Glencore beats emissions target, sets out to deliver safety step change

14th May 2020

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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JOHANNESBURG ( – Diversified mining and marketing company Glencore significantly surpassed its emission target in 2019 but described its safety performance as being unacceptable.

In announcing the publication on its website of its 2019 Sustainability Report as well as its environment, social and governance (ESG) data book, Glencore head of sustainable development Anna Krutikov stated on Thursday that a number of initiatives had been put in place to deliver a step change in safety performance.

“Our safety performance was unacceptable,” she said in a release to Mining Weekly. After 17 people lost their lives at Glencore operations last year, the safety initiatives put in place included deep dives at poorly-performing assets and a group-wide fatality reduction programme.

On the climate change front, Krutikov reported that by the end of 2019, Glencore had reduced its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 9.7% on a 2016 baseline, significantly surpassing its target of a 5% reduction by 2020. Details would be provided in late 2020 on a new, longer-term target that supported the Paris Goals. During 2019, Glencore furthered its work on identifying and quantifying its operations’ carbon reduction opportunities through marginal abatement cost curves.

In early 2019, the company published its climate change position statement, which advanced its commitment to transition to a low-carbon economy. In February 2020, an update on the performance against this position statement was provided, as well as disclosure for the first time of its Scope 3 emissions projection.

The 97-page sustainability report focuses on the areas identified as material to Glencore, its assets and both its internal and external stakeholders.

Included are sections on the efforts each commodity business is undertaking to drive the integration of sustainability at operational level.

“We recognise that our operational and geographical diversity make it difficult to achieve a consistent performance at all of our assets. We continue to experience challenges and we are focusing our efforts to improve our performance,” Krutikov said.


During the year, Glencore revised its protocol for the management of tailings storage facilities (TSFs) to align it with the Dam Safety Guidelines of the Canadian Dam Association, currently considered one of the leading international guidelines for TSF management. A microsite had been set up to provide detailed information on its TSFs.


Glencore stated that it recognised that its suppliers were critical partners in its commitment to operate in a manner that is responsible, transparent and respects the human rights of all.

It pointed out that its Supplier Standards launched last year set out the company’s expectations for ethical business practices, safety and health, human rights and environment, and the long-term supply agreements struck with some of its key cobalt customers followed its commitment to sourcing and supplying products responsibly.


Glencore said its activities could make a significant contribution to the national, regional and local economies in which it operated through the provision of employment and training, tax and royalty payments to governments for essential services, local procurement, social development and environmental stewardship.

The company said it prioritised employing local people and 96% of its workforce was local to the countries in which it operated.

Its tax and royalty payments contributed $7.7-billion to host governments and, in addition, $9-million was spent on public infrastructure projects, such as water, sewage, power networks and roads.

The estimated 3.4-million people living near to its assets had benefited from its community investment activities, which included spending $90-million on environmental initiatives, health-care facilities, educational programmes and enterprise development.


Reflecting the findings from its most recent materiality assessment, Glencore stated that it had included a new section on land stewardship, which detailed its management of biodiversity impact, rehabilitation and commitment to closing assets responsibly once they had reached the end of their operational life.

Over the coming weeks, the company would also be publishing standalone reports on human rights and water as well as an annual payments to government report and a modern slavery statement. These publications were produced to meet the varying information requests and stakeholder queries that the company received regularly.


From the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Glencore said it had prioritised the health and wellbeing of its workforce, as well as the communities living around its assets.

It had formulated its response in partnership with expert medical advisers and it took into account advice from governments in operating countries and global bodies, such as the World Health Organisation.

In early April, it launched a $25-million Community Support Fund to complement the existing efforts by local teams to provide the support their communities needed during the pandemic.

“We have designed the fund to be flexible and responsive and it is initially prioritising assistance to local health authorities and community organisations and their responses to the immediate impacts of the crisis,” said Krutikov.

Initiatives such as access to clean water, hygiene products and medical equipment would be important in some regions. In others, the company’s efforts might focus on enabling students to continue learning while schools were closed.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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