Schnitzer employees are active members of the communities where we operate. Through direct charitable giving and employee volunteerism, 2021 marked an important year filled with meaningful community engagement as individuals, families, and organizations met the ongoing challenges of the global pandemic. Beyond our planned community engagement, we supported disaster relief efforts, leveraging our assets and deploying our resources to those in need.
Investing In Our Communities
Our community investment programs center around a core set of priorities that seek to provide relevant and purposeful impacts for local individuals and community groups. Schnitzer community investments sustain organizations that support:
Children & Families
Food Insecurity & Hunger Relief
Education and Workforce Development
Environmental Conservation & Protection
CHILDREN & FAMILIES
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s mission is to enable young people, especially those in marginalized and underserved communities, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. Through our partnerships across the country, Schnitzer has provided broad support for this mission. We view our contributions as a form of service and assistance in the short term, as well as a long-term investment in the leaders of our sustainable tomorrow.
In 2021 Schnitzer supported local Boys & Girls Clubs of America chapters in several U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and Canada, providing charitable contributions, donating supplies including COVID-19 protection necessities, supporting summer camps and academic assistance programs, funding recreation and arts activities, and organizing and participating in fundraising events.
Schnitzer is actively involved with the following Boys & Girls Clubs:
Boys & Girls Club – Central New Hampshire
A.G. Gaston Boys & Girls Club – Birmingham, Alabama
Murphy Felton Tindall Boys & Girls Club – Macon, Georgia
Rockwood Boys & Girls Club – Portland, Oregon
Boys & Girls Club – Washington State
Boys & Girls Club – Oakland, California
FOOD INSECURITY & HUNGER RELIEF
Since its inception in 2010, Schnitzer's National Food Bank Initiative has worked to address urgent community needs to combat hunger and food insecurity. Through longstanding partnerships with many local food banks across the country, Schnitzer employees collect donations for nonperishable food items, and the Company matches individual contributions.
In response to ongoing COVID-19-related food insecurity emergencies in many of our local communities over the last year, Schnitzer increased support to accommodate new and evolving needs. For instance, when the Emergency Food Network (EFN) in Pierce County, Washington, began delivering food directly to recipients' homes, they realized that many individuals did not have can openers to access nonperishable items. Employees at Schnitzer's' Tacoma, WA facility responded by donating hundreds of can openers and organizing a community scrap drive to source additional funding for the EFN.
Fiscal 2021 marked one of our most successful fundraising efforts in this initiative’s history, raising over $433 thousand in donations to more than 50 food banks and surpassing a $3 million donation milestone.
I was homeless at one point for two years. During that time, I relied heavily on food banks to survive. I am forever grateful for those who donated money and food to those food banks so I had something to eat. When I have an opportunity to give back, I try my hardest to do as much good as I can.”
– Glenn Dorsey, Customer Service Agent at the Columbus, Ohio, Pick-n-Pull and 2021 Donation Leader
EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Schnitzer employs a diverse and dynamic workforce of more than 3,100 individuals across the U.S., including Puerto Rico, and Western Canada. Our teams provide essential metals recycling and recovery services, helping to keep valuable materials out of the landfill, while conserving energy and natural resources. Supporting education and workforce development programs that promote skilled labor jobs like those at Schnitzer is essential to our national and global transition to a low carbon economy.
Our recent partnership with The Steel Yard, a nonprofit organization in Providence, Rhode Island, aims to promote education and training programs, introducing talented individuals to the metal recycling industry. In July 2021, our charitable donation supported a scholarship fund for youth campers to attend welding, blacksmithing, jewelry, and ceramic summer camps in a safe and welcoming environment. We are currently working to establish routine donations of scrap metal, such as rebar, angle iron, etc., for future training programs, and exploring opportunities to invite youth to become more involved with The Steel Yard’s workforce training program as a pipeline for potentially hiring individuals who have completed their training.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION & PROTECTION
Environmental conservation and protection exist at the core of our business: saving energy and water, conserving virgin resources like wood, ore, and oil, and avoiding pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as we provide essential products and services that keep industries and economies running strong. Beyond these daily efforts to promote sustainability through our operations, we partner with local community groups and nonprofit organizations to expand our impact and protect the environment.
Earth Day Partnerships
Working alongside local groups across the country, Schnitzer employees leverage Earth Day to showcase our commitment to environmental conservation and protection. In 2021 our employees, including their families and friends, participated in cleanups along rivers, lakes, and shorelines, neighborhood parks, and pedestrian greenways, volunteering their time, talents, and tools to beautify and restore the environment and our communities.
2021 partnerships included:
American River Parkway Foundation (ARPF) – Carmichael, California
Friends of Mandela Parkway “Community Clean Up” – Oakland, California
Piedmont Park Conservancy – Atlanta, Georgia
Malama na Honu Green Sea Turtle Sponsorship – Oahu, Hawaii
Attleboro Conservation Commission at Cranberry Pond – Attleboro, Massachusetts
Mystic River Watershed at Torbert MacDonald Park – Medford, Massachusetts
Bayside Trail Clean Up – Portland, Maine
City of Johnston “Community Clean Up” – Johnston, Rhode Island
Greater Yamhill Watershed Council at ozine Creek (GYWC) – Yamhill and Chehalem Valleys, Oregon
SOLVE Oregon for “Oregon Spring Cleanup” – Portland, Oregon
Beach Clean Up with Puyallup Tribe of Indians (PTOI) at Canoe Landing – Tacoma, Washington
Natural Disaster Aid & Response
Schnitzer operates in communities throughout the country that have suffered this year from tornadoes, wildfires, and other natural disasters and the increasingly commonplace impacts of climate change. Beyond our regular, scheduled community engagement activities, we provided natural disaster relief assistance and deployed our resources to those in need.
Answering the Call—Disaster Relief After a Tornado in Calhoun County, Alabama
Alabama had at least 10 tornadoes on March 25, 2021, including the Ohatchee-Wellington Tornado in Calhoun County, roughly 30 miles southeast of Schnitzer’s recycling facility in the town of Attalla, Alabama.
Jody Free, Senior Purchasing Manager at our Attalla recycling facility, is also a 30-year veteran volunteer firefighter. Upon learning of the disaster in nearby Calhoun County, Jody answered the call for local supplies. Remembering their reserve of hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, and other items meant for use by Schnitzer employees at the recycling yard, she partnered with Company leadership to donate these items to those who needed them most, coordinating next-morning delivery to shelters for displaced tornado victims.
“Schnitzer gives back to its communities and encourages its employees to do the same,” Jody said. “It was the right thing to do and, knowing that these individuals had lost everything in the storm, it was the least we could do.”
Wildfire Relief and Debris Management
As wildfires become more common during the summer months, especially across the western U.S., we find ourselves in a unique position to support cleanup and recovery services for affected communities. Burned materials like vehicles, RVs, or other metal appliances generally found in a home require proper management, and Schnitzer recycling facilities deliver environmentally responsible solutions.
Through a partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Debris Management Task Force, our Pacific Northwest operations supported recovery of many household items burned during the wildfires that devastated Oregon in 2020. Prioritizing environmental stewardship and resource conservation, Schnitzer is proud to offer a second life and transform these materials into usable resources.
Supporting Ocean Cleanups
The Fishing for Energy program was launched in 2008 as a partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program.
The program provides grant funding to safely remove abandoned fishing gear from waterways and responsibly dispose of the collected materials. To date the program has collected more than 4.5 million pounds of gear and engaged over 1,000 fishermen by providing recycling collection bins at 56 ports across 13 U.S. states.
Since March 2020 Fishing for Energy has awarded over $5.1 million in grants to more than 55 projects in 17 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Schnitzer is proud to continue our partnership with NFWF and support the Fishing for Energy Program. For more than 10 years, Schnitzer operations have processed this discarded fishing gear to facilitate responsible disposal and recycling. By supporting the fishing community and working to keep our waterways clean, we strengthen our commitment to the environment—on both land and sea.”
– Colin Kelly, Vice President of Public Affairs
Schnitzer’s Volunteer Program
Schnitzer’s Volunteer Time Off (VTO) Program aims to connect employees directly to the communities where we operate. From coaching children’s sports teams, leading scout troops, and chaperoning field trips, to organizing and attending science fairs and after-school activities, participating in city cleanup efforts, and working at food pantries, our employees take advantage of this program to actively engage and support our communities.
Through the Company’s VTO benefit, employees receive eight paid hours to participate in local volunteer efforts as we work toward a shared goal of volunteering 10,000 hours by 2025.
This year’s opportunities for in-person service were again limited due to pandemic restrictions, but where they did exist, our employees stepped up. For instance, the American Red Cross faced a severe shortage of blood donations because of their inability to host in-person blood drives. In addition to our cash contribution to the American Red Cross to support nationwide support for emergency assistance, disaster relief, and disaster preparedness education, this year employee volunteers organized a blood drive that enabled our employees to safely donate.
National & Local Industry Engagement
Schnitzer’s involvement in national and local chambers of commerce provides opportunities to engage and collaborate with people charged with making decisions that impact business communities in the areas where we operate. Our involvement allows us to learn and share best practices with our peers, and participate in the development of public policies that protect the environment while promoting sustainable business practices.
Our commitment to being a responsible and respected global corporate and community business citizen drives us to work constructively in partnerships with our communities.
Our Chairman & CEO participates on the Business Roundtable
Business Roundtable CEOs have been leading the charge for sustainability in the business community. As a unified group, the CEOs are working to demonstrate that environmental sustainability and economic growth in the U.S. go hand in hand, and are achievable together. U.S. businesses are making a positive impact on sustainable outcomes, which can be seen through major trends encouraging efficiency through reuse and recycling and advancing renewable energy, growing sustainable investing, and reducing carbon emissions. See the Business Roundtable’s Sustainability Spotlight featuring Tamara Lundgren.
In 2021 Schnitzer launched a three-year partnership with Student Programming for Athletic and Academic Transitioning at McClymonds High School and Laney College in Oakland, and Universal Technical Institute in Sacramento, California. The partnership program, known as Schnitzer Academy, offers educational resources and hands-on training for students interested in the metal recycling industry, eventually providing job opportunities at our recycling facilities and Pick-n-Pull retail stores. We donate used cars, sheet metal, and other resources to support classroom training, offer paid internship opportunities, financial assistance, and scholarships. We lead facility tours and eventually provide a pathway to full-time employment. Our employees visit classrooms to share real world experience and expertise on topics including metal work, industrial hydraulics, and vehicle dismantling and welding.
Schnitzer Academy aims to bring talented individuals to the metal recycling industry, while also providing an educational platform for sustainable development throughout our local communities and beyond. In the coming years we plan to expand Schnitzer Academy in other parts of the country, engaging students interested in a career in the metals recycling industry and developing the talent necessary to advance the use of sustainable metal processing technologies for infrastructure and related development.