Some of the world’s largest copper producers have pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The International Copper Association (ICA) has set incremental targets for its members to cut emissions by 30-40% by 2030, by 70-80% by 2040, before eventually hitting net zero a decade later.
The Association believes the move could make the sector more attractive to environmentally-conscious investment funds.
Despite the copper industry representing just 0.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, emissions intensity has already fallen by 13.4% from 1990 levels.
Members making the commitment include BHP Group and Glencore – but none from China, the world’s biggest producer of refined copper.
The demand for copper is set to double to 50 million tonnes by 2050, up from 2020 levels, the ICA has projected – stating that getting ahead of the curve on sustainability will be crucial before the sector grows.
Copper production from scrap metal is considered easier to decarbonise than some other sectors because it can typically be done using electricity.
As part of the agreement, members will also work with customers to reduce their Scope 3 emissions by 10% by 2030, up to 70% by 2050.
The ICA said: “These collective ambitions show a clear trajectory to achieving defined emissions reductions of up to 85% by 2050, with the balance to be addressed through advanced technologies and enhanced collaboration.”