Our Responsibility as Stewards of the Environment
A new approach to mining for a changing world
Vale is currently developing a range of solutions to reduce our emissions across Scopes 1, 2, and 3.
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) classifies emission sources into three scopes:
Scope 1: direct emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the company. Vale's Scope 1 emissions include direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced by our operations, such as the combustion of fossil fuels in our mines and plants and fugitive emissions from equipment. Our solutions: fuel substitution, alternative processes, and energy efficiency programs.
Scope 2: indirect emissions from purchased electricity and/or steam. Our solutions: electricity from renewable sources, renewable generation assets and renewable energy certificates.
Scope 3: indirect greenhouse gas emissions generated within our value chain but not directly linked to our operations. The primary sources of these emissions are mainly associated with maritime transportation of iron ore and other products, as well as the use of mining products in steel production. Our solutions: Iron Ore Briquette developed by Vale and partnerships with key customers and suppliers to develop solutions for reducing CO2 emissions.
- Escopo 1: são as emissões diretas de fontes próprias ou controladas pela organização, decorrentes do transporte e dos processos industriais nas minas, da pelotização e das atividades das ferrovias. Soluções desenvolvidas: substituição de combustíveis e eficiência energética.
- Escopo 2: são as emissões indiretas oriundas do consumo de energia elétrica e/ou térmica, adquiridas pela Vale. Soluções desenvolvidas: aquisição de fontes renováveis, ativos de geração renovável e certificados de energia.
- Escopo 3: são emissões indiretas de gases de efeito estufa (GEE) que ocorrem ao longo da cadeia de valor da Vale, mas não estão diretamente relacionadas às suas operações. As principais fontes dessas emissões estão associadas principalmente ao transporte de minério de ferro e outros produtos, bem como ao uso de aço e outros produtos da mineração. Soluções desenvolvidas: Briquete Vale e parcerias com nossos clientes mais representativos em busca de oportunidades para desenvolver soluções focadas na redução das emissões de CO2.
Our decarbonization roadmap includes projects to expand the use of alternative energy sources and reduce reliance on fossil fuels in our operations (Scopes 1 and 2). We also collaborate with our suppliers and customers to achieve reductions in Scope 3 emissions, which account for 98% of total emissions.
Our minerals and metals will play a central role in the transition to a low-carbon economy. For instance, steel produced from iron ore remains the material of choice for wind turbines, transmissions lines, and the necessary infrastructure to grant universal access to electricity. Nickel, in turn, is used to manufacture high-performance batteries, while copper is increasingly vital to build the transmission infrastructure needed for an increasingly electrified world. This gives Vale a number of competitive advantages and places us in a unique position, with an offering of products that help to drive emissions reductions in the steel and base metals sector.
The protection and conservation of forests is also a strategic work in the climate agenda, as it contributes to maintaining and expanding stored carbon stocks. We help conserve and protect around 1 million hectares of forests in the world, 800 thousand hectares in the Amazon, where we have operated for 40 years and helped protect, in partnership with the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), the Mosaico of Carajás, which is a huge area of native forest, formed by six conservation units, equivalent in size to five cities of São Paulo.
It is from this region that we extract approximately 60% of iron ore production, although operational activities occupy around 2% of the Mosaic's total, showing that it is possible to balance production and environmental protection, in a constant search for increasingly responsible and sustainable mining.
In the same sense, we established a voluntary forestry goal of expanding the forest areas that we help to protect by 500 thousand hectares, beyond our borders, by 2030. Furthermore, in 2022, we acquired around 133 thousand REED+ carbon credits, in a partnership between Fundo Vale and Grupo Algar to conserve the equivalent of 50 thousand hectares of forests (read more in Biodiversity).
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- Reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 emissions by 33% by 2030 from the 2017 baseline
- Source 100% renewable electricity in Brazil by 2025 and globally by 2030
- Achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2050
- Achieve a 15% reduction in net Scope 3 emissions by 2035, in relation to its 2018 levels
Photographer: Zé Palma
Climate governance structure
ESG is among the core competencies that need to be adequately mastered by our senior management team, including members of the Board of Directors with expertise in areas such as integrity, risk management, safety, cultural transformation & talent management, and innovation in support of our climate strategy.
The Sustainability Committee, a permanent and statutory evaluation body of the Board of Directors, provides support and further insights and recommendations, with the committee being advised by various technical areas of the company. We also conduct informative and deliberative sessions within the executive committee related to Low Carbon. In addition to executive meetings, we organize Technical Low Carbon Forums, driving continuous progress in Vale's climate agenda.
Our GHG emissions reduction targets are also tied to the long-term variable remuneration of our executives, supporting our goal to create sustainable value Company-wide.
Aligning words and actions
Low carbon forum (executive committee meetings)
C-level quarterly meetings to track performance, deliberations and ensure delivery.
Our strategic differentiators
- Iron ore solutions: we have set a target to supply 100 million metric tons of agglomerates over the next 15 to 20 years, including blast furnace and direct reduction agglomerates. Production of these agglomerates is expected to see lower fossil fuel consumption, particulate emissions, and water use.
- Energy transition metals: our business is uniquely positioned to meet the growing demand for critical minerals needed for the global energy transition.
- 98.6% of our electricity requirement comes from renewable sources, providing a competitive advantage while supporting our sustainability targets.
- 86.67% of the electricity consumed in our processes is renewable. In Brazil the figure has now reached 99.95%.
- We offer some of the least carbon-intensive nickel products on the market, recognized for their quality and minimal impact on climate-change.
- We manage approximately 1 million hectares of protected forests, with 80% in the Amazon. We also have opportunities to develop carbon sequestration and storage—or “carbon impact”—projects, providing additional social and environmental benefits.
Vale regularly publishes Climate Change Reports to increase transparency around climate change-related risks and opportunities and to outline our commitments. These reports are developed in accordance with recommendations from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
In addition, Vale annually submits disclosures to the CDP, a not-for-profit charity that runs a global disclosure system for companies and governments to monitor, manage, reduce, and disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts.
In addition to the Integrated Report and ESG DataBook, we published the Report on Scopes 1, 2 and 3, which addresses Vale’s management of GHG emissions, commitments, and the company’s decarbonization strategy.
Photo: Vale's Archive
As part of our commitment to sustainability and environmental management, we have annually responded to the CDP program questionnaires since 2003. Vale has been recognized for our transparent assessments and effective management of environmental impacts in order to mitigate climate-related risks.
Within the CDP program, companies respond to comprehensive questionnaires covering topics such as GHG emissions, mitigation strategies, environmental risk management, and sustainable initiatives. Based on their responses, CDP assesses and rates organizations on their sustainability approaches.
Since 2020, we have consistently received A- ratings in the climate change category on a scale from A to D-. This not only positions our company as a leader in our industry, with the highest performance among mining peers, but also highlights our role in championing responsible environmental practices.
Vale’s responses to the 2023 CDP Climate Change Questionnaire can be found here. The 2023 ratings will be released at the end of the year.