Hydropower, Kemano, Kitimat

Environmental, Social & Governance

We must ensure all our stakeholders benefit from our success. We will achieve impeccable ESG performance by aligning our business priorities with society’s expectations. This is essential to the future of our business.

  • Our goals & targets

    • Supplying low-intensity materials
    • Becoming a responsible steward of resources
    • Supporting social and economic opportunity


    Lead SDGs 12, 17 and supporting SDGs 9, 13

    Business objectives:

    Impeccable ESG credentials

    We aim to:

    • Decarbonise our value chains (Scope 3) and maximise the full value of our resources
    • Encourage circularity and provide critical minerals that the world needs to advance

    Our targets:

    • To achieve net zero emissions from our operations (Scope 1 and 2) by 2050

    Examples of actions we’re taking:

    • We committed $537 million in partnership with the Government of Canada to decarbonise RTIT Quebec Operations and boost critical minerals processing
    • Our Steel Decarbonisation team has advanced 49 projects with more than 30 partners
    • We successfully piloted an innovative, low-carbon iron-making process on Pilbara iron ore, known as BioIronTM
    • Invested in a new aluminium recycling facility at our Arvida operation in Canada
    • We continue to find ways to sourcing critical minerals from waste – we began extracting tellurium concentrate at Kennecott, achieved first production of scandium oxide and demonstrated an innovative spodumene (lithium) concentration process at our Critical Minerals and Technology Centre in Quebec


    Lead SDGs 12, 17 and supporting SDGs 6, 9, 13, 15

    Business objectives:

    Impeccable ESG credentials

    We aim to:

    • Decarbonise our operations (Scope 1 and 2 reduction)
    • Minimise environmental and heritage impacts and act as a responsible steward of water and biodiversity to strengthen our resilience to a changing environment, assessing impacts across the supply chain

    Our targets:

    • To reduce our absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2025 and by 50% by 2030
    • To achieve local water stewardship targets for selected sites by 2023

    Examples of actions we’re taking:

    • We set up six large carbon abatement programmes focused on repowering our Pacific Aluminium Operations, renewables, ELYSISTM, alumina process heat, minerals processing and diesel transition
    • We commenced evaluation of proposals to repower our aluminium assets with up to 4GW of wind and solar, backed up by energy firming and storage solutions
    • We have planned investment of $600 million in 230MW of solar power facilities and 200MWh of storage. This is in addition to the 34MW solar facility installed at our Gudai-Darri iron ore mine in Western Australia
    • We progressed to a pre-feasibility study for a double digestion project to reduce emissions and operational expenditure at the Queensland Alumina operation
    • We developed partnerships with Scania, Caterpillar, Volvo and Komatsu to deploy more efficient autonomous haulage solutions and battery-powered trucks
    • We established a dedicated team to secure nature-based solutions projects that help offset emissions, improve biodiversity and create opportunities for communities


    Lead SDGs 8, 17 and supporting SDGs 3, 4, 5, 10

    Business objectives:

    Best operator, Impeccable ESG credentials, Social licence

    We aim to:

    • Build a healthy, diverse and inclusive workforce, support local communities to achieve their goals and aspirations and deliver positive social outcomes

    Our targets:

    • Zero fatalities and to eliminate workplace injuries and catastrophic events
    • All-injury frequency rate target: 0.38
    • To have all of our businesses identify at least one critical health hazard material to their business, and demonstrate a year-on-year reduction of exposure to that hazard
    • To reduce the rate of new occupational illnesses each year
    • To improve diversity in our business by:
      • Increasing women in the business (including in senior leadership) by 2% each year
      • Aiming for 50% women in our graduate intake
      • Aiming for 30% of our graduate intake to be from places where we are developing new businesses
    • To improve our employee engagement and satisfaction

    Examples of actions we’re taking:

    • We are implementing all the recommendations of the Everyday Respect external review of our workplace culture, with actions and training being rolled out across the business
    • We launched the Building Safe and Respectful Workplaces pilot programme, with BHP, Fortescue and the Australian Minerals and Energy Skills Alliance
    • We introduced a new communities and social performance strategy with updated standards, targets and vision for the business
    • We have changed the way we engage with Traditional Owner and First Nation groups
    • We enhanced our internal human rights expertise and updated our Human Rights Policy to reflect emerging trends and expectations
  • Our 2022 reports


    Our suite of 2022 reports

    Annual Report 2022
    Annual Report 2022
    16.48 MB
    Annual Report 2022 - Strategic Report
    5.75 MB
    Annual Report 2022 - ESEF Format
    59.13 MB
    Climate Change Report 2022
    Climate Change Report 2022
    2.27 MB
    Scope 1,2 & 3 Emissions Calculation Methodology 2022
    1.32 MB
    Sustainability Fact Book 2022
    Sustainability Fact Book 2022
    1.87 MB
    Sustainability Glossary 2022
    554 KB
    Conflict Minerals Disclosure 2022
    135 KB
    Taxes Paid Report 2022
    1.76 MB
    Communities & Social Performance Disclosure 2022
    7.85 MB
    Voluntary Principles on Security & Human Rights Reports 2022
    208 KB
    Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking Statement 2022
    4.53 MB
    Industry Association Disclosure 2022
    407 KB
  • Our performance


Decarbonising our assets de-risks our business. It also opens up commercial opportunities as we expand our role in providing low-carbon materials.”

- Jakob Stausholm, Rio Tinto Chief Executive


Climate Change

We’re working towards net zero emissions by 2050
Native plants within the trial landform rehabilitation program at Ranger Mine


Through safe and responsible asset closure, we are working to deliver shared benefits for host communities, employees and investors; positive ESG outcomes; and innovative solutions that minimise long-term liabilities
Plant at Kennecott copper mine


We recognise how important it is to conserve biodiversity. Healthy natural environments, with functioning ecosystems, are essential to our host communities and key to climate resilience
Public jetty at Inverell Bay, Nhulunbuy, Gove


We see ourselves as water stewards and take that commitment seriously


Changing our culture is key to achieving each of our four objectives. When people feel respected and valued, they feel empowered to be their best selves and bring their best ideas. We are embedding a change in mindset and behaviours throughout the organisation, with the implementation of the Everyday Respect Report recommendations being absolutely crucial to driving this change.”

- Jakob Stausholm, Rio Tinto Chief Executive

Health, Safety and Wellbeing

Health, Safety & Wellbeing

At the heart of our sustainability strategy – and our business – are our people and their safety
Everyday Respect

Everyday Respect

We have a responsibility to create a safe, respectful and inclusive workplace
Photos from Yinjaa-Barni Art, Roebourne

Cultural Heritage

Cultural heritage is the aspects of a community's past and present that it considers valuable and wants to pass on to future generations
Aerial photo of employees walking along dirt road on mountain ridge above Canga East Camp, Simandou, Guinea

Human Rights

Everywhere we work, we respect and support all internationally recognised human rights


We have taken a fresh look at our governance arrangements to ensure that the Board and our committees are focusing our time on supporting the delivery of the Group’s strategic objectives. This includes putting a greater emphasis on people and culture, on risk management and resilience capabilities, and on strengthening our social licence through stakeholder engagement.”

- Dominic Barton, Chair

Employees working within the water treatment facilities at Ranger Mine

Ethics & Compliance

We have strong processes to ensure our business acts in line with the law, local regulations and our values
Tailings facilities at Boron, US

Tailings Management

Responsible tailings management is critical to the safety of our people and communities and to protect the environment


  • How are your decarbonisation projects progressing across your operations?

    We did not advance our abatement projects as fast as we would like in 2022. We have faced some challenges including late delivery of equipment, resourcing constraints impacting study progress, construction and commissioning delays, and project readiness.

    In response, we have established six abatement programmes, with dedicated people, to focus on the decarbonisation challenges that cut across our product groups: repowering our Pacific Aluminium Operations, renewables, ELYSISTM, alumina process heat, minerals processing and diesel transition. We are building capability and gaining a deeper understanding of our decarbonisation challenge – both constraints and opportunities. As a result, we are better placed to deliver the complex and large-scale structural changes to our energy system needed to achieve our 2030 target.

    Our experience with our abatement projects and progress tracking suggests there will be delays, and that we will require greater use of offsets to achieve our 2025 target. So we established one additional programme to increase our investments in nature-based solutions projects. If done well, these projects can play a substantial role in addressing carbon emissions and biodiversity loss, while also providing benefits to local communities.

  • What are you doing to decarbonise your biggest emitting assets in Australia?

    The Boyne smelter and Gladstone power station in Queensland and the Tomago smelter in New South Wales all operate in coal-based power grids. These facilities account for 28% of our Scope 1 and 2 emissions and more than half of our emissions from electricity use.

    Green repowering solutions are essential to the long-term sustainability of these operations. The scale of the smelters’ electricity use means that their transition must take into account the impacts on the broader grid and overall system requirements. This requires complex technical, commercial and political negotiations balancing the needs of multiple stakeholders.

    In June 2022 we issued a formal market request for proposals to support the development of large-scale wind and solar power to supply power to the Boyne smelter through the Queensland grid by 2030. This smelter requires 960MW capacity of reliable power to operate, which equates to at least 4GW of quality wind and solar power capacity with firming. We continue to work with the Queensland Government and energy providers to design a renewable energy solution as we approach the end of our supply contract for electricity generation to the smelter.

    On the process heat side, at the Queensland Alumina refinery we are working on converting its three high-temperature digestion units to a double digestion configuration. By investing around $250 million, we expect to reduce our CO2 emissions by 350 thousand tonnes a year on a 100% basis while also saving around $80 million in annual operating costs. In 2022, we also continued to progress our studies and are working towards approval for an industrial demonstration of the use of hydrogen in the calcination process.

  • Will decarbonisation come at the expense of strong financial performance?

    Decarbonising our assets de-risks our business and growing in materials essential for the world to decarbonise will underpin our financial performance for decades to come. It also creates commercial opportunities as we expand our role in providing low-carbon materials to help our customers decarbonise.

    But we also need to be disciplined about our capital investment. We use a decision-making framework that helps us to evaluate opportunities, and prioritise those that present attractive economics now, and set us up for the long term. The framework uses five key elements: value, materiality of abatement, maturity of emission reduction, competitiveness versus internal and external benchmarks, and alignment with the net zero 2050 target.

    In addition to reducing carbon emissions, some projects also deliver cost benefits or minimise our exposure to gas prices and coal prices. For example, converting the high-temperature digestion units to a double digestion configuration at the Queensland Alumina refinery is expected to save around $80 million in annual operating costs. And at our Gudai-Darri iron ore mine in the Pilbara, we expect the phase 1 renewables project will reduce annual gas costs by $55 million at current prices.

  • Why is impeccable ESG one of Rio Tinto’s objectives?

    It is the right thing to do, and it makes good business sense.

    Many of the materials used in products today may not be the preferred choices in the future unless they can establish their ESG credentials or develop strong circular solutions. Consumers want products that are sustainably sourced, and companies want products that help them meet their emissions and sustainability targets. Governments are also ramping up mandatory requirements and incentives to motivate companies to accelerate their ESG progress and meet their emissions commitments. In our Aluminium business, for example, we’ve noticed customers are starting to differentiate products based on carbon content, and so we’re starting to segment our products accordingly.

    Being more outward and in-tune with societies will strengthen our social licence. This is of huge importance for our future. Without a social licence, we simply cannot operate. We have been working hard to implement meaningful change in the way we partner with communities, by focusing on developing lasting relationships with people, learning about and supporting their goals and aspirations, and avoiding or mitigating adverse impacts as much as possible.

    We continue to work hard to transform our culture, strengthen processes and increase transparency. One of the key learnings from the past few years is that how we achieve our strategy is just as important as what we achieve. As our strategy has evolved, so has the need for an appropriate incentive framework to better support it. In 2022, we undertook a review of our incentives and, from 2023, our Group short-term incentive plan, which applies to around 24,000 employees, will have a greater focus on how outcomes are achieved.

  • What progress have you made on the Everyday Respect recommendations?

    Our primary focus for 2022 has been on recommendations around leadership training, ensuring our sites are safe and inclusive, and improving our response to reports of unacceptable behaviour. While we are making progress, we have more to do to eliminate harmful behaviours from our workplace and are deeply committed to doing so. This work remains a priority in 2023.

    In 2022, we accelerated some immediate actions:

    • Building capable leaders – We trained 91% of more than 7,000 leaders in creating psychological safety and moving from bystander to upstander, exceeding our target of 80% by the end of 2022.
    • Creating safe and inclusive facilities – All sites have completed a self-assessment of their facilities, and unsafe areas such as locks, lighting, and access to amenities have been updated. This work in ongoing and done in collaboration with our employees to make our facilities safe and more inclusive.
    • Providing a more people-centric response – We expanded the scope of work for our Business Conduct Office (BCO) and developed a discrete unit that will be responsible for delivering safe, confidential and caring support.

    We know we have a lot more to do. Achieving culture change will take time, but we are heading in the right direction.

  • What is the Safe Production System, and how does it contribute to culture change and better operational performance?

    When people feel respected and valued, they feel empowered to be their best selves and bring their best ideas. That’s the idea behind our Safe Production System (SPS) – unlocking the potential of our employees, their skills and expertise, and creating stable, predictable operations.

    We now have 30 deployments at 16 sites and 86 Kaizens (rapid problem-solving activities) completed or in progress. Where we have been deploying the SPS, we have sites that are safer, more engaged employees, and assets that are more productive. For example, in 2022 we achieved a number of operational records, including a record second half performance across the Pilbara iron ore mine and rail system.

    We will continue to deploy the SPS to more sites in 2023.

  • What progress have you made on agreements in Australia and globally?

    Since February 2022, we have signed new agreements with the Yindjibarndi, Yinhawangka and Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura peoples in Australia, and the Pekuakamiulnuatsh and Naskapi peoples in Canada.

    In November 2022, we agreed with the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura Aboriginal Corporation to create the Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation as part of a remedy agreement relating to the destruction of the rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in May 2020. Financial support will be provided to the Traditional Owner-led foundation to progress major cultural and social projects, including a new keeping place for storing important cultural materials.

    We are changing the way we work with Traditional Owners to better protect heritage. We acknowledge that we have a long way to go.

    We are moving to a model of co-management to ensure Indigenous voices are heard as part of our decision making. Co-design leads to better heritage and environmental outcomes, and greater certainty for mine development. We have set a target that all sites co-manage cultural heritage with communities and knowledge holders by 2026.

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Bringing to market materials critical to urbanisation and the transition to a low-carbon economy