ISCA New Zealand Summit Preview: Q&A With Liberty OneSteel

Interview with Rob Johnson, Liberty OneSteel – Australian and New Zealand official partners of ISCA ISv2.0.

Q: Why did you decide to partner with ISCA for the Infrastructure Sustainability Summit ISv2.0 launch?

A: Liberty OneSteel is Australia’s largest manufacturer and supplier of structural and reinforcing steel, including hot rolled structurals, pipe and tube, rod, reinforcing bar, wire products and rail. Our structural and reinforcing steel and rail products enable the construction of steel-framed buildings, buildings framed in concrete and nation-building infrastructure projects. The company is a key supplier and partner to the construction industry. Approximately 80% of the steel we manufacture is for the construction industry. ISCA’s core value of “Improving the productivity and liveability of industry and communities through sustainability in infrastructure” is a great fit with Liberty OneSteel’s core value of Sustainability and accords with our GREENSTEEL strategy.

Q: Why did you decide to be an official launch partner for ISv2.0?

A: ISv2.0 represents a great step forward in respect to sustainability ratings for infrastructure, incorporating a more holistic approach to sustainability via the inclusion of key elements such as economic and social sustainability, as well as a focus on sustainable procurement.

Q: What are some of the other ways Liberty OneSteel is demonstrating sustainability leadership?

A: Liberty OneSteel takes sustainability seriously. We are increasing the proportion of energy from renewable sources used in our manufacturing mix and, through our sister company SIMEC ZEN Energy, we are investing significantly in renewable energy assets. Liberty OneSteel’s GREENSTEEL strategy focuses on increased use of renewable energy, greater utilisation of recycled materials and operating facilities close to key markets.

Q: Liberty OneSteel has done some impressive work as a materials supplier to the infrastructure industry in lowering its environmental and social impact – can you explain the highlights here?

A: Liberty OneSteel has Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) covering our hot rolled structural, rail, merchant bar and reinforcing products. A project’s sustainability ratings can be boosted by the procurement of Liberty OneSteel’s products and services and by leveraging these EPDs. Liberty OneSteel’s EPDs provide transparent information about the environmental impacts of Liberty OneSteel’s products throughout their life cycle. Rating tools reward products with EPDs because they allow companies to make an informed choice about what materials they can use to improve the sustainability outcomes of their projects.

Liberty OneSteel works closely with project proponents to:

  • optimise design to reduce mass in structures
  • increase the proportion of higher grades of steel
  • optimise transport and logistics to reduce freight and subsequently reduce emissions
  • reduce waste onsite
  • increase opportunities for offsite fabrication.


Q: What is Liberty OneSteel’s approach to sustainability environmentally and socially?

A: Liberty OneSteel takes a proactive approach to sustainability and delivering sustainable outcomes. We strive for continuous improvements in our environmental performance, we take pride in our community engagement and we take our social responsibilities seriously. In Australia and around the world, GFG Alliance, owner of Liberty OneSteel supports local communities through investing in local industry. We believe that developing sustainable and non-cyclical industry is the foundation of stronger, more prosperous societies. We are on a mission to transform metals manufacturing, engineering and mining in Australia, building on our local resources, sustainable energy, new technology and enhanced skills.  

Q: How do you see ISv2.0 changing/improving the infrastructure industry?

A: ISv2.0 encourages and promotes greater collaboration and communication across all supply chain partners for infrastructure projects. Collaboration, early engagement and communication are fundamental to successfully driving improved sustainability outcomes.

Q: What project are you particularly proud of and why?

A: Liberty OneSteel has had a large role in Victoria’s $1.6 billion Caulfield to Dandenong (CTD) Level Crossing Removal project. Nine dangerous and congested level crossings are being removed by elevating three sections of the line, with all nine crossings to be gone by the end of 2018. Liberty OneSteel Reinforcing worked closely with the project principals (together called the Alliance, and comprising Lendlease, CPB Contractors, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Aurecon and Metro Trains Melbourne) to devise a solution using 4000 tonnes of prefabricated reinforcing steel that allowed for the concrete-and-steel piers that elevate the rail line and crossheads on which the tracks sit to be taken off a truck and placed into position with minimum disruption. The use of Liberty OneSteel’s Australian-made reinforcing steel is helping the CTD project meet its sustainability targets and is evidence of the state government’s Victorian Industry Participation Policy in action.

Q: How has using the ISCA framework helped to drive more sustainable outcomes for steel?

A: 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.

Q: What’s next for Liberty OneSteel?

A: More investment in renewable energy and continued commitment to our communities, as well as embedding and enhancing our core values of Family, Sustainability and Change. Our intention is to operate our business for the long term and build a legacy for the future. Demonstrating this strategic focus, in early May 2018 Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and French President Emmanuel Macron witnessed the signing of a landmark 15-year power purchase agreement for Liberty OneSteel’s sister company SIMEC ZEN Energy to take most of the output from NEOEN’s Numurkah Solar Farm in northwest Victoria. GFG Alliance and Liberty Executive Chairman Sanjeev Gupta said the purchase agreement would help lower energy costs at GFG’s Laverton steelworks in Victoria and align its operations with GFG’s GREENSTEEL model. In addition, he said the MOU was an exciting opportunity for the companies to work together to find global renewable energy solutions of even greater scale. “The switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy is the revolution of this century, transforming our economies and our impact on the environment. Such major change demands sustainable, effective solutions.

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