The past year has been a challenging one for all Americans. Whether dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, working to improve our struggling economy, or finding ways to address systemic racism, we’ve all grappled with how to make sense of our current state and how to move forward toward a better tomorrow.
One year ago, Schnitzer Steel signed Business Roundtable’s Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, which has served as a guiding framework for companies to deliver long-term value to shareholders while creating a lasting positive impact. The benefits of capitalism should be extended to all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, communities and shareholders. Ensuring their economic wellbeing is key to growing our economy.
In order for economic opportunity to be made available to all Americans, we must ensure there is a diversity of voices at our tables and that we continue to think critically about how to invest in the future of our nation. Schnitzer Steel has taken steps to do that by providing apprenticeships for future electricians, mechanics and millwrights through partnerships with local community colleges. We have also partnered with local organizations like the Tacoma Youth Marine Foundation to enable young people to attain maritime skills training, leadership and environmental awareness that will set them on pathways to lifelong careers.
Schnitzer Steel has also worked to help make our communities safer and cleaner. In our facilities across the country, we partner with local law enforcement by recycling metal from weapons removed from city streets to ensure that the weapons do not get back into circulation; by providing end-of-life vehicles for officers to practice emergency rescue using hydraulic tools; and by using our facilities to train K9 dogs to search for explosives. As an essential business, we support nationwide health and safety by recycling materials that would otherwise be diverted to landfills or be disposed of in a less environmentally sustainable way. And last year, for the first time in our 114-year old history, our facilities were powered by 90% carbon-free electricity, and we recaptured and recycled approximately 80% of the water used in our steel manufacturing operations. These are examples of how we help to contribute to making a better and safer society.
In the midst of racial unrest across the nation, we also remain dedicated to cultivating and advancing diversity because we believe that a wide range of perspectives and talent is crucial to creating a richer culture for employees and strengthening our business as a whole. This year, the percentage of diverse applicants across our company’s platform increased to 74% from 28% just four years ago. At Schnitzer Steel, we are dedicated to developing a diverse workforce at all levels of our organization and ensuring a culture of inclusiveness.
The commitment we’ve made to be inclusive of all stakeholders in the way we conduct our business has been tested over the past year, and we’ve worked to learn from and adjust with each and every crisis our communities have faced. While no individual company can solve all of society’s problems, I’m proud of the way the private sector continues stepping up to the challenge to shape a better future for our society by creating more diverse and inclusive workforces and by partnering with our communities to create safer and more sustainable environments.