Groundbreaking RECTIFI project shortlisted in External Partnership category at the 2023 World Sustainability Awards

Award nomination
  • Innovative supply chain brings together steel, cement, and recycling industries to cut CO2 emissions and increase material circularity

A project that seeks to create new high-quality grades of recycled steel – and produce a sustainable alternative raw material for the cement industry – has been shortlisted for the External Partnership Award at this year’s World Sustainability Awards.

The steel and cement industries are responsible for almost a fifth of global carbon emissions (11%* and 7%**, respectively) and RECTIFI – which stands for ‘Reducing Embedded Carbon Through Transformation of Foundation Industries’ – aims to significantly reduce this.

To achieve this, global leader in sustainable materials EMR – in partnership with steelmaking giant Tata Steel; cement manufacturer Aggregate Industries; specialist waste management firm Darlow Lloyd & Sons and the Swansea University – is exploring how the use of recycled materials sourced from the so-called ‘urban mine’ can create a radical shift for the UK’s foundation industries on the path to net-zero.

The partnership is part-funded by the UK Government’s ‘Transforming Foundation Industries’ initiative via Innovate UK.

The opportunity to use recycled steel in the UK for new high-quality applications, such as electric vehicles and offshore wind turbines, is considerable. At present, the UK consumes approximately 12 million tonnes of semi-finished steel and produces around 11 million tonnes of steel scrap. Currently, 80 percent of this recycled material is exported, with millions of tonnes of virgin iron ore imported in its place. Recycled material offers 85% lower embedded carbon, when compared with nature-depleting virgin alternatives.

Meanwhile, from the output produced during the metal recycling and steelmaking processes, EMR and Darlow Lloyd & Sons are developing new mineral-rich products which can then be used by Aggregate Industries as an ‘alternative raw material’ in the production of clinker, the precursor to cement, to replace virgin quarried raw materials and decarbonise part of the process. The World Sustainability Awards are organised by Sustainability Leaders, described as a ‘global community-intelligence network for CSOs and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) executives designed to accelerate sustainability initiatives.

RECTIFI has been shortlisted alongside sustainable partnerships led by businesses including Diageo, AT&T and Heineken. The winner will be announced at the World Sustainability Awards on 19 October at the Garden of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Alexander Thompson – Innovation Project Manager, EMR, said:

“RECTIFI is a hugely important project which offers a way to dramatically reduce the emissions of two of the most carbon-intensive industries – steel and cement manufacturing. It’s fantastic news that the World Sustainability Awards has recognised this and chosen to shortlist RECTIFI for the coveted External Partnership award.

“As a world-leading producer of sustainable materials, EMR knows how valuable recycled steel will be in the transition towards a low-carbon, circular economy. Working with Tata Steel, as part of the RECTIFI project, means that we can create the high-quality grades of recycled steel that manufacturers demand.

“Likewise, the work of Aggregate Industries, EMR, Darlow Lloyd & Sons and the Swansea University is charting an exciting path towards a lower carbon, more sustainable cement industry – a goal that has long seemed out of reach.

“To be recognised for all of this, so early in our journey, is hugely rewarding for everybody involved with RECTIFI.”