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November 15, 2021

How can minerals support the drive to lower carbon emissions?

To withstand the actual and expected impacts of climate change and protect the environment for future generations, we must adjust the way we live and do business.

Luzenac, France: 5,5 km cableway avoiding 34 km round trip by truck. By descending talc to the plant, the cableway is generating power and provides the national grid  with low-carbon electricity

Meeting ambitious emission-reduction targets

As an industrial company, Imerys has a vital role to play in driving change and protecting the environment.

Imerys is committed to reducing the scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 36% relative to revenue (tCO2/M€), by 2030 from a 2018 base year, in alignment with the COP21 2°C trajectory.

Imerys has already started to integrate this objective into our strategy – and all the functions and Business Areas are on board,” says Christine Deneriaz, Group Environmental Vice President. “The diversity of our locations, markets and customers and the knowledge we gain from that is making us more resilient.”

Within Imerys, we are working hard to track all the improvements that can be made in terms of energy efficiency.”

We are also working on the improvement of our energy mix – replacing fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases, such as coal and oil, with clean and renewable energies such as solar, wind power and biomass.”

In many ways, Imerys exceeds its industry peers, as evidenced by its current Carbon Disclosure Project rating of B – above the average C rating of the mining and minerals sector. This highlights the Group’s maturity in areas such as data monitoring and KPIs and the validation of objectives by the Science-Based Targets initiative.

In 2021, we conducted a comprehensive assessment of climate-related risks and opportunities in accordance with international guidelines – for example, from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures – with the support of a dedicated working group made up of different functions to ensure that all aspects are integrated.”

Supporting customers’ low-carbon goals

Imerys is striving to demonstrate how innovation can support environmental goals and how minerals can make a positive difference to our customers’ carbon footprint.

If customers want to reduce their carbon footprint, they must involve their suppliers,” says Emmanuelle Henry-Lanier, Product Sustainability Director. “As such, Imerys has a role to play in demonstrating our commitments and actions and also to provide relevant data regarding the environmental footprint of our products.”

In 2018, Imerys launched its SustainAgility Solutions Assessment framework, which has been designed in line with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development guidelines for Portfolio Sustainability Assessments. This review process objectively measures the sustainability of Imerys’ products and identifies their environmental and social impacts.

Imerys produces some solutions and products that allow customers to reduce their emissions or those linked to the use of the final product. For example, an ultra-reactive low CO2 concrete – which lowers binder content and therefore reduces carbon dioxide emissions in the final application by up to 40%. 

The drive towards a more circular economy is also providing opportunities for Imerys products that favor recycling of applications.

We are continually extending the number of products assessed in order to have a quantification of the environmental footprint of our portfolio and be able to provide our customers with accurate data.

As we strive to provide reliable information to our customers on the emissions and impacts linked to our products, we are also working with our suppliers to improve the understanding of the impacts of our own supply chain.

Reducing indirect emissions

Between 53 and 56% of the Group’s emissions are indirect emissions associated with the products and services that we consume or purchase, or the transport of products to customers. To reduce indirect emissions, the Purchasing function is focused on the supply chain, assessing the maturity of suppliers with regard to climate change and engaging them to actively reduce their emissions.

The Purchasing team is working on this in two main ways,” says Olivier Brunet, Group Purchasing Vice President, “firstly, by assessing suppliers with regard to their climate change strategy with the objective of having more suppliers with reduction targets aligned with ours and with international goals. Secondly, the Group aims to improve the quality and precision of the quantification of our indirect emissions."

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