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Mining leaders make landmark commitments to support a nature positive future

17 January 2024

London, UK – Leading global mining and metals companies have today committed to take urgent action to support a nature positive future by 2030[1] that promotes the health, diversity and resilience of species, ecosystems and natural processes. With responsibly produced minerals and metals playing a critical role in advancing global sustainable development goals, ICMM members, representing a third of the global industry, have pledged that meeting this demand for critical materials must not be at the expense of nature.

Shaped by experts and leaders from a range of disciplines from across ICMM company and association members, as well as from civil society, academia, Indigenous representatives, and investor and disclosure bodies, ICMM’s new commitments set out a 5-point plan for nature:

  1. Protect and conserve pristine areas of our natural environment: No mining or exploration in World Heritage Sites and respect all legally designated protected areas.[2]
  2. Halt biodiversity loss at our operations: Achieve at least no net loss of biodiversity at all mine sites by closure against a 2020 baseline.
  3. Collaborate across value chains: Develop initiatives and partnerships that halt and reverse nature loss throughout supply and distribution chains.
  4. Restore and enhance landscapes: Around operations through local partnerships, including with Indigenous Peoples, land-connected peoples and local communities.
  5. Catalyse wider change: Acting to change the fundamental systems that contribute to nature loss and fostering opportunities for nature’s recovery.

These commitments apply to activities across all four realms of nature – land, freshwater, oceans and atmosphere – leveraging companies’ areas of influence – from their direct operations, value chains and wider landscapes, through to creating the conditions required to achieve systems transformation. They are supported by transparent disclosures on performance outcomes, including publishing the results of nature-related impact and dependency assessments, and setting targets to address these.

Rohitesh Dhawan, President and CEO, ICMM announced the nature commitments at a Nature Positive Initiative event in Davos today, commenting:

The mining industry owes its very existence to nature. At a time when the health of our natural world is in peril yet the demand for critical minerals is set to soar, we have committed to significant collective action to help create a nature positive future. These commitments build on the significant individual goals and actions of ICMM members over several decades, including habitat conservation, species protection, and landscape restoration.

“There is no escaping that the act of mining directly affects nature, which is why the cornerstone of our commitments is to ensure at least no net loss of biodiversity at all mine sites by closure against a 2020 baseline. In addition, we have committed to take steps in our value chains, landscapes, and the wider systems in which we operate so that the total impact of our actions contribute to a nature positive future. These will be taken with the critical participation of Indigenous and land-connected peoples, and local communities, whose rights, values, and knowledge will be central to our actions.

ICMM members have already implemented a number of initiatives focused on conservation and restoration, for example, strengthening protection for areas of high biodiversity value, developing innovative technologies for improved seed performance during landscape revegetation, and defending important habitats from invasive species. ICMM’s new commitments will enhance these to drive performance across the industry.

Collaboration across all sectors is essential to help stop and reverse nature loss and ICMM’s nature commitments will help companies to scale up their existing efforts and drive local and regional partnerships to better protect and restore our landscapes and ecosystems for the benefit of all.

“At Teck, we’re taking action to conserve and restore nature while we also provide the critical minerals the world needs to decarbonize. For us, that means implementing initiatives including conserving and reclaiming at least three hectares for every one hectare we affect through mining.

Today's commitment from the mining sector to contribute to a nature-positive future is welcome. Sector-wide coordination is key to halting and reversing today's accelerating loss of biodiversity. To help secure a nature-positive world, it will now be critical that ICMM’s members translate this commitment into truly nature-positive outcomes. This means both safeguarding areas with high biodiversity value and contributing in their operations to measurable gains in the health, abundance, diversity and resilience of species, ecosystems and natural processes.

The commitments on direct operations, value chain and governance and transparency apply to all members, and individual members will select at least one of three commitment options relating to wider landscapes and systems transformation, in order to maximise their positive contribution.

These commitments were published as part of a Position Statement setting out ICMM members’ approach to contributing to a nature positive future guided by the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) and ICMM’s existing commitments in relation to protected areas, Indigenous Peoples, water and respecting human rights as per the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Action on nature is an integral part of ICMM’s Mining Principles, representing our member companies’ comprehensive commitment to a responsible mining and metals industry.

-END-

Notes to Editor

1. From a 2020 baseline.

2. ICMM members made these commitments in 2003 and 2018.

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  • ICMM’s Nature Position Statement is available here.
  • Media pack including quotes from ICMM member CEOs and high-res images from company members that are available for publication with the piece – please credit the source company) is available on the ICMM website: https://www.icmm.com/website/media/2024/briefing-pack_nature-commitments.pdf
  • As of 17 January 19.00 GMT, learn more about ICMM’s nature commitments and action already happening on the ground on our new Nature Hub nature.icmm.com, including:
    • Member examples of nature conservation and restoration (film, photos, interviews and articles).
    • Content that helps to explain elements of the commitments.
    • The story behind the sculpture created from recycled metal to mark the commitment.
    • English, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and French versions of the commitments (www.nature.icmm.com/position-statement).

About ICMM

ICMM stands for mining with principles. We bring together approximately a third of the world’s mining industry, along with key partners to drive leadership, action, and innovation for sustainable development. Through collaboration, ICMM member companies set the standard for responsibly produced minerals and metals to help build a safe, just and sustainable world.

Media contacts

Kristen Dodd (on the ground in Davos)
Director, Communications
Kristen.Dodd@icmm.com
+44 (0) 7758 785851

Molly Stewart (UK)
Manager, Communications
Molly.Stewart@icmm.com
+44 (0)7887778794

Quotes from ICMM Member CEOs & Stakeholders

ICMM Member CEOs

By adhering to these commitments, Antofagasta Minerals reaffirms its purpose of producing the copper that the energy transition needs in a sustainable way.  Our Mining Group has a path travelled on biodiversity protection and conservation. One example is the work carried out by Los Pelambres through reforestation with native species and the protection of extensive areas rich in biodiversity, that account for seven times the area used for the mining operation. These are nearly 27,000 hectares of land with high environmental and social value, including 4 Nature Sanctuaries protected by Law. 

“Today, we are taking an additional step, committing to adopting a positive approach to nature as an industry. We do so with the conviction that this will allow us to play a vital role in the global challenge of recovering biodiversity.

Collaboration across all sectors is essential to help stop and reverse nature loss and ICMM’s nature commitments will help companies to scale up their existing efforts and drive local and regional partnerships to better protect and restore our landscapes and ecosystems for the benefit of all.

“At Teck, we’re taking action to conserve and restore nature while we also provide the critical minerals the world needs to decarbonize. For us, that means implementing initiatives including conserving and reclaiming at least three hectares for every one hectare we affect through mining.

The ICMM’s Nature Position Statement is an important step to drive the additional focus and action needed to protect and restore nature today and for future generations. We have welcomed the opportunity to contribute to developing this Statement, with its framework and commitments. Together with our industry peers and our partners, we will continue to share our knowledge, experience and challenges as we strive to contribute to a nature positive future.

Hydro is dedicated to pioneering the green aluminium transition, not only through what we produce, but also through how we produce it. However, green goes beyond carbon emissions; protecting biodiversity, mitigating waste and being mindful of land-use are already high on our agenda to support a nature positive future and this commitment is an important step to solve our industry’s common global challenges.

We recognise the importance of a nature positive future for our planet and have been working to improve biodiversity outcomes since the launch of our Biodiversity Management Standard in 2014.  We are firmly committed to taking the necessary actions to support aims of the new Nature Position Statement, which outlines an ambitious set of goals for ICMM members and our host societies.

Strengthening a responsible raw material supply whilst securing biodiversity in areas we operate are closely linked to each other and a prioritized area within our industry. I am convinced that this ambition will, alongside a sustainable relation to nature, also improve regional relationships and understanding of raw material supply.

The minerals and metals we produce are critical to technologies that will enable the global energy transition. However, as an industry, our activities unavoidably impact nature. We are committed to managing and minimizing this impact. Through ICMM, we are working collectively to identify solutions to foster a positive future for nature. As a leading responsible copper producer, Freeport is dedicated to doing our part. We were pleased to contribute to the development of ICMM’s new Nature Position Statement to drive focus, collaboration and progress toward the conservation and restoration of nature.

Gold Fields’ mining activities have an undoubted impact on the environment and biodiversity. The experience of our operations, together with the commitments outlined in the ICMM’s Nature Position Statement, will help us design conservation and restoration programmes and strategies that will ensure our company makes a meaningful contribution to a nature positive future.

Newmont acknowledges nature loss as a substantial global challenge, and we understand the importance of having an integrated approach to reach a nature positive future. We are committed to advancing our current related work in alignment with ICMM’s Nature Positioning Statement as well as expanding our disclosure through early adoption of the Task Force for Nature Related Disclosures (TNFD) framework.

This commitment is a crucial milestone to the whole industry, as we have seen in recent years that climate and nature represent the key issue and cannot be addressed separately. Contributing to a Nature Positive future is not just good practice, but business strategy, and is related to the long-term survival of our planet and our business. Vale has invested in research, innovation and built a lot of partnerships to achieve its goals and contribute to positive outcomes for nature. Our 2030 Sustainability Agenda is a roadmap with commitments connected to climate change, low carbon economy, forest conservation and recovery, water consuming and social contributions to generate positive outcomes beyond our borders. This agenda reflects our vision and contributions to a positive future for nature.

Stakeholders

Today's commitment from the mining sector to contribute to a nature-positive future is welcome. Sector-wide coordination is key to halting and reversing today's accelerating loss of biodiversity. To help secure a nature-positive world, it will now be critical that ICMM’s members translate this commitment into truly nature-positive outcomes. This means both safeguarding areas with high biodiversity value and contributing in their operations to measurable gains in the health, abundance, diversity and resilience of species, ecosystems and natural processes.

The three global problems of climate change, biodiversity loss and poverty are being felt more and more, and therefore it makes it even more urgent that everyone and all sectors of society start acting. I would like to acknowledge and celebrate the fact that ICMM’s Nature Position Statement recognises the valuable role of Indigenous Peoples as partners in the conservation and restoration and sustainable use of nature, and that it goes further by affirming the meaningful and equitable and inclusive participation of those most affected.”   

“And so I welcome the statement as well as call for more action by operationalising these commitments in your daily work and to recognise that Indigenous Peoples need to be supported in their capacity building efforts. That support means providing them with resources, both financial as well as technical support, so that they are able to really effectively participate in all the discussions leading to the solutions that climate change and biodiversity require.

The mining and metals sector has the opportunity to profoundly and positively influence both our planet's health and industry sustainability by adopting nature positive initiatives to mitigate and reverse environmental impacts, and by ensuring resource longevity sits at the very heart of this effort. 

“Taking collective action and showing principled leadership on nature positive initiatives is crucial for the sector, so the ICMM Nature Position Statement is an important milestone on this journey. The journey towards a sustainable future in the metals and mining sector must continue and I would urge ICMM members to strive for greater governance and transparency in integrating nature into business decisions and developing robust metrics for supporting progress towards nature-positive outcomes.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development welcomes the leadership of ICMM to address the business continuity risk of nature loss. There's general consensus now that one company alone cannot achieve nature positive but can contribute to a nature positive future through both individual and collective actions. Therefore, it's really encouraging to see in the ICMM Position Statement actions that address those different scales – building on site level and net gain actions, and expanding into other levels, including landscapes at a corporate level and into value chains upstream and especially downstream.  

“This approach is generally aligned with the key nature related frameworks that have been emerging last year, as synthesised in the Roadmaps to Nature Positive, and going forward, WBCSD looks forward to engaging with leading members within ICMM to mobilise those priority actions along key value chains that use metals and minerals, aiming to halt and reverse associated nature loss at the scale and speed needed for a nature positive role by 2030.