Climate & environment

Strategic focus area

Value chain & society Eco efficiency

Change in risk profile

No change

Change in opportunity profile

No change

Potential impact

Climate and environment impacts are mostly related to our supply of primary raw materials or to our suppliers’ extraction of these primary raw materials. Easy-to-mine deposits are becoming increasingly scarce and ore bodies poorer. Many specialty metals required for new, environmentally-friendly technologies can only be obtained as a by-product of other metals. Treating complex materials from above-ground sources, such as industrial residues and end-of-life materials, is increasingly important.

Climate change causes extreme natural events, chronic deviations in mean temperatures and precipitation patterns, and rising sea levels. This could impact our sites or supply chain. Historical industrial activity requires active management and remediation. Increasingly stringent regulations on energy use and emissions can induce higher operational costs.

Change in context

Civil society and political discourse are increasingly demanding that business takes an active role in mitigating climate change.

Our accelerated expansion combined with increased demand for our products have increased Umicore’s exposure to potential climate or environmental risks and the opportunity to expand in a way that can mitigate or address these risks.

Measures taken by umicore

Umicore plays a key role in the transition to a low-carbon future as our materials tackle global trends for clean air and e-mobility, and our closed loop business model tackles resource stewardship. Our facility in Hoboken is the world’s largest and most complex precious metals recycling operation, processing over 200 types of raw material and recovering over 20 different metals.

We ensure that a high volume of our metals come from secondary sources – production scraps, residues and end-of-life materials. We can also recycle customers’ residues and production scrap to help them maximize their material efficiency and then transform the recovered materials into new products. In total we recover 28 metals from our closed loop activities. Our high yield recycling process continues to be a driving force in resource efficiency and contributing to the circular economy. In 2019 Umicore carried out several studies to feed our process of climate and environment-related strategy for the future, these include studying our scope 3 emissions and climate related risks and opportunities. Umicore performed a life cycle assessment on the production of cathode materials and has identified the leverage it can have for a lower carbon mobility through the right choice of the cathode chemistry, energy mix, and raw materials, including recycled materials. For the new battery production plant in Poland, Umicore ensured that electricity will be from renewable sources.

We ensure that our current activities keep to the most stringent environmental standards for air and water and work every year to improve our energy efficiency despite our growth and increased production. For more information, see notes E2 through E6.

Our global footprint and diverse site locations reduce our exposure to physical risks. New sites have been chosen considering proximity to customers, access to skilled workforce, excellent logistics, infrastructure and green energy. Umicore manages its historical environmental legacy, ensuring adequate financial provisions that are reviewed twice a year. For more
information, see notes E7 and F29.

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