BHP and Southwire offset emissions from copper supply chain

BHP and Southwire are joining forces to reduce the carbon emissions of the copper supply chain, utilising Circulor’s blockchain for carbon offsetting

Traceability is the key to a sustainable supply chain. The ability to see how different stages of the supply chain affect emissions is beneficial when building a decarbonisation strategy. BHP is one of the leading organisations in the mining industry, but also one of those that has shifted its agenda towards emissions reduction. The company has announced a new deal, which will further decrease its value chain emissions. 

BHP plans to work with the leading copper cable and wire manufacturer, Southwire, collaborating on decarbonising its copper supply chain. To do this, BHP plans to trace the emissions of its copper transaction with Southwire, including the delivery of the materials from the mine in Chile to Southwire’s copper processing plant in Georgia, United States. 

Southwire’s Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Sustainability Officer, Burt Fealing says, ‘As Southwire explores the potential of low-carbon wire and cable products, we are pleased to work with key leaders in our supply chain to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our value chain. We look forward to continuing to generate a broader impact on carbon reduction by collaborating with like-minded companies such as BHP’. 

Joint commitment to climate action

Both parties previously signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2021, which reflects the Climate Transition Action Plan created by BHP to support further industry developments. Although the companies are taking on this task for their own emissions, they are also committed to supporting the rest of the mining community in improving their traceability and meeting carbon-neutral targets. 

‘We are taking concrete action to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the copper value chain’, says Rag Udd, President of BHP’s Minerals America. ‘Partnerships like the one with Southwire enable the industry to collaboratively move forward in building a low-carbon world and to reduce emissions from existing products. We are committed to helping lead this change, to create social value through sustainable copper production practices, and to working together to support greenhouse gas emission reductions in the copper value chain’. 

According to BHP’s Group Sales and Marketing Officer, Michiel Hovers, the pilot will raise awareness of emissions in the copper value chain, across the board. ‘This is our first-ever ‘carbon neutral’ sale of any of our commodities. The pilot helps improve understanding of greenhouse gas emissions in the copper value chain and demonstrate the role high-quality offsets can play, as a complement to operational decarbonisation’, says Hovers.

‘This is an impressive partnership that we are forging with Southwire in successfully incorporating blockchain into our supply chain and exploring the role of carbon offsets in providing ‘carbon neutral’ copper during the transition period. We are constantly exploring innovative ways of decarbonising across all our commodities businesses and are delighted to be bringing key partners like Southwire on board to challenge, learn and improve what can be done in this space’, he continues.

Emissions traceability requires digital transformation

The pilot utilises a blockchain-based technology, supplied by Circulor, which will play a vital role in the transition to carbon-neutral operations. In the first instance, Southwire will benefit from BHP’s carbon offsetting capabilities, allowing copper production to move closer towards neutrality, as quickly as possible.

‘We are delighted to be supporting leading companies like BHP and Southwire with our market-leading technology to create and underpin carbon-neutral products in the copper mining and manufacturing industries. This initiative reflects both the increasing emphasis placed on sustainability, and the important role that technology can play in improving carbon traceability in supply chains’, says Douglas Johnson-Poensgen, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Circulor

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