60%

Less CO2

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

100%

Recycled Scrap Steel

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

41

The number of scrap metal recycling facilities that CMC owns

View Our Analysis

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:

  • <::marker> In 2014, 27% of recyclable waste was recycled
  • <::marker> By 2050, 68% of recyclable materials need to be recycled
  • <::marker> 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.

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.

Related Metal Recycling Stocks in the Climate Index

View All Climate Index Stocks →

Allocated Company Description

1.02%

LKQ Corp (LKQ)

LKQ recycles thousands of used vehicles into salable parts, tires, fluids and oil - a circular economy model that reduces virgin material use and emissions

0.52%

IAA, Inc. (IAA)

IAA provides a digital marketplace where total-loss, damaged and low-value cars are bought and sold. It’s a valuable industrial recycling service

0.24%

Commercial Metals (CMC)

CMC buys scrap steel and other metals and recycles them into metal products for construction. This reduces virgin material use, energy use and emissions

0.10%

PureCycle Technologies, Inc. (PCT)

PureCycle sells technology that turns polypropylene into virgin-like plastic material. Industrial recycling conserves resources and cuts emissions

0.09%

Harsco Corporation (HSC)

Harsco recycles industrial materials from the metal, railways and energy sectors, which expands the circular economy and reduces virgin materials use

0.05%

Loop Industries (LOOP)

Loop recycles low-value plastics to create high-quality plastics - a circular economy business that reduces virgin material use and emissions

0.02%

Aqua Metals (AQMS)

Aqua Metals turns used lead acid batteries into pure lead and plastic chips. Now that’s a circular economy model

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