Glencore’s Sustainability Efforts Highlight Advances Amid Increased Emissions and Energy Use

Global diversified miner Glencore has reported increased emissions and energy use in 2023 but continues to advance its sustainability efforts.

Alloys GCR 230405 0206

Global diversified miner Glencore has reported increased emissions and energy use in 2023 but continues to advance its sustainability efforts. Despite the rise in emissions, the company remains committed to reducing its environmental footprint and enhancing its operational sustainability according to evolving industry standards.

Increased Energy Use and Emissions

Glencore’s total energy consumption in 2023 was 202 petajoules (PJ), up from 194 PJ in 2022. Renewable energy sources provided 5.4% of the company’s total energy needs, a decrease from 7.6% the previous year. The group’s 2023 Sustainability Report, released on May 17, details Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions totaling 433 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent, up from 397 million tonnes in 2022.

Emissions Breakdown and Historical Context

Of the total emissions, 324 million tonnes are attributed to the use of sold products (Scope 3, Category 11), while Glencore’s own operations generated approximately 33 million tonnes. Despite the increase from the previous year, the total emissions still represent an improvement from the 554 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent reported in 2019. This reduction is largely due to a decline in coal production, which lowers customer coal use.

Sustainability Goals and Achievements

Glencore is focused on reducing its Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions by 15% by the end of 2026, using a 2019 baseline. The company aims for a 50% reduction by 2035, with a long-term goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Water extraction also saw a decrease from 1.08 million cubic meters in 2022 to 950 million cubic meters in 2023. Despite receiving 28 water-related fines totaling $2.2 million, Glencore is working to optimize local water targets and enhance its water management practices.

Ethics and Compliance Initiatives

In response to past incidents involving improper business advantages and bribery, Glencore has invested heavily in its ethics and compliance program. The company was fined $700 million by US authorities and £276 million by the UK for bribery related to its African operations. In mid-2023, two independent compliance monitors began their work as part of resolutions with the US Department of Justice. Ongoing investigations by Swiss and Dutch authorities are being overseen by Glencore’s board investigations committee.

Leadership and Governance

Chairperson Kalidas Madhavpeddi emphasized the company’s comprehensive sustainability approach, which includes continuously enhanced policies, standards, and procedures. CEO Gary Nagle highlighted the integration of elements from the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures into the group’s environmental governance framework. Glencore’s updated Climate Action Transition Plan outlines its climate-related initiatives from 2024 to 2026.

Social Contributions and Community Engagement

In 2023, Glencore paid $12 billion to governments and spent approximately $110 million on social contribution programs. The company is reviewing its approach to social contributions to align with the ICMM’s Socioeconomic Reporting Framework. Later this year, Glencore will launch a Social Contribution Framework to recognize community development outcomes from both discretionary and non-discretionary contributions.

Safety and Risk Management

Glencore reported four work-related fatalities at its industrial assets in 2023, a decrease in its total recordable injury frequency rate from 2.22 in 2022 to 2.1. The company’s Safework 2.0 assurance program aims to address safety gaps at industrial assets, including language barriers. Expanded Fatal Hazard Protocols and standards for catastrophic hazards, particularly for lifting, cranage, and energy isolation activities, were also implemented in 2023.

Glencore’s 2023 Sustainability Report underscores the company’s commitment to managing its operations sustainably despite facing challenges related to increased emissions and energy use. Through ongoing investments in ethics and compliance, social contributions, and safety measures, Glencore is working towards its ambitious sustainability goals while continuing to provide essential raw materials for the global economy.

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