Transitioning to Sustainable Mining, Minerals, and Metals Practices

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The continued growth and prosperity of our civilization in a low carbon, renewable energy, electric vehicle & connected world will require the extraction of more minerals. Our low carbon commitments and sustainable strategy must start at the point of resource extraction. Nearly all the consumer goods and physical infrastructures supporting our modern economy rely on access to materials produced by the mining, metals and minerals, industries. Yet, the extraction of those commodities has traditionally had a significant impact on the environment and climate change and is perceived negatively by stakeholder individuals and organizations across society. Considering there are no substitutes for the materials required for our critical infrastructure and lifestyle, coupled with rising demand due to population growth, it is essential to start the sustainability strategy at the point of resource extraction. There is little doubt that discounting these trends and adopting a “business as usual” approach represents a threat to our modern society and the extractive industry’s future.

IDC Technology Spotlight for Mining, Minerals & Metals

Climate-smart mining, minerals, and metals practices are good for business

For resources industries, the ability to successfully drive sustainability through every part of the business — supported at a strategic corporate level by meaningful business practices and operational and technology approaches — is a critical element of a thriving mining, minerals, and metals sector. Fortunately, several forward-thinking companies have already taken a leadership role and established aggressive benchmarks for sustainability. In the process, many have learned that for those with a committed and ongoing sustainability-based strategy, combined with a long-term, funded, and committed digital transformation agenda, the initiative has contributed to revenue growth and profitability that considerably outperforms competitors.

The road to decarbonization in mining, minerals, and metals — 5 key findings from IDC Technology Spotlight

As part of our mission to facilitate a more sustainable and resilient future for our partners and customers, Schneider Electric commissioned IDC to document their survey to key industry players and better understand how they approach the sustainability revolution. The findings and a detailed study of the research are available in the IDC Technology Spotlight, “Transitioning to Sustainable Mining, Minerals and Metals Practices” paper. Five main takeaways include:

  1. Public image – over 27% of mining and metals organizations identified the need to improve brand equity as a top driver for sustainability, compared to 18% for the industry.
  2. Market pressures – aside from increasing brand equity, various factors are spurring companies to prioritize sustainability, including investor preferences — an issue of particular importance for mining companies.
  3. Implementation roadmap – it’s clear that mining, minerals, and metals businesses have begun their shift to sustainability, and the report details the types of measures companies are developing to support the initiatives.
  4. Technology – mining companies are gaining awareness of how technology can provide the tools to increase safety, lower operating costs, and improve sustainability, to become better, societally recognized corporate citizens.
  5. Operational visibility –IoT-enabled digital technology and advanced connectivity have arrived to gain greater visibility and efficiency over operations to make better and faster decisions regarding process/resource optimization and energy efficiency.

The future of resource extraction and processing is smart, digital, and sustainable

Innovation is key to building a greener, more resilient future. As I discussed in a previous blog post, adopting sustainability as a business imperative pays positive environmental, social, and governance impacts and provides long-term economic gain and competitive advantage. Yet, as the industry continues to experience backlash from its perceived stagnant positioning on sustainability, it’s clear the urgency to address the sustainability challenge has never been greater. Implementing smart, digital tools that enable organization’s to make informed decisions and empower people across the value chain to make strategic choices based on sound advice; with sustainability in mind is an excellent starting point.

To learn how the industry is attacking the challenge of transitioning to a more sustainable, greener future, download the IDC Technology Spotlight paper. You can also further learn our solutions can help make mining, minerals, and metals operations more efficient, resilient, and sustainable.

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