Environmental Management


As a distributor, we are not a significant generator of greenhouse gases, but we are monitoring our emissions and taking actions to ensure we reduce our emissions.

We recognize, however, that our activities and operations may have the potential to impact the environment and the communities in which we operate; accordingly, we have made environmental management a corporate priority.  We have adopted an Environmental Policy, applicable to all our business segments, which guides and directs our actions, to ensure that our operations comply with applicable environmental laws in the jurisdictions in which they operate, and to minimize the impact of our operations upon the environment.

Environmental Management

Our Environmental Policy is supported by an environmental management system, which defines and communicates lines of responsibility for environmental matters within our organization, provides assistance and support to our operating units in addressing their individual environmental needs, and reports the environmental performance of our operations to senior management.

On a quarterly basis, management reports to the Environmental Management & Health and Safety Committee of our Board of Directors on our activities related to environmental matters, and on applicable changes to environmental laws and regulations.

Risk Assessment

We have evaluated potential environmental risks associated with our operations as part of our Enterprise Risk Management program and framework modelled on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 31000 ‐ Risk Management Principles and Guidelines. We have implemented programs and practices, commensurate with those risks, that enable us to conduct our operations in a manner that minimizes environmental impact. We review these programs on a regular basis to identify, prioritize and manage such risks on a timely basis and in an appropriate manner. Standard operating procedures have been developed to encourage uniformity and consistency in the handling of environmental matters, where such matters are common to multiple operating locations.

Regulatory Compliance

There are no environmental standards that are specific to our industry. We are subject to Federal, Provincial and State environmental legislation, in both Canada and the United States with respect to waste management and air emissions. We have evaluated existing legislation and continually monitor new developments in environmental legislation, to ensure the ongoing compliance of our operations with both existing legislation and any that may arise out of such developments.

Waste and Recycling

Steel and other metal products that we distribute are among the most widely recycled materials on earth. Most of our product lines sold, present minimal end‐of‐product‐life environmental impact as they are recycled. Furthermore, as a distributor, our packaging materials are minimal. Our operations therefore generate relatively little landfill waste. Our branches are encouraged to participate in separation and recycling activities consistent with the programs available in their local communities.

Air Emissions

Processing of steel using plasma, oxy‐fuel, or laser technologies has the potential to generate some air emissions. These potential emissions are controlled using dust collectors at branches where such emissions would otherwise be material. Most jurisdictions in which we operate do not require any permit or approval for such control systems; however, where approvals are required, our facilities have the necessary permits and approvals in place.

Hazardous Materials

Our operations do not involve significant use of hazardous materials and are not significant generators of hazardous waste. Most of our locations do not generate any hazardous or regulated waste at all, and those that do generate some small quantities are appropriately registered in their jurisdictions.

Water and Wastewater

We recognize water as a valuable and sensitive resource. Our operations are not water intensive. Very few of our locations use any significant quantity of water in their activities, and our company‐wide discharges of industrial wastewater are negligible.

Energy Consumption

As a steel distributor, our activities and operations are not energy intensive. Nevertheless, we have implemented programs to monitor our energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure continuing compliance in an evolving regulatory landscape. Please see the Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Consumption tab on our website for further information on our greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.

A worker overseeing a laser cutting in progress

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Electricity Consumption

We track and monitor our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at both an individual facility level and an aggregate company-wide level.  We consume energy in our operations and it is this energy consumption that generates GHG emissions, both directly through the combustion of hydrocarbon products such as natural gas, propane and diesel fuel, as well as indirectly through the purchase of electrical power produced by others.

Our GHG emissions in 2019 were approximately 56,346 tonnes CO2(e)company-wide.  Based on our 2019 revenue of $3.676 billion, this represents an emission intensity of 0.00001533 tonnes CO2(e) per dollar of revenue.

56,346 tonnes CO2(e)*

* Reported GHG emissions include scope 1 and scope 2 emissions, measured in accordance with the international standard, “The Greenhouse Gas Protocol”, published by the World Resources Institute.

The geographical breakdown of our measured emissions is 64% in Canada and 36% in the United States; our revenue breakdown for the same period was 70% in Canada versus 30% in the United States.  Our service center operations account for the majority of these emissions, at approximately 80% and our energy products operations account for approximately 20% of emissions.

Pie Chart describing Aggregate Emission breakdown between: Diesel Fuel, Natural Gas, Gasoline, Propane and Electricity

Our operations are not energy intensive.  The bulk of our direct emissions arise through consumption of diesel fuel for the delivery of product to customers and consumption of natural gas for the provision of comfort heat at our facilities.  Our indirect emissions arise from the purchase of electricity.  During our most recent measurement period, we purchased approximately 55,657 MWh of electricity from a variety of suppliers.  These purchases account for approximately 29% of our aggregate estimated emissions.

We encourage our branches to operate in an energy-efficient manner.  Many have implemented energy reduction programs, which not only reduce our GHG emissions, but also contribute to our bottom line through reduction of cost.

We have facilities in 9 provinces in Canada, and 16 states in the United States.  Legislation addressing climate change varies considerably among these jurisdictions and although the regulatory landscape dealing with GHG emissions continues to evolve, all our facilities remain well below the triggering criteria for any existing or proposed legislation imposing mandatory measurement, reporting or reduction programs.  Among the jurisdictions we operate in, the most stringent threshold triggering any regulatory compliance action is presently 10,000 tonnes per year of specified emissions.  By comparison, none of our facilities generates more than 900 tonnes per year.  Therefore, all of the Company’s activities and efforts in this area remain fully voluntary.