Founded more than 116 years ago, Schnitzer Steel is one of North America’s largest exporters and manufacturers of recycled metals. We work to promote a future with less waste, more natural resources, and cleaner air and play an important role in the circular economy, using end-of-life products like cars and appliances as our starting points. While our operations involve mostly business to business interactions, many of the materials we source are household items we keep from going to the landfill.

Our legacy of success reflects a fundamental part of our culture that I am proud to have the opportunity to build on: a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion that has long been understood as a strategic business imperative. We also recognize that DEI is a journey, not a destination, and as issues change and evolve along with society, we have to adapt our programs and strategies to meet the needs of all our stakeholders.

Shortly after formalizing our diversity program in 2018, I became the Company’s Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Since then, we have launched internal employee engagement initiatives, external recruiting and talent acquisition efforts, and educational partnership programs to further our DEI vision to assemble a workforce that reflects the demographics of our communities, build a culture of deep pride in our Company, and lean on equitable practices.

In 2019 we introduced Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)— employee-led groups that celebrate diversity and encourage an inclusive workplace. Just a few years later, our six ERGs bring together employees from across all organizational levels to increase cultural awareness and create a space where open and safe conversations can take place. ERGs spend a lot of time on education by bringing both historical context and timely events to the broader employee community and offering valuable insight into employee needs and concerns. They help employees better understand each other and are essential to achieving our DEI vision.

In a lot of ways, ERGs also offer a bridge to engaging both our communities as well as future employees. Our recently launched fellowship program, led by our Black Employee Network Resource Group, introduces college graduates to the metals recycling industry through an immersive one year-program within key divisions of our Company. Schnitzer Academy, another educational partnership program launched in 2021 in Oakland and Sacramento, California, offers resources and hands-on training to students in high schools and technical colleges who are interested in the metals recycling industry. By offering educational training from Schnitzer professionals, the chance to tour Company facilities, access to materials sourced from our operations, and academic and workforce scholarships, Schnitzer Academy provides pathways to careers across our growing footprint.

While delivering these programs that support our DEI vision, we’re also focused on gathering valuable feedback amid an evolving industry landscape. In 2021, Schnitzer teams participated in an anonymous Trust Index Survey to better understand our workplace culture. Based on the results, we were certified as a Great Place to Work®. We used the responses from the survey as a guidepost for our DEI programs and initiatives and tried to address feedback directly from employees. In 2022, we re-certified as a Great Place to Work®, an achievement that illustrates our ongoing commitment to enhancing employee experience and promoting an inclusive culture.

Looking to the future, as we continue our work of recycling and resource conservation, our success will be determined by the talented and hardworking individuals at Schnitzer. I view my role as a facilitator of our DEI vision to ensure those individuals reflect the demographics of our communities and are prepared with the knowledge, tools and resources they need to succeed.

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