BC Works landscape

Sustainability

We work hard to leave a lasting, positive legacy everywhere we work.

Working in a way that delivers real, lasting benefits for our operations as well as the wider communities in which we work is essential to our sustainability approach. We strive to leave a lasting, positive legacy everywhere we operate.

We partner with local communities and continually work to develop more responsible ways to explore, mine, and process the minerals and metals essential to human progress, including the materials needed to build a low-carbon economy.

Powering our Operations Sustainably

Our customers are paying increasing attention to the sustainability of the materials they use. The clean hydropower we use to produce aluminium in Canada makes our greenhouse gas footprint significantly lower than the global industry average.

We continue to invest in sustainable power. For example, building a tunnel in British Columbia that will enhance the long-term security of the renewable hydro power supply for the BC Works aluminium smelter in Kitimat.

At our Diavik diamond mine, the first large-scale wind farm in Canada's Northwest Territories is helping to offset the use of diesel power.

Sustainability

Partnering to innovate

Our Elysis partnership with Alcoa, supported by Apple and the governments of Canada and Quebec, is further developing the world’s first aluminium smelting process that produces no direct greenhouse gas emissions. This revolutionary process produces an oxygen by-product instead of carbon emissions. In December 2019, the first ever commercial batch of aluminium made using this process was sold to Apple for use in their products. 

Our Canadian aluminium operations were the first in the industry to be independently certified for responsible production by the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI). Nespresso is partnering with Rio Tinto to use our ASI certified aluminium in their coffee pods.

Caring for the Environment

We care about our environmental footprint and firmly believe our work to develop Canada’s rich resources can and must coexist with a healthy, thriving environment. That’s why we build partnerships with our communities, partners and environmental leaders, investing and innovating to make our operations among the cleanest, safest and most energy efficient in the world. 

In 2019, we partnered with the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) to establish the NSERC/Rio Tinto Senior Industrial Research Chair in Climate Change and Water Security, advancing research programmes in the region and providing first-hand learning opportunities for students.
 
As pioneers in the creation of flood monitoring technology at our hydroelectric facilities in Quebec, we can precisely anticipate which areas of the community will be impacted by potential floods events, and work with local residents to keep them informed and safe. 

We continue to take steps to manage risks and build resilience to climate change, as well as to position ourselves for new opportunities. That’s good news for our employees, their families, and the communities in which we operate, as we work together to take care of the environment.