On the Weipa coast

Sustainability reporting

Sustainability came into sharp focus in 2020 in a variety of ways.

When COVID-19 became a global pandemic, we undertook special measures to protect the safety and wellbeing of employees, contractors and communities, and were able to keep people safe and healthy while keeping our operations running. This was also important to our shareholders: as restrictions on movement were implemented, host communities and governments relied on the wages, taxes and royalties we paid in 2020 (over $12 billion across more than 27 countries). Despite the radical changes required, especially at our operations, we are proud to have delivered a second straight year with zero fatalities.

However, 2020 was overshadowed by the destruction of two rock shelters in the Juukan Gorge. It should not have happened, and it represented a breach of our values. We are determined to learn the lessons from Juukan Gorge, rebuild trust in our company and to catalyse broader changes as we seek to re-establish our leadership in communities and social performance.

Find out more about the actions we are taking >

We know we must work hard to regain the trust of our stakeholders, and today, more than ever, we acknowledge our responsibility to continue to work in a way that delivers real, lasting benefits to our host communities and countries. We know we must care for our employees, respect and safeguard the environment when we explore, build and operate and repurpose or rehabilitate the land when our operations come to an end. We must also contribute to local and national economies by paying competitive wages, treating our suppliers fairly, investing in our local communities and paying our share of taxes.

2020 performance against targets

  • To reach zero fatalities, and to eliminate workplace injuries and catastrophic events

    Zero fatalities at managed operations

    All-injury frequency rate (AIFR) at 0.37 (target: 0.37), reduced by almost 12% from 2019 (0.42)

    1.31 million critical risk management verifications

  • All businesses will identify at least one critical health hazard material to their business and will demonstrate a year-on-year reduction of exposure to that hazard

    Despite a focus on responding to COVID-19, the 12 assets identified by the business demonstrated an 18% reduction in overall exposure to their identified critical health risks. Overall, this has reduced the level of exposure for 723 employees and contractors.

  • To reduce the rate of new occupational illnesses each year

    27% decrease in the rate of new occupational illnesses since 2019

  • To reduce our absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 15% and our emissions intensity by 30% by 2030 (relative to our 2018 equity baseline)1

    2020 Scope 1 and 2 emissions were 31.5Mt CO2e – a reduction of 1.1Mt CO2e (3%) relative to our 2018 baseline. Our emissions intensity has remained approximately level since 2018.

  • To achieve local water stewardship targets for selected sites by 2023; and to disclose for all managed operations by 2023, their permitted surface water allocation volumes, annual allocation usage and the estimated surface water allocation catchment runoff from average annual rainfall

    Despite the significant challenges faced at the assets and Group level last year, the water stewardship targets have progressed well, and with consistent attention we will deliver these as planned by 2023.

  • To demonstrate local economic benefits from employment and procurement of goods and services by reporting yearly against a locally defined target; and to capture and manage community complaints effectively and reduce repeat and significant complaints each year

    71% (15 out of 21 asset groupings#) have met or are ‘on track’(b) to achieve their 2021 local employment target*

    81% (17 out of 21 asset groupings#) have met or are ‘on track’(b) to achieve their 2021 local procurement target*

    100% (21 out of 21 asset groupings#) have met or are ‘on track’(a) to achieve their 2021 significant complaints target*

    95% (20 out of 21 asset groupings#) have met or are ‘on track’(a) to achieve their 2021 repeat complaints target*

  • To improve diversity in our business


    • Increasing women in senior leadership by 2% each year
    • Aiming for 50% women in our graduate intake, with 30% from places where we are developing new businesses

    23% of our Executive Committee were women, down 2% from 2019

    26.1% of senior leadership2 were women, up 3.5% from 2019

    19% of our workforce were women, up 0.6% from 2019

    60% of our graduate intake were women, up 6.1% from 2019

    ;33.3% of Board roles were held by women, up 22.2% from 2019

    26% of our graduate intake was from places where we are developing new businesses3, up 7% from 2019

  • Improving our employee engagement and satisfaction

    One-point increase in our employee net promoter score (eNPS4) from 2019

    One-point increase in employee satisfaction score (eSAT5) from 2019

    One-point increase in our recommend score from 2019


In 2020, the Rio Tinto Board approved new climate targets to replace the 24% reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions intensity between 2008-20 (managed basis). In 2020, we achieved a 27.4% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions intensity since 2008 (managed basis).

We define senior leadership as general managers, Group advisers and chief advisers as well as employees in leadership roles who report directly to Executive Committee members.

Identifying with a nationality is not mandatory. More than 48% of our graduates have not formally reported a nationality.

eNPS is a measure of “how likely an employee is to recommend Rio Tinto to a friend or colleague”. It is calculated by subtracting the proportion rating 0-6 from the proportion rating 9 and 10 (on a 0-10 scale).

eSat is a measure of “how happy an employee is to work at Rio Tinto”. It is calculated by averaging the responses on the 1-7 scale and expressing this out of 100.

Refer to the Sustainability Fact Book on riotinto.com for details on the asset groupings.

Due to COVID-19-related disruptions, the global target requirements have been extended to 2021 and further input has been requested on this extension. The 2020 actual performance will be considered as an interim report with the final year of the target period concluding in 2021.

“On track” means within one complaint of 2021 target and not on track is greater than one complaint off the 2021 target. A complaint is a communication indicating a community member has suffered some form of offence or detrimental impact from our business. It is significant if the actual consequence is major or catastrophic or the potential consequence is high. It is a repeat complaint if someone else complains about the same underlying issue, or the same person complains again.

“On track” means 80% or greater progress towards 2021 targets.

Performance data charts

Use the interactive charts to see current and historical data relating to our performance across topics including health, safety, environment, climate, communities, human rights, responsible sourcing and transparency. 

You can compare data, and export and share the charts. 

Find out more about our 2020 performance for:

Contact sustainability