March 4, 2024

Jo Mai Asian Culture

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Mining leaders make landmark commitments to support the natural environment

3 min read

Leading global mining and metals companies have committed to take urgent action to support a nature positive future by 2030 that promotes the health, diversity and resilience of species, ecosystems, and natural processes.

With responsibly produced minerals and metals playing a critical role in advancing global sustainable development goals, ICMM members, representing a third of the global industry, have pledged that meeting this demand for critical materials must not be at the expense of nature.

Shaped by experts and leaders from a range of disciplines from across ICMM company and association members, as well as from civil society, academia, Indigenous representatives, and investor and disclosure bodies, ICMM’s new commitments set out a 5-point plan for nature:

  1. Protect and conserve pristine areas of our natural environment: No mining or exploration in World Heritage Sites and respect all legally designated protected areas.
  2. Halt biodiversity loss at our operations: Achieve at least no net loss of biodiversity at all mine sites by closure against a 2020 baseline.
  3. Collaborate across value chains: Develop initiatives and partnerships that halt and reverse nature loss throughout supply and distribution chains.
  4. Restore and enhance landscapes: Around operations through local partnerships, including with Indigenous Peoples, land-connected peoples, and local communities.
  5. Catalyse wider change: Acting to change the fundamental systems that contribute to nature loss and fostering opportunities for nature’s recovery.

These commitments apply to activities across all four realms of nature – land, freshwater, oceans, and atmosphere – leveraging companies’ areas of influence – from their direct operations, value chains and wider landscapes, through to creating the conditions required to achieve systems transformation. They are supported by transparent disclosures on performance outcomes, including publishing the results of nature-related impact and dependency assessments, and setting targets to address these.

Rohitesh Dhawan, President and CEO, ICMM announced the nature commitments at a Nature Positive Initiative event in Davos, commenting:

“The mining industry owes its very existence to nature. At a time when the health of our natural world is in peril yet the demand for critical minerals is set to soar, we have committed to significant collective action to help create a nature positive future. These commitments build on the significant individual goals and actions of ICMM members over several decades, including habitat conservation, species protection, and landscape restoration.

“There is no escaping that the act of mining directly affects nature, which is why the cornerstone of our commitments is to ensure at least no net loss of biodiversity at all mine sites by closure against a 2020 baseline. In addition, we have committed to take steps in our value chains, landscapes, and the wider systems in which we operate so that the total impact of our actions contribute to a nature positive future. These will be taken with the critical participation of Indigenous and land-connected peoples, and local communities, whose rights, values, and knowledge will be central to our actions.”

ICMM members have already implemented a number of initiatives focused on conservation and restoration, for example, strengthening protection for areas of high biodiversity value, developing innovative technologies for improved seed performance during landscape revegetation, and defending important habitats from invasive species. ICMM’s new commitments will enhance these to drive performance across the industry.

Collaboration across all sectors is essential to help stop and reverse nature loss and ICMM’s nature commitments will help companies to scale up their existing efforts and drive local and regional partnerships to better protect and restore our landscapes and ecosystems for the benefit of all.

“At Teck, we’re taking action to conserve and restore nature while we also provide the critical minerals the world needs to decarbonise. For us, that means implementing initiatives including conserving and reclaiming at least three hectares for every one hectare we affect through mining,” added Jonathan Price, President and CEO, Teck Resources Limited, and Chair of ICMM’s Council Nature Advisory Group.

The commitments on direct operations, value chain and governance and transparency apply to all members, and individual members will select at least one of three commitment options relating to wider landscapes and systems transformation, in order to maximise their positive contribution.

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