Norilsk Nickel is the world's largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel, as well as one of the largest producers of platinum and copper. This industrial giant has a wide geography of activity - the Taimyr Peninsula, the Kola Peninsula and Transbaikalia, and the products manufactured by the group are supplied to 37 countries of the world.
Neutralization of sulfuric acid (the so-called Sulfur Program), a project to reduce greenhouse gases, the socio-economic development of cities, climate change initiatives are among the list of the points of the sustainable development strategy until 2030 presented by Norilsk Nickel. EcoTourism Expert has reviewed the document.
The strategy involves a significant revision of the approach to environmental risk management, water resources management and biodiversity restoration. Particular attention is paid to the implementation of ESG practices.
According to the company's 2021 Sustainability Report released in July, an innovative Sulfur Program is in the active phase to neutralize sulfuric acid in the regions where Norilsk Nickel operates. Thus, after the shut down of smelter on the Kola Peninsula, sulfur dioxide emissions in 2021 of the Kola Division decreased by 78% compared to last year and by 90% compared to 2015 levels. In the Norilsk Division, sulfur dioxide emissions decreased by 14% in 2021.
According to Andrei Bugrov, Chairman of the Company's Board of Directors, Norilsk Nickel's Sulfur Program is a ten-year flagship project to seize sulfur emissions into the atmosphere. “By 2030, we have to spend about $4.5 billion on this project, and we hope that by the end of this year the first launch complex will start operating,” Bugrov said.
As for carbon dioxide emissions, according to the report, Norilsk Nickel has reduced them by a third in the regions of its presence. The vice-president of the company, Stanislav Seleznev, said that "together with Norilsk, we are talking about emissions of about 10 million tons of carbon dioxide per year." “This is a very good indicator in comparison with similar global companies,” he said.
In addition, to reduce its carbon footprint, the company has begun producing carbon-neutral nickel. Its first batch - 5,000 tons of nickel cathodes - has already been produced at the enterprises of the Kola division of the group.
The company is confident that the demand for Norilsk Nickel's metal in the world is due, among other things, to the fact that it is one of the best for sustainable development, combating climate change and developing a green economy. Its use, in particular, is associated with the production of electric and hybrid vehicles. After all, it is transport and energy that produce the largest greenhouse gas emissions.
Nornickel pays special attention to minimizing its impact on the environment. The company is going to implement air quality control systems to be able to control the dust that is generated during mining. Over time, the company also intends to develop water balances for all production assets and begin to implement automatic online monitoring of all water intakes, discharges, including pollutant discharges.
As part of the comprehensive monitoring of climate change, Norilsk Nickel launched the Great Norilsk Expedition. In its course, scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences will help determine the environmental impact of the company's enterprises. This data will help Norilsk Nickel find a better approach to assessing the current and cumulative negative land impacts from mining and construction activities, as well as to ensure the sustainable management and protection of marine and coastal ecosystems, including biodiversity.
The climate agenda makes it increasingly necessary to control the risks associated with it, primarily related to warming in the Arctic. For these purposes, in 2021, Norilsk Nickel launched a permafrost control system under the buildings, structures and facilities of the company and the city in Norilsk. This system will allow real-time monitoring of the state of foundations, as well as identifying permafrost risks and developing measures to reduce them.
In addition, the renewal of the cities of presence is on the list of Norilsk Nickel's priority social tasks. One of such projects is the renovation of Norilsk. It includes a program to clean the territory of Norilsk from industrial waste, demolition of old buildings and structures. The project is currently moving into an active phase. As part of an agreement with the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the company allocated more than 80 billion rubles for the renewal of the city, and it plans to allocate additional 150 billion rubles.
Norilsk Nickel continues to develop cooperation with organizations representing the interests of the Indigenous Peoples of the North in the territories where it operates. One of the biggest blocks of the company's new social strategy is helping entrepreneurs create new businesses.
In 2021, about 6% of the company's revenue went to the costs of developing social infrastructure, social, charitable and sponsorship programs, in total 75.9 billion rubles. More than 420 million rubles were allocated to projects to support the indigenous peoples of the North, which is more than five times higher than in 2020.
As part of the Cooperation Agreement between Norilsk Nickel and the Association of the Kola Saami, the company will sponsor the opening of an open-air museum in Murmansk, as well as support the creation of a unified Saami alphabet and the publication of manuals for preschool education in the Saami language.
According to Vladimir Potanin, President of Norilsk Nickel, the company "makes sure that decisions are transparent and that joint projects are as effective as possible."