Environment

Environment

Producing essential materials responsibly

Man's activities and current use of resources are unsustainable. The world is seeing unprecedented levels of climate change, habitat degradation and pollution. Balancing economic growth and environmentally sustainable development is perhaps the key challenge of our times.

Our licence to operate rightly depends upon the quality of our environmental stewardship. We respect the value of natural resources of our host countries. We consider the environmental impact of all our activities, and we are pioneering innovative ways to reduce energy use and carbon emissions, manage water responsibly, and reduce waste.

The materials we produce are essential to human progress. And we must produce them responsibly.

Biodiversity, Richards Bay Minerals Biodiversity, Richards Bay Minerals

By 2050, almost ten billion people will require food, shelter and energy. The demand for the essential metals and minerals we provide will continue to be immense. Against this backdrop, Rio Tinto has long recognised the significance of climate change. A key role for society – and Rio Tinto – is to find ways to emit much less carbon dioxide and reduce our environmental impact. Our aim is to be part of the solution.

Jean-Sébastien Jacques, chief executive, Rio Tinto


Our approach

In planning and operating our assets, we seek to avoid, prevent, mitigate and remediate the environmental impacts of our activities. We work with our host communities and regulators to manage and monitor these and to comply with relevant regulations.

We believe we can make the most difference by “thinking globally and acting locally”. So we look at each of our sites and set improvement targets that reflect our overall ambition while taking into account the particular circumstances of each location.

This includes managing the risks and impacts from air emissions and non-mineral waste. Our overriding aim is to protect human health and the environment and we work with neighbouring communities to understand any impacts and further improve our practices.

We work in accordance with the Rio Tinto management system standard as well as Group-wide and business-specific environmental standards and processes. We participate in industry reviews covering issues such as tailings management and water stewardship to share knowledge, learn from others and improve our management approaches.

We seek to avoid and minimise biodiversity loss and land disturbance, while improving our biodiversity management practices. Our approach is consistent with the mitigation hierarchy of avoidance, minimisation, restoration, and offsets where appropriate.

Driving environmental progress

At Rio Tinto, we recognise the importance of tackling climate change. Our operations are energy intensive, and we are taking action to improve productivity and reduce emissions. The challenge is to meet the world’s growing needs for the metals and minerals we produce, while addressing the issue of climate change.

Aluminium is one area where our innovation is making a difference. Our low-carbon aluminium – RenewAl – has a carbon dioxide footprint three times lower than the industry average. For more than 30 years, we have partnered with the automotive sector to find ways to use aluminium in car frames and bodies, making cars lighter weight, more fuel efficient and increasing safety performance.

The road ahead

“By 2050, almost ten billion people will require food, shelter and energy. The demand for the essential metals and minerals we provide will continue to be immense. Against this backdrop, Rio Tinto has long recognised the significance of climate change. A key role for society – and Rio Tinto – is to find ways to emit much less carbon dioxide and reduce our environmental impact. Our aim is to be part of the solution.”

Jean-Sébastien Jacques, chief executive, Rio Tinto