Sustainability champion

Sustainability is in our DNA

Our mission is to be an industry leader in sustainability; it is not only about minimizing the impact of our operations on the climate and our planet, but also about maximizing our positive impact through our products and services.

Sustainability has always been at the heart of Umicore‘s vision. A vision that over the years has hard-coded sustainability into our DNA: materials for a better life. It defines our purpose and is an integral part of everything we do. Sustainability is a common goal for all Umicore colleagues and the thread that binds us together. 

Our approach is anchored in our unique business model with circularity at its heart and is coupled with our commitment to leveraging our expertise and resources to develop safe, sustainable and innovative solutions that enhance the quality of life for people and the planet. 

At Umicore, we have long recognized the need to transition towards a more sustainable future. We strive to maximize the positive impact on society, through our operations, in our value chain and with our products and services.

Our “Let’s Go for Zero” ESG ambitions, launched in 2021, and the three pillars (Net Zero GHGs, Zero Harm, and Zero Inequality) are fully embedded in the 2030 RISE Strategy and remain a vital step in becoming a Sustainability Champion.

Net zero Scope 1 & 2 GHG emissions by 2035

Umicore supports the goals of the Paris Agreement and continues to act decisively on the path towards its ambitious objectives and timeline of reaching net-zero Scope 1+2 GHG emissions by 2035, with intermediate milestones of a 20% reduction by 2025 and a 50% reduction by 2030 (vs. 2019 baseline). 

The roadmap to decarbonizing our operations by 2035 stipulates three types of actions: avoid emissions; replace sources that cause emissions; and finally capture emissions that we can’t design out. While we investigate innovation potential for long-term decarbonization, increasing energy efficiency and the share of electricity from renewable sources are the priority to reach our short and medium-term goals. As a result, we aim to reach 100% of our electricity from renewables in Europe, and 60% globally, by 2025 (vs. 2019 baseline).

Umicore also announced in 2022 its ambitious Scope 3 target to reduce the carbon intensity of purchased materials by 42% by 2030 (vs. 2019 baseline). The roadmap to managing the carbon intensity of our purchased materials includes leveraging our internal closed loop model; increasing the internal reuse of recycled metals; seizing further opportunities to increase the already high volume of secondary materials in our input mix; increasing sourcing from decarbonizing and low-carbon suppliers; moving further into the upstream refining; and continuing to maximize process efficiency.

In November 2022, the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) validated Umicore’s intermediate GHG reduction targets for 2030 as science-based and aligned with the United Nations’ Paris Agreement to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C or well below 2°C this century.

Zero harm

The wellbeing and safety of our people is the focus of the Zero Harm ambition. Establishing and promoting a global caring safety culture is the most meaningful way to ensure health and safety for all our employees worldwide. Efforts to eliminate occupational-related health risks are being pursued, with the goal of leading the industry by setting voluntary, science-based targets for potentially hazardous exposure to metals.

Our Zero Harm ambition is also linked to our continued commitment to sustainably and ethically sourced raw materials. Beyond our long-standing approach to protecting Human Rights in our supply chain, most notably for ethical cobalt sourcing, and in light of the accelerating transition to electromobility, it is crucial to secure reliable supply of raw materials that is also environmentally and socially responsible. Umicore will further build on its long track record and due diligence in the sourcing of critical raw materials.

Minimizing environmental impact is also an important part of our Zero Harm ambition. We are committed to minimizing impact beyond our carbon footprint and to seeking opportunities to maximize the positive impact of our operations on water, air, biodiversity, waste and energy. In addition to continuous improvement on these dimensions of environmental performance, Umicore is committed to reducing diffuse metal emissions by 25% by 2025 (vs. 2020 baseline).

Zero inequality

We recognize the importance of equity in ensuring that every individual is supported according to their unique needs and circumstances. This includes providing additional support to underrepresented groups within Umicore, who may face specific challenges and require tailored resources to achieve equality with their peers.

We aim to further promote diversity and inclusion by seeking broader cultural representation and gender parity in management, with an intermediate milestone of at least 35% women in management by 2030. We firmly believe that diversity of thought leads to more innovation, and at Umicore, that ultimately benefits our business and sustainability strategy.

Zero inequality also means ensuring equal pay.

Best in class governance

Governance is the backbone of our strategy. It defines, guides and supports the important work of managing risks and delivering our commitments to inclusion, wellbeing, ethics, climate and environmental action, and positive impact. We are committed to best-in-class governance and as a result we continue to strengthen our ESG organization to steer and support progress towards our ambitions.

Transparency and disclosure are integral parts of good governance. For Umicore, that means full transparency on both our contributions and impacts on sustainability, and on how we manage opportunities and stay resilient in the future.

Umicore is committed to continuous improvement in both the scope and granularity of our annual integrated reporting, for which we receive third-party independent assurance for both financial and non-financial data. Our disclosure is designed to provide additional visibility and clarity on the impact and value Umicore contributes to society, on ESG risks and resilience management and on our contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Umicore is built on profitable and sustainable growth and is a key player in the transition to a low carbon economy. As such, our best-in class governance approach also means that we will favor sustainable funding instruments as part of our 2030 RISE strategy to accelerate value creative growth.

At Umicore, we recognize the urgent need to transition towards a more sustainable future. Umicore’s commitment to supporting that transition is long-standing and continues through 2030 RISE. We know that embedding sustainability in our business strategy is essential to business and societal resilience today, and in the future.

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