Sustainability at Vale is an ever-growing pillar of the company. Vale, as a mining company, is constantly evolving its commitment and strategy to create a healthier and safer environment for all. They continue to invest and partner with others to bring in more ethical and low carbon practices at the company, while focusing on the priorities of the local communities in which they operate.
Sustainability in the Mining Industry
Vale has always taken its environmental impact very seriously and has evolved its sustainability plan over the years. With this evolution, the strategy now is to reframe sustainability in a much broader, holistic and responsive way.
“It’s about balancing the economic results with the environmental, social and governance aspects of what we do. It’s about improving people’s lives and transforming the future, respecting the planet and the communities. How we operate matters as much as what we produce.”
This thought process has been integral at Vale and is applied in Vale business locations across the world, especially in Canada. Vale’s Canadian Operations produce nickel, copper and cobalt; minerals used for the electrification of vehicles and renewable energy.
Advice for Students and New Graduates Who Would Like to Join the Mining Sector but are Worried About Environmental Impact
Vale knows students and new graduates value the environment and want to ensure that whatever company they work for aligns with their morals and values. The mining industry is no longer what it used to be 50 years ago. The industry is evolving in this area tremendously and Vale is on a journey to becoming a leader in this space.
In pursuance of their sustainability efforts, Renata outlines the goals in which Vale will:
- Reduce 10% of their specific use of new water by 2030
- Reduce their carbon emissions by 33% until 2030
- Reduce Scope 3 by 15% until 2035
- Become carbon neutral by 2050
- Pursue 100% clean power consumption at all Vale locations around the globe
- Implement 40 battery-electric vehicles underground by the end of the year in Canada
For students and new grads who have a passion for the environment but have not yet learned about sustainability practices in mining, Vale offers the opportunity to gain knowledge in sustainability with professional development on the job. Renata has personally experienced Vale’s dedication to the environment and professional development of its employees in her own career. As Renata explains,
“When I first joined Vale, I had no environmental or sustainability background. But just by working and learning with very capable professionals and understanding the company’s drivers, that we were never there only for the production goals, I made my way to the very first sustainability team this company put together in our headquarters in Brazil.
And right now I’m lucky enough to be part of the implementation of very bold sustainability goals we set at the end of 2019, through our New Pact with Society, which is now one of the company’s strategic pillars.”
The Carbon Initiative at Vale
Here is a little history on Vale’s carbon initiative. The initiative started back in 2008 and in 2012 they set their first carbon goal. After 2019 Vale decided to transform their business by announcing the New Pact with Society pledging that Vale will reduce ⅓ of their emissions by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
The carbon initiative for Vale is going strong. Its sites around the world along with its board of directors and executive leaders are coming together to work for this low carbon initiative, which Renata states is one of the most important parts to a successful achievement of this initiative.
Vale is already taking action at its facilities across the globe to achieve the carbon initiative goals. Some actions are: switching the fuels Vale uses for its operations, electrifying trucks and equipment at its facilities, and improving energy efficiency at Vale locations around the world.
To make sure Vale stays on track to meet its pledge in the New Pact with Society, management has created an internal forum to hold leaders accountable to meet Vale’s low carbon monthly goals. That’s not all, as Renata explains,
“The company also announced 2 billion dollars to support our 2030 goal to reduce 33%, and our job now is to work collaboratively in and outside the company, with suppliers, customers and peers to accelerate the program and meet not only our own goals but the industry’s contribution to the Paris Agreement.”
– Renata Cardoso
The Driving Force Behind the Push for Environmental Sustainability at Vale
Renata says that there are many reasons for Vale to make this huge push to transform its practices. The first, and most important, reason is that it’s the right thing to do. Vale management recognizes the impact climate change has caused in the world. They see Vale’s responsibility as doing its part to reduce the impact of its carbon footprint and develop new sustainable solutions that both Vale and other companies can adopt for the betterment of communities and ecosystems around the globe.
One example of this new approach is at their facility in the Amazon rainforest where for 30 years Vale has teamed up with Brazil’s NGO ICMBio to help protect 800 thousand hectares of rainforest (12 times the size of Toronto), which represents a total of 490 million tons of carbon equivalent.
To sum up, why Vale continues to vigorously pursue environmental sustainability in its operations, Renata explains,
“The realization of how fragile such important ecosystems can be to irresponsible practices and how it affects the future of the communities that rely on these ecosystems to survive. Being at the heart of the rainforest for so long, we constantly practise active listening to keep learning with local communities and partnering with institutions to bring sustainable development to the regions we are, working to improve people’s lives while respecting the planet. ”
Learn More about Vale’s Sustainability Efforts
Vale is making sustainability a cornerstone of its business to support the vast and various ecosystems on our planet. Vale continues to expand and evolve their sustainability plans to effectively and efficiently create a more clean, healthy and sustainable environment today and for future generations to come.
Check out Vale’s ESG portal to learn more about Vale’s sustainability efforts across their business.