Russian Norilsk Nickel will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 95%

The board of directors of the Russian company Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of refined nickel and palladium, plans to approve a new environmental strategy in 2021 with investments of more than $ 5.5 billion. This is stated in a special report of the company.

The company has released its 2020 sustainability report and future plans.

According to the document, the company plans to invest $ 3.6 billion in measures to reduce air emissions, $ 1,1 billion – in measures to protect water resources, $ 0.6 billion – to minimize harm from industrial waste, $ 0.3 billion – in the reclamation of lands affected by the construction and development of the company’s deposits, climate change and conservation of biological diversity. The volume of investments in these two areas will be determined during the year.

Significant financial resources have been set aside for the ambitious Sulphur Programme 2.0, which aims to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 95% by 2030.

Overall, in 2020, Nornickel had a significant progress in reducing the intensity of its environmental impact. The intensity of pollutant emissions decreased by 20.7% from 2019, while the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 23.3%. In terms of carbon dioxide emissions per ton of nickel equivalent, the Company is in the bottom quartile of the global metallurgical industry and plans to maintain its leadership position in the long-term. Nornickel’s indirect CO2 emissions are also among the lowest in the industry. In addition, energy and water consumption by the Company reduced significantly, by 22.4% and 14%, respectively, from 2019. The share of power generated from renewable sources has reached 46%, one of the highest rates in the global metallurgical industry.

According to the company’s statement, Nornickel has retained leadership in the global metals and mining industry in terms of industrial health and safety. The injury rate has fallen to a record level. The Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate reduced further to 0.21 per 1,000,000 man-hours in 2020 from 0.32 in 2019. The total number of occupational accidents decreased 32% year-on-year.

The Company has maintained social support for its employees at a high standard, first and foremost, having avoided redundancies during the pandemic of COVID-19. Moreover, the average monthly salary in 2020 increased by almost 11% y-o-y to over RUB 131,000, remaining one of the highest in the industry in Russia. The share of employees covered by collective bargaining agreements increased to 93.7% in 2020 (versus 83% in 2019).

Nornickel noted that its sustainable development efforts continued to be recognised by international experts and leading ESG rating agencies. For instance, EcoVadis raised the company’s ESG rating to 48 points in 2021 from 33 (out of 100) in 2020.

President Vladimir Potanin commented, “The challenges we faced in 2020 confirmed our strategic adherence to the principles and goals of sustainable development, in particular, the principles of the UN Global Compact. We managed to pursue our employees’ health and safety as a priority amid the COVID-19 pandemic and effectively adapt our business processes to the new reality. A quick and well coordinated response to the unprecedented fuel spill in Norilsk helped to prevent a major environmental disaster in the Arctic. The Company has learned its lessons, improved its risk management system and set new goals to mitigate its environmental impact.”