landfills and reduces the need to use new material for production.

Waste from manufacturing, construction, restaurants, office buildings, schools and mines accounts for about half of all waste. All that is grouped into “industrial and commercial waste.” Much of it, though not all, can be recycled, and a range of strategies can enhance recycling rates.

Some of these strategies include creating marketplaces for secondary materials to facilitate the exchange of recyclable and reusable goods, innovating conversion technologies to make more materials recyclable, and adopting circular business models to recapture “waste” as a valuable resource.

Recycling industrial and commercial material can reduce emissions because producing new products from recovered materials often saves energy. For example, forging recycled aluminum products uses 95% less energy than creating them from virgin materials.

Project Drawdown estimates that by 2050, a serious commitment to recycling can help avoid 6.02 gigatons of GHG emissions. To get there, recycling practices need to be adopted much more widely that they are now:

  • In 2014, 27% of recyclable waste was recycled
  • By 2050, 68% of recyclable materials need to be recycled
  • That’s 2.6% CAGR between 2014 and 2050

If we can achieve that 68% recycling scenario, we can avoid up to 6.02 gigatons of GHG emissions.


Commercial Metals Company (stock ticker: CMC) manufactures, recycles and fabricates steel and metal products, related materials and services through a network of facilities. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, they own facilities in the US and Poland.

CMC's Role in Drawdown

Steel is the most recycled product in the world, and inherently a sustainable material because it can be recycled indefinitely without losing any of its properties or quality.

Commercial Metals Company’s primary business is the purchasing and recycling of scrap metals - mostly steel - into a wide range of metal products used in construction. 

In 2020, they recycled 8.9 million tons of metal from operations and shipped 280 million tons of finished steel. These figures have grown by 9.73% annually between 2018 and 2020, and 38.5% annually since 2016, respectively.

CMC: What We Like

Commercial Metals Company is consistently looking to enhance the energy efficiency (p. 12) of their production processes through streamlining and the use of renewable energy:

  • In 2009 Commercial Metals was the first company in the world to construct the state-of-the-art micro mill, which connects the melt shop and rolling mill into one continuous process to eliminate the need for a reheat furnace. 
  • They currently operate two micro mills and expect to commission a third in 2023 which will be connected to solar and wind energy. This will improve energy efficiency by 10%.

In addition to these efficiency improvements, Commercial Metals Company is heavily focused on sustainability and has set several targets (p. 14) for the year 2030, with 2019 as the base year:

  • Reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions intensity by 20%
  • Increase renewable energy use by 12%
  • Reduce energy consumption by 5%
  • Reduce water consumption by 8%

CMC: What We Want to See Improve

Accelerate Investment in Electrification

While we commend CMC for its target to increase renewable energy use by 12% by 2030. But given that CMC is heavily dependent on natural gas, and their natural gas use has increased by 13% annually since 2018, even when they increase their renewable energy use, they will still rely on fossil fuels for their operations. We urge them to speed up their investments in electrifying their manufacturing process where possible to reduce emissions.

Scope 3 Emissions

To their credit, CMC has a track record of reporting their direct GHG emissions. But they fall short in their reporting of scope 3 emissions. While their sustainability report includes their scope 3 emission intensity for the year 2019, neither this nor their Sustainability Accounting Standard Board disclosure shows the absolute scope 3 emissions for any year. This is puzzling, and we urge CMC to report this metric so that investors can assess the carbon footprint of their overall supply chain.

Don’t Interfere with Employees’ Political Choices

In November 2020, a report came out that CMC’s CEO sent a memo to the company’s employees across the US to consider voting for Republican candidates. This was after the company projected that a Democratic victory in the White House and the Senate would result in an increase in corporate taxes for metals manufacturers. We urge the executives of CMC to refrain from exerting undue influence on their employees’ political choices, even if those choice can have a material impact on the performance of the company.

Other Industrial Recycling Stocks in the Climate Index

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