By Jaime Llinares Taboada
BHP Group PLC set targets to achieve net-zero emissions for its suppliers and shippers, but said that it can't do the same for heavily polluting downstream activities such as steelmaking.
The world's largest miner by market value on Tuesday published an updated climate-transition plan, which includes enhanced targets for value chain (Scope 3) emissions. In order to progress toward its ambition of achieving net-zero Scope 3 emissions by 2050, the company is now targeting net zero for its direct suppliers and for the maritime transport of its products by 2050.
However, BHP said it couldn't do the same for the pollution caused by the processing of the commodities it sells: "...recognizing the particular challenge of a net-zero pathway for customers' processing of our products, which is dependent on the development and downstream deployment of solutions and supportive policy, we cannot set a target".
BHP said it will continue to partner with customers to accelerate the transition to carbon-neutral steelmaking and other downstream processes, and that it will pursue carbon-neutral production of commodities such as copper, nickel and potash that are seen as essential for the energy transition.
In 2020, the Anglo-Australian miner committed at least $400 million to fund emission-cutting projects across its assets and value chain, and in 2021 committed to spending up to $65 million in partnership with its steel customers.
Scope 3 emissions are generated by suppliers, logistics, customers and non-operated investments. They represent 96% of BHP's total reported emissions, because it sells huge amounts of iron ore and metallurgical coal for its customers to produce steel.
Steelmaking accounted for 300.5 million metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent of BHP's 402.5 million tons total Scope 3 emissions in the year through June, according to the company. In comparison, procurement generated 10.4 million tons and maritime activities produced 7.4 million tons.
"In any net-zero future, steel will play an essential role... The challenge for steelmaking is to produce this vital commodity to enable sustainable growth, while reducing the emissions footprint of the production process itself," BHP said in its climate-transition report.
Write to Jaime Llinares Taboada at email@example.com; @JaimeLlinaresT
(END) Dow Jones Newswires