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Meet the Team: Steve Bareham, Director, Southern Region

Jack Arksey


With responsibility for half of EMR’s UK sites, Steve Bareham is a key figure in EMR’s continuing transformation into a modern, sustainable metal recycling business.

As director for the Southern Region, a wide range of priorities fall within Steve’s remit including ensuring that EMR’s operations work efficiently every day. He also works closely with the SHE (Safety, Health and Environmental) and human resources teams to maintain the health, safety and wellbeing of all EMR colleagues in the region and the suppliers and customers who visit our yards.

“Across the 37 sites I oversee there are a wide range of processing capabilities, from feeder sites through to deep sea docks for loading vessels up to 40,000 tonnes. My job to bring all of that all together,” he says.

One thing which unites all of the work Steve does is helping EMR become a more sustainable business as laid out in the ‘Our Decade of Action’ strategy. This means acting now to reach our goal of net-zero carbon impact by 2040.

“As a company we’re working hard to understand what sustainability means for our industry and for each of our employees. That means articulating the role we all play on a daily basis, making those incremental differences - whether it’s switching lights off, moving fewer products around on site, or thinking more carefully about the quantities of material we’re sending out to UK customers or on deep sea vessels.”

While Steve is one of the senior leaders in EMR, his priority has been to diffuse power away from the centre and encourage more “local ownership”.

“One thing I always say to the teams on our sites is that the purpose of the regional and national teams is to support their operations. It’s a flip in the usual hierarchy of many businesses, because our job is to serve the people in the yard. And that goes for our customers too, because the decisions we make need to be commercially viable for them as well as being good for EMR.”

“As EMR evolves as a business we aim to harness the great knowledge and experience that we have in the business, sharing this with the next generation of decision makers and encouraging greater innovation.”

This approach is helping EMR teams at site level to find new ways to deliver the company’s sustainability goals. This includes EMR’s commitment to procure 20 percent of new site-based fixed and mobile plants, powered by electrical, hybrid, fuel-cell or biofuel sources by 2030.

“We’re starting to see electrical equipment replacing diesel material handlers and other mobile plant, with the carbon savings and environmental benefits they bring. Whether it’s an electric or a diesel machine, our teams on the ground are working out how best to use their capacity and how to use them as efficiently as possible,” says Steve.

And Steve’s approach also means EMR is finding tangible ways to ensure its customers meet their green goals.

“Enabling the manufacture of lower carbon materials such as green steel through supply of our recycled products and helping our business partners play their role in the circular economy are a big part of the conversation we’re now having with customers,” says Steve. “There are a lot of opportunities out there to build partnerships with industry, support the businesses in our supply chain and to help make all of our operations significantly more sustainable.”

It’s a big job which requires skilled management to oversee, but Steve’s background in the builders merchants trade – including 25 years at Travis Perkins – means he is well placed to deliver.

“I left school at 16 to become a Management Apprentice at a large independent building merchant. This gave me exposure to a range of different departments from IT to Marketing and HR. At a very early stage in my career, I was used to collaborating and understanding the roles that different functions of a business play.

“This exposure acted as the foundation for me to hold more senior leadership roles within Travis Perkins and the understanding on how change can be effectively delivered through being inclusive, collaborative and creating ownership for those that are directly involved in the change.”

As EMR confronts the challenges and opportunities of Our Decade of Action, this background has put Steve Bareham in a great position to help us embrace the future.