Liberty: Gold Partners for the IS Annual Conference & Awards
Why did you decide to partner with ISCA for the Infrastructure Sustainability Conference ‘Accelerating Positive Change for People and Planet’ and Awards Dinner?
ISCA’s annual conference is an ideal platform to showcase the sustainability credentials and opportunities for the construction sector and the aligned supply chain. As such it is a natural fit for Liberty and our core value of Sustainability.
ISCA is driving profound positive change in the built environment and the construction sector in general. As approximately 80 per cent of the steel Liberty manufactures is used by the construction industry, the company is on the front line in the delivery of resilient infrastructure that meets recognised sustainability targets. ‘Sustainability’ is one of Liberty’s core values and aligns with ISCA’s core value of ‘Improving the productivity and liveability of industry and communities through sustainability in infrastructure’.
The ISCA framework provides a platform for early engagement and collaboration at all levels of the supply chain which, in turn, provides opportunities to develop and deliver more sustainable outcomes for projects and for steel. Liberty takes a proactive approach to sustainability by striving for continuous improvements in environmental performance and by taking its social responsibilities seriously.
Which of this year’s Conference themes/topics are Liberty most passionate about?
Liberty is passionate about all themes but in particular, collectively, we have a key role to play in:
- Resources, Materials & The Circular Economy
- Social Sustainability and the Supply Chain
- Resilience and Climate Change Risk
- The Road to Carbon Neutrality
What are some of the other ways Liberty is demonstrating sustainability leadership?
In Australia and around the world, GFG Alliance, Liberty’s parent entity, supports local communities by investing in local industry. The company’s mission here in Australia is to transform metals manufacturing, engineering and mining by building on local resources, sustainable energy, new technology and enhanced skills.
Liberty Steel also makes it easy for its industry partners to understand the sustainability impact of using steel in construction projects by supplying Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) with its range of hot rolled structural, rail, merchant bar and reinforcing products.
Liberty Steel’s EPDs provide transparent information about the environmental impacts of the company’s steel products throughout their life cycle. Liberty Steel’s construction partners can boost their projects’ sustainability ratings by procuring Liberty Steel’s products and services, and leveraging these EPDs.
Liberty is Australia’s largest manufacturer and supplier of structural and reinforcing steel, boasting over 5,000 Australian employees. There’s a huge opportunity to have a positive impact for people and planet; what are some of the ways you’re achieving this?
Liberty focuses on increasing the use of renewable energy, promoting greater use of recycled materials and operating facilities close to key markets.
The results of that strategy can already be seen with Liberty increasing the proportion of energy from renewable sources it uses in its manufacturing mix, and by investing significantly in renewable energy assets through GFG Alliance company SIMEC ZEN Energy. Earlier this year SIMEC ZEN Energy signed a 15-year power purchase agreement to take most of the output from French renewable energy company NEOEN’s Numurkah Solar Farm in northwest Victoria. The landmark deal will supply sufficient renewable energy to operate the Liberty Steel Laverton steelworks in Victoria.
What role do you see infrastructure playing in how we respond to climate change?
ISCA is driving profound positive change in the built environment and the infrastructure construction sector in particular. As approximately 80 per cent of the steel Liberty manufactures is used by the construction industry, the company is on the front line in the delivery of resilient infrastructure that meets recognised sustainability targets. ‘Sustainability’ is one of Liberty’s core values and aligns with ISCA’s core value of ‘Improving the productivity and liveability of industry and communities through sustainability in infrastructure’.
How has using the ISCA framework helped to drive more sustainable outcomes for Liberty?
The ISCA framework is central to the drive for more sustainable outcomes for steel.
Liberty Steel will continue in its collaboration and communication efforts as it seeks to invest in renewable energy, support local communities, and embed and enhance the company’s core values of Family, Sustainability and Change.
What’s next for Liberty?
SIMEC ZEN Energy – a member of GFG Alliance – has launched its landmark US$1 billion, one‐gigawatt dispatchable renewable energy program in the Upper Spencer Gulf, unveiling details of its first project – the exciting Cultana Solar Farm project.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer, and SIMEC ZEN Energy Chairman Sanjeev Gupta were on hand to launch the first of many renewable energy projects planned for the region by SIMEC ZEN Energy, including cogeneration at GFG’s Liberty Primary Steel operations using waste gas; the world’s largest lithium‐ion battery; and trailblazing pumped hydro projects at GFG’s Middleback Ranges mining operations.
Mr Gupta believes there is a great future for energy‐intensive industries in Australia, with this the first step in GFG leading the country’s industrial transition to more competitive energy.
The project boasts an impressive 600GWh of energy generation per year – enough to power almost 100,000 average homes – drawn from 780,000 solar panels across an area 550 times larger than Adelaide Oval.
Mr Gupta said this project – together with SIMEC ZEN’s second solar project, in development to be built nearby – will make this one of Australia’s largest solar farms, with even larger projects to follow in other states.
“All of these projects will not only improve reliability and greatly reduce the cost of electricity in our own operations, they will also provide competitive sources of power for other industrial and commercial users, while at the same time playing a key role in the market’s transition towards renewables,” he said.
“We have a strong conviction that traditional carbon‐intensive generation sources do not have a long‐term future as the predominant source of power in Australia and globally.”