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Climate change

Addressing climate change 

As a global mining and metals company, we have an important role in responding to the risks and opportunities of climate change: to produce the metals that support the transition to a low-carbon world; and to do so in a way that seeks to minimise our impact.  We support the goals of the Paris Agreement and have a long-term goal1 to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, inclusive of Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions.  We also have a medium term target2 to halve our operational GHG emissions (ie. Scope 1 and 2) by 2035 from our FY21 baseline. Our medium-term target and long-term goal guide our decarbonisation planning and activities and we assess all portfolio and major investment decisions against them. 

Our approach to climate change

Our approach to climate change is aligned to our purpose and embedded in our strategy:


Reshaping our portfolioExpandCollapse

We are reshaping our business for the future, increasing our exposure to commodities that are critical in the transition to a low-carbon world.

In FY22 we added copper to our portfolio and invested to double our share of low-carbon aluminium production.

We are progressing studies at our Hermosa project, which contains zinc, silver and lead and the potential for battery-grade manganese.

We continue to invest to discover our next generation of mines, with more than 25 active exploration programs across the globe.

Decarbonising our operationsExpandCollapse

Decarbonising our operations is fundamental to the delivery of our strategy and unlock the full value of our business.

Our priority is to invest in reducing our operational GHG emissions over the use of carbon offsets, in line with our mitigation hierarchy.

We are focused on the four operations within our portfolio which account for the majority of our operational greenhouse gas emissions profile.

Our pathway to operational decarbonisation comprises efficiency initiatives in the near term, transition to lower-carbon energy in the medium term and technology solutions in the longer term.

Assessing physical climate riskExpandCollapse

We use climate data projections to assess the potential vulnerabilities of our operations to physical climate risks, which are those risks driven or intensified by weather, climate variability or climate change.

While physical climate risks may impact on our business directly, there are also broader environmental and socioeconomic impacts on key stakeholders including local communities.

We will continue to work to assess opportunities to improve resilience of our operations, value chain, surrounding communities and ecosystems.

Working with othersExpandCollapse

We are working with customers, suppliers, industry peers, technology partners and stakeholders to bring together our expertise, resources and learnings to address our shared challenges.

Partnering on innovations to decarbonise our own operations will be key to delivering on our net zero operational GHG emissions by 2050 goal, as some of the innovations we need are not yet technologically or commercially feasible.

To our address GHG emissions in the value chain, we are working with customers and suppliers to support and co-design emissions reduction activities, contribute to industry decarbonisation initiatives, and support the development of innovative technology solutions.

Climate Change Action Plan

Sustainable Development Report 2022

Our Climate Change Action Plan can be found on pages 69-101 of our 2022 Sustainable Development Report

Our Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) describes the actions we are taking to address the risks and opportunities of climate change, and forms part of our annual Sustainable Development Report (SDR).

Our CCAP was the subject of a non-binding advisory resolution passed at our 2022 Annual General Meeting, with 89.6% of the votes cast in favour. We intend to put our CCAP to a non-binding advisory vote every three years and will continue to provide annual updates of our progress in delivering our CCAP as part of our SDR.

Other key documents

Milestones on our road to net zero

Within a year of South32's establishment, we committed to supporting the goals of the Paris Agreement. We are preparing our business for the global energy transition, taking action to meet our climate change commitments and working to enable a just transition for our people, our business and our communities.


Set our long-term goal¹ to achieve net zero operational GHG emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 2050


Achieved our first GHG emissions reduction target² of keeping our Scope 1 GHG emissions below our FY15 baseline


Meet our target of halving our operational GHG emissions, compared to our FY21 baseline


Achieve our goal of net zero GHG emissions (Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3)

Climate change governance

Climate change governance

Our Board, together with its standing Committees, has oversight of our work on climate change as a strategic risk and governance issue. The Board oversees the Company on its approach to deliver its' decarbonisation commitments, recognising that it must be both ambitious – which is necessary to achieve our net zero goal – and realistic, recognising that there is no definitive ‘best pathway’ to net zero and some of the innovations we will need are not yet fully developed. Our CEO, together with our Lead Team, is accountable for execution of our approach to climate change.

Climate stories

At South32, we understand the need for bold action on climate change

and we are responding by addressing our biggest challenges. Our Climate Change Action Plan describes how we are working in collaboration with our stakeholders to prepare our business for the global energy transition, meet our climate change commitments and achieve a just transition for our people, our business and our communities." - Karen Wood, Chair

Karen Wood, Chair of South32


1 ‘Goal’ is defined as an ambition to seek an outcome for which there is no current pathway(s), but for which efforts will be pursued towards addressing that challenge, subject to certain assumptions or conditions.

2 ‘Target’ is defined as an intended outcome in relation to which we have identified one or more pathways for delivery of that outcome, subject to certain assumptions or conditions. 

This page contains forward looking statements including statements in relation to climate change and other environmental and energy transition scenarios. These forward-looking statements reflect South32’s expectations at the date of the Climate Change Action Plan included in the Sustainable Development Report (including with respect to its strategies and plans regarding climate change) and they are not guarantees or predictions of future performance or outcomes or statements of fact. They involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which may cause actual outcomes and developments to differ materially from those expressed in such statements. South32 makes no representation, assurance or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or likelihood of fulfilment of any forward-looking statement, any outcomes expressed or implied in any forward-looking statement or any assumptions on which a forward-looking statement is based.