ICMM members make collective commitment to reach net zero by 2050

A group of the world’s biggest mining companies have committed to a goal of net-zero direct and indirect carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) said.

The ICMM’s membership, which is comprised of 28 members that account for one third of the global mining and metals industry, have made the collective pledge ahead of next month’s UN Climate Change Conference.

“ICMM members’ collective commitment to net zero scope one (direct) and two (indirect) greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is a pivotal moment in our history,” said ICMM’s CEO Rohitesh Dhawan in an open letter signed by the 28 chiefs of the world’s largest miners.

Several members, including Anglo American, Rio Tinto and BHP, have already made individual net zero commitments by 2050 or earlier, amid sustained pressure from environmental activists and shareholders.

Mining faces a ‘decarbonisation challenge’ because it has to reduce emissions while producing metals – such as nickel and copper – that are vital to the low carbon economy, said Konrad von Szczepanski of Boston Consulting Group.

Direct and indirect emissions will be lowered by accelerating the use of renewable energy at mine sites and reducing or eliminating the use of diesel trucks, Dhawan told Reuters.

Targets for scope three emissions, which includes those from customers processing iron ore to steel, should be set ‘if not by the end of 2023, as soon as possible’.