Our journey to decarbonization
We deliver sustainable solutions to address global megatrends. Umicore products and services accelerate global mobility transformation, cater for the growing need for advanced materials and enable even greater circularity for critical metals. We are the leading circular materials technology company creating sustainable value through materials for a better life. We are committed to reducing our own emissions and providing low-carbon solutions for our customers, as we transition to a low-carbon or even carbon-neutral future.
“Climate change is one of society’s most critical challenges, and the window for action is closing rapidly.”
Mathias Miedreich, CEO
Sustainability in our DNA
In 2022 Umicore announced its new 2030 RISE strategy. Being a sustainability champion is at the heart of our RISE strategy, we are minimizing the impact of our own operations and maximizing our positive impact on society, supporting the journey to decarbonization.
As the backbone of our climate action plan, our Let’s Go for Zero ambition establishes our targets and milestones to reach our goals. We are committed to carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 with different milestones along the way, using 2019 as the baseline. In addition to our net zero target, we are also committed to running all our operations in Europe on renewable energy by 2025.
For scope 3 emissions, Umicore has set an ambitious target to reduce the carbon intensity of purchased materials by 42% by 2030. To achieve this ambition, we will not increase the Scope 3 emissions of our raw materials, despite the exponential growth projected in our 2030 strategy.
Umicore supports the goals of the Paris Agreement: limiting global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. Our climate action plan includes ambitious targets, despite the exponential growth projected. That’s why we committed to having our near-term targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
By developing science-based emission reduction targets for our operations, we aim to contribute actively to a fully-fledged climate transition!
To reach our goals we bank on operational excellence and our strengths in R&D and innovation. We identified a roadmap to reach our net zero goal: first, avoid emissions, then replace sources that cause emissions and finally capture emissions that we can’t design out.
- Avoiding emissions by improving energy and heat efficiency. A good example is our heat and power cogeneration in Olen, in Belgium, which increases efficiency, and thus emits less carbon.
- Ensuring carbon neutral growth, with our new plant in Nysa as a perfect example: 100% powered by renewables as of the start of production.
- Generating renewable electricity on site to reduce our need for purchased electricity. We aim to generate at least 44 000 kWh by 2035.
- Securing long-term green power purchase agreements (PPAs). We have signed green PPAs for our sites in Belgium, Poland, and Finland, aiming to be sourced from 100% renewable energy in Europe by 2025.
- Investigating carbon-neutral fuels (biofuels) and electric furnaces.
- Our R&D is at the heart of our successful pilot in capturing nitrous oxide. This is the case for our nitric acid plant in Hoboken where we capture nitrous oxide emissions and transform them into nitric acid for reuse in our precious metals refinery.
Positive impact through partnerships
We positively impact both nature and climate by giving new life to waste and end-of-life products. By increasing our internal reuse of recycled metals and secondary materials in our input mix, we can reduce our emissions throughout the value chain. As the majority of our scope 3 emissions originate from purchased materials, resource efficiency is becoming a major factor in our journey to decarbonization.
We engage with our suppliers and create sustainable networks in our value chain. This includes committing to sustainable and ethically sourced critical raw materials, actively partnering with our suppliers to find low-carbon solutions, safeguarding the environment, protecting human rights and moving our state-of-the-art sustainable refining services upstream. Read more in our Global Sustainable Sourcing Policy.
Leveraging a sustainable future
By embracing three megatrends as our business drivers, we have a direct impact on the transition to a sustainable future.
We can implement sustainable solutions that ensure our customers are at the forefront of rapidly changing landscapes and continuously improving their environmental performance.
- We offer recycling services for products that have reached their end of life. A significant part of our own metals actually originate from recycled sources, including production scrap, residues from customers and other industries, and end-of-life materials from our own operations.
- With our (fuel cell) catalyst technologies and rechargeable battery materials, we are helping car manufacturers comply with upcoming emission legislation for internal combustion engines, while clearing the way for electric mobility, supporting our customers in their transformation journey to sustainable mobility.
- To build the future we all want and given the fact that our natural resources are becoming increasingly depleted, we are working at full speed to develop the next generation of sustainable advanced materials.