Measuring Our Contribution to Sustainable Development
Individually, Copper Alliance® members have been sharing sustainability metrics with the public for years. In 2011, Copper Alliance® members decided to collectively analyze these figures. By doing this on a global scale through ICA, the industry is able to identify areas for benchmarking and collective action. ICA is committed to sharing these figures with the public.
The nine indicators chosen are aligned with the Global Reporting Initiative, which provides a consistent, well-recognized methodology for reporting. Joining this collective effort is voluntary, and in 2017, 24 members participated. These members represent between 40 – 50 percent of global annual copper production.
Our members rated their performance against a range of indicators. The following members responded:
Measuring Across Three Sectors
Before copper ends up in a finished product, it must go through many stages of processing. The first is mining, where the members who responded produce approximately eight million tonnes of ores and concentrates per year. The second stage, refined production, involves members smelting and refining around nine million tonnes of ores, concentrates and recycled material into cathodes, cakes, and billets annually. The third category is fabrication where members transform around four million tonnes per year of refined copper into semi-fabricates and products such as wire rods and sheets.
Amount of World Copper Production Represented by the SD Indicators in 2016
When calculating the indicators, the volume of copper is not double or triple counted as it moves along the manufacturing chain. This means the indicators characterize 10 – 11 million unique copper tonnes per year, representing around 40 percent of the annual world copper used.
Facts & Figures
While 2016 did see an increase in CO2 emissions intensity, Copper Alliance® members are taking action to reduce the CO2 emissions. They are making commitments to reach 100 percent renewable energy on site and finding ways to reduce fuel and energy use through innovative technology.
Energy intensity increased in 2016; however, the energy required during the production phase of copper’s life cycle is often offset during the use phase. A majority—70 percent—of copper goes to electrical end-use applications as it is the most efficient nonprecious conductor of heat and electricity. Copper in electrical systems can deliver a lifetime savings of 100 to 7,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions and save users between $25,000 and $2.5 million in reduced energy costs [source].
In 2016 water drawn from primary sources was used at least twice on average before exiting production sites. Copper Alliance® members surveyed demonstrate continued positive progress in the amount of water they are able to recycle and reuse during copper production.
On average, the Copper Alliance® members surveyed feed $115 billion per year into the global economy. In 2016, 95 percent of the revenue was redistributed in the form of wages, operating costs, financing, and investing in local community development.
On average, the Copper Alliance® members surveyed invest $20 billion every year to improve their contribution to sustainable development. This includes spending on protection of the environment and improving the safety of operations.
The Copper Alliance® members surveyed employ over 323,000 people on average per year. This does not include the hundreds of thousands of jobs created by the industries using copper. In Chile – where 30% of the world’s copper is mined - it is estimated that for each job in a copper mine, 3.7 jobs are created in other sectors of the economy.
Between 2013 and 2014 the Copper Alliance® celebrated a step change reduction in the injury rate by members surveyed. Significant investment in equipment and training, as well as industry-wide use of the OHSAS 18001 (industrial safety and health protection) certification has driven progress on this indicator.
The majority of Copper Alliance members publish sustainability reports. Please note that some companies are privately owned and are not legally obliged to publish sustainability reports.
To learn more about how the indicators are calculated, download the methodology.
The copper industry has a diverse, global footprint.