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The Sustainable Energy for All initiative was launched by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mobilize action and partnerships focused on sustainably meeting the increasing energy requirements of businesses and society. The initiative has set three primary objectives, to be met by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
This report looks at the metals and mining industry and identifies six priority actions it can take to reduce its energy use while simultaneously driving high performance.
The metals and mining industry is highly energy intensive. Energy efficiency across the industry varies, and energy costs as production inputs can be significant.
For mining companies, it is estimated that energy costs can represent 15 percent of their total cost of production. In the metals industry, energy expenditures represent between 20 and 40 percent of production costs. CEOs from metals companies are using process innovation to cope with high energy costs. As of 2011, 75 percent of metals CEOs were worried about energy costs slowing down growth, so they are targeting energy usage as part of cost reduction efforts. Improved processes help address energy usage, and 80 percent are increasing innovation in this area.
While the operational components of the metals and mining industry are significant energy consumers, the mining segment is also a supplier to the energy industry in two main ways.
Mining companies are suppliers of materials that are used in electricity generation, such as coal and uranium.
Many mining companies bring materials to market that are critical inputs for the development and expansion of renewable energy technology.
The metals and mining industry is also relatively unusual in that it will seek out and develop operations in areas with little or no energy infrastructure. In these cases, metals and mining companies develop the necessary infrastructure—including roads, towns, energy generation and transmission needs. The metals and mining industry can therefore improve access to energy and can act as a catalyst for sustainable development, as it engages with local stakeholders and earns/protects its license to operate.
Companies can enhance brand value by leveraging their production and employment generation benefits to contribute to social development in the local areas in which they operate—such as providing access to modern energy services. By collaborating with communities, supporting employees’ activities, and involving community leaders and nongovernmental organizations, a company can protect its brand value, increase goodwill, improve is reputation in the local area and play an important social and economic role in community life.
Based on this research, Accenture and the United Nations Global Compact have identified six priority actions the industry can take to become more energy efficient, promote alternative fuels and advance their business opportunities in the sustainable energy market:
Team with local governments and utilities to provide energy services to communities surrounding operational locations.
Improve the energy efficiency of current operations.
Build advanced energy considerations into the design and development of new assets and operations.
Diversify the portfolio to develop products and generate materials that drive energy efficiency and renewable energy uptake.
Use waste and process outputs as fuel sources.
Use more renewable energy sources to support operational power needs.
October 2, 2012
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