Climate change

We recognise global climate change science, as laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Find out how we are responding to the shift to a lower-carbon economy.

Why this matters

As a major producer of energy products, we will continue to help meet the world’s energy needs – supporting global development and socio-economic progress. 

Yet the transition to a low-carbon economy will bring both regulatory changes and developments in renewable technology – creating both risks and opportunities for our commodities business.

Our approach

We actively engage with policy-makers on regulatory changes arising from global climate change efforts – such as the COP21 commitments agreed in the Paris agreement.

We support the development of green technology and renewable energy sources by supplying copper, cobalt and nickel for use in engines and batteries which will power the electric vehicle revolution.

Energy is also one of our highest production costs – so we seek ways to improve our own energy efficiency and reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

Climate change disclosure

At our 2016 annual general meeting, our shareholders approved the ‘Aiming for A’ initiative. Among other things, this initiative assesses how prepared a company is for 2035 and beyond, using CDP  performance as a starting point.


Our CDP score for 2016, up from 99C in 2015

We openly disclose our carbon and energy footprint. We take part in the CDP, and report carbon dioxide emissions in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.  

Understanding the impact of climate change

Our progress

As part of our commitment to the ‘Aiming for A’ initiative, we have set up an internal, cross-commodity working group, led by our Chairman, to deliver our climate change commitments. 

So far we have worked to:

  • Improve understanding of our current and future footprint – breaking down energy and GHG forecasts by asset
  • Test resilience against carbon policy scenarios, as part of our business planning
  • Understand risks and opportunities
  • Set GHG targets
  • Take part in public policy discussions on carbon and energy.

We continue to create bespoke energy plans for each asset, to improve energy efficiency

We create and develop bespoke energy plans for each asset, to improve energy efficiency.

Renewable energy

In 2016, we took part in a number of carbon reduction projects. These included reusing surplus heat at Nikkelverk, Norway, saving 25 terajoules of electricity in 2016.

25 terajoules

saved at Nikkelverk, Norway, by reusing surplus heat in 2016

Other projects included installing energy efficient equipment in Germany, and projects to reduce fuel use in Canada.

Our wind turbine at Raglan mine in Canada, erected in 2014, saved 4.65 million litres of diesel in its first two years of operation – and reduced GHG emissions by 13,000 tonnes.

Adapting to climate change

We regularly review our exposure to actual and potential risks arising from climate change, such as changing weather patterns. 

For example, melting permafrost could affect the way we work at our assets in northern Canada and we review controls that aim to ensure waste ore is stored safely.

Changing weather conditions could also affect water availability; this is taken into account when assessing assets with high water-related risks.

Principles we follow

UN Global Compact Principles 7–9

Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges

Principle 8: Businesses should undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility

Principle 9: Business should encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies

UN Sustainable Development Goals - Goals 12 and 13

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

International Council on Mining and Metals - Principle 6

Principle 6: Pursue continual improvement in environmental performance issues, such as water stewardship, energy use and climate change

Next steps

We will continue to report in detail on our progress in fulfilling climate change commitments.