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Our commitment to a goal of net zero by 2050 or sooner

5 October 2021

As stewards of the minerals and metals that are critical to decarbonisation and sustainable development, we embrace our responsibility to minimise the impact of our operations on the environment. That is why today, we collectively commit as members of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) to a goal of net zero Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 or sooner in line with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.

Although we may have individual decarbonisation targets which in some cases go beyond our collective commitment, this represents a joint ambition from companies that make up one-third of the global mining and metals industry. In doing so, we hope to encourage our suppliers and customers to join us in decarbonising our value chains while we support the decarbonisation of the value chains of others. We will also continue to work closely with our 35 mining and commodity association members to accelerate climate action in our wider industry.

Our collective commitment is grounded in the belief that meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals will need all parts of society to work together on more integrated approaches that strike the right balance between environmental, social and economic outcomes, to promote the prosperity of people and the planet. We recognise the contribution we can make in this regard, not only in supplying essential minerals and metals, but in building the resilience of our host communities and countries.

Acting together, we are seeking to accelerate the deployment of zero emission mining vehicles in our operations and the wider industry through the Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicles (ICSV) initiative. And through our Skills for our Common Future initiative, we are helping to support people in our host communities to equip themselves with the means to thrive in a net zero economy.

We will enhance these and other collective efforts so that even as the demand for our products rises to enable decarbonisation technologies, our GHG emissions can reach net zero by 2050. The rate and nature of the ultimate decline in GHG emissions will vary across the different commodities and geographies represented by our diverse membership. Yet, our approach to individually setting and meeting targets will be consistent and include the following, no later than the end of 2023 where these do not already exist:

  • Setting Scope 1 and 2 targets: we will build clear pathways to achieving net zero Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 2050 or sooner, through meaningful short and/or medium-term targets. 
  • Accelerating action on Scope 3 GHG emissions: we recognise that Scope 3 is critical to minimising our overall impact and we will set Scope 3 targets, if not by the end of 2023, as soon as possible. Although all Scope 3 action depends on the combined efforts of producers, suppliers and customers, some commodities face greater technological and collaborative barriers than others. We will play a leading role in overcoming these barriers and advancing partnerships that enable credible target setting and emission reductions across value chains. 
  • Covering all material sources: our targets will cover all material sources of emissions, aligning to the GHG Protocol definition of organisational boundaries and materiality.
  • Focussing on absolute reductions: for some operations, intensity rather than absolute targets may be more appropriate in the short and medium term. Where intensity targets are used, we will disclose the corresponding absolute increase or decrease in GHG emissions.
  • Applying robust methodologies: we will use target-setting methodologies that are aligned with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and disclose in detail the assumptions we use.
  • Disclosing openly and transparently: we will report our progress on Scopes 1, 2 and 3 annually, obtain external verification over our performance, and report in alignment with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. 

These are additional to and will be incorporated into an update of ICMM’s existing Climate Change Position Statement which includes several commitments on performance and disclosure. And in turn, action on climate change is an integral part of our overall Mining Principles, representing our comprehensive commitment to responsible mining, which we will continue to update regularly. We will continue to strengthen the governance and integration of our climate change response with our actions in other areas, particularly water, biodiversity, and socio-economic development.

Ultimately, we come together as ICMM because we believe in the power of collective action to solve sustainability challenges and to enable the responsible production, processing and use of essential commodities. As the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report on the physical science makes clear, there is no greater contemporary challenge than climate change, and there has never been a more important time for collective action.