In what is the largest mining industry carbon-reduction investment to date, Rio Tinto have announced up to $1.5 billion ($1 billion USD) will be invested over a five year period into initiatives to significantly reduce their emissions. The end goal is carbon-neutrality by the year 2050.
For context, the investment is approximately 2.5 times larger than the $400 million figure announced by BHP last year.
“Climate change is a global challenge and will require action across nations, across industries and by society at large. New technologies, partnerships and effective government policies will be key in achieving this goal but today there is no clear pathway for the world to get to net zero emissions by 2050,” said Rio Tinto Chief Executive, Jean-Sebastian Jacques.
Given the significant emissions that mining operations have traditionally produced, shareholder and public pressure has placed increasing demands on companies to work towards net-zero carbon dioxide outputs. Funding initiatives that avoid, reduce or remove greenhouse emissions elsewhere in the form of “carbon offsetting” is one action available to companies, but will be a last resort to Rio.
"Our philosophy is to avoid generating CO2 in the first place. We are open to offsets but it would be the last port of call because we want to be part of the solution,” said Jacques.
As part of the announcement, Rio has also revised a number of other targets leading up to the 2050 carbon-neutrality objective. This include achieving the following by 2030:
- A 15 per cent reduction in absolute emissions below 2018 levels
- 30 per cent reduction in "emissions intensity" from 2018 levels. This is defined as the emissions per unit of commodities it produces
If achieved, these targets would result in Rio’s overall growth being carbon neutral between now and 2030, according to the company.
“Rio Tinto’s new 2030 climate targets are linked to executive remuneration. The Chief Executive’s Short Term Incentive Plan includes delivery of the group’s strategy on climate consistent with the new targets. These are cascaded down to relevant members of the Executive Committee and other members of senior management,” confirmed Rio.
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