Key copper players embrace net zero goals in biggest-ever green push
Member companies of the International Copper Association (ICA) have agreed to reach net zero in Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2050, and work toward the same goal for Scope 3 emissions with interim goals set for 2030 and 2040.
The pledge is supported by some of the biggest copper players in the world, including Antofagasta, Aurubis, Freeport-McMoRan, Glencore and Grupo México Mining Division.
As copper demand is set to double by 2050, Copper—The Pathway to Net Zero sets out an ambition for ICA’s members — among the largest producers of refined copper in the world — to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 30-40 percent by 2030 and by 70-80 percent by 2040.
Regarding Scope 3 emissions, members will work to reduce emissions 10 percent by 2030, 30-40 percent by 2040, and 60-70 percent by 2050.
"These collective ambitions show a clear trajectory to achieving defined emissions reductions of up to 85 percent by 2050, with the balance to be addressed through advanced technologies and enhanced collaboration with value chain partners," the ICA said in a statement.
Refined copper production emitted an estimated 97 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2018.
Scope 2 emissions accounted for 46 percent of these emissions, followed by Scope 3 at 31 percent and Scope 1 at 23 percent. This constitutes around 0.2 percent of global man-made emissions.
Industry needs and policy goals
ICA estimates that certain industry needs and policy goals must also be met in order to hit the roadmap’s goals.
These include further research and development into innovative technologies for emissions reduction, the decarbonization of local power grids and regulatory certainty, including fair and stable royalties and long-term mining licenses.
The roadmap states how ICA members will reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions through four abatement levers based on market-ready and developing technologies: alternative fuels, equipment electrification, decarbonized electricity, and energy efficiency.
Moreover, the ICA stressed the ambition outlined in the roadmap is based on current knowledge of decarbonization technologies and on a set of "sound hypotheses about availability at scale, and the cost and abatement potential of these technologies."
"If required at all, carbon offsets and commercially unrealized technologies like carbon capture would be limited to minimal, highly specific cases," the group said.
Key raw material
The copper industry produces a key raw material used in a vast array of energy generation, energy transmission and digital applications, as well as energy-using products.
Copper is seen as essential for the transition toward a carbon-neutral economy and, as a result, various analysts expect global demand for copper to double by 2050.
“Copper is the cornerstone material for a net-zero future, and our industry is committed to producing copper sustainably and with a steadily reducing carbon footprint," Anthony Lea, President of the ICA, said today.
"Meeting net-zero goals requires more than just investment; it requires partnerships across the entire value chain," Lea explained.
He stressed ICA’s members are "ready to collaborate and partner with all stakeholders to further improve industry sustainability and meet our 2050 goals."