What is the copper industry doing to encourage innovation?The copper industry is conscious of both its responsibilities for sustainable production and the enormous opportunities offered by a more prosperous and low-carbon future. We are also keenly aware that we need to “walk the walk.”We are contributing to growth in communities. We recently completed a survey of 26 members representing 40 percent of world copper demand. These member organizations employ more than 300,000 people and are providing many local communities with schools, healthcare and water. Remote towns and communities that would otherwise vanish in the tsunami of urbanization depend on our members for their health and well-being. Our surveyed members invest $380 million in local communities each year.We are driving sustainable production that protects the environment. We understand that the production activities driving growth in communities need to be water wise and energy efficient to minimize our impact on the environment and ensure a safe workplace. Future generations will not just judge us on what we produce but also on what we preserve.In Europe, our members have reduced their energy consumption by 60 percent since 1990. Our members reported increasing their water recycling rate by nearly 70 percent over the past five years. Each year, our surveyed members invest more than $20 billion USD in improving the environmental and safety performance of their operations.

  • Back in 2013, our member company Codelco installed a thermosolar plant at its Gabriela Mistral mine to generate an average of 54,000MWh/y and provide 85 percent of the power needed for its SX-EW copper plant. The installation has reduced the mine’s CO2 emissions by 15,000t/y. In 2017, Codelco promised to produce sustainable copper cathode over the next few years.
  • Rio Tinto, another global member, reduced its GHG emissions intensity by 20.3 percent from 2008 to 2015, exceeding its set 10 percent target. By the end of 2016, the company had reduced its GHG emissions intensity by 26 percent.

We are an industry that endorses accountability. This includes publishing all relevant sustainability data and adhering to Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and similar initiatives.

We are investing in our low-carbon future. The industry continues to invest in new innovations to discover new ways copper can be used to reduce energy use. We work with governments across the globe to promote Best Available Technology and introduce standards for energy efficiency together with the UN as part of United for Efficiency (U4E).

As industry leaders, we must work together with policy makers to ensure we contribute to innovations meeting the increased demand for clean water, food, low-carbon electricity and clean air while combatting climate change and protecting the environment.