The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals are broken down into 169 targets and 231 unique indicators. Although framed for governmental responses, many of these targets and indicators are readily applicable to companies – particularly those seeking to address (as many are) the SDGs as part of their wider ESG programme. In this series of Briefing Notes, Sustainable Capital will draw on examples from some of our clients to illustrate how selected SDG targets and indicators are being addressed.
The mining industry does not have a good track record when it comes to pollution and water pollution in particular. This is especially true in mining for heavy metals (which are extremely toxic/poisonous) and in the global south (where much of this mining takes place). It is, therefore, perhaps paradoxical, that in this age of ESG and the SDGs, globally mining in heavy metals (and associated minerals) is already increasing to meet the needs of the battery production industry.
For modern mining companies like Altech Chemicals Ltd, taking water conservation seriously, from planning, through production to having an exit strategy are central to their business ethos. Altech Chemicals, therefore, incorporates a range of measures under SDG 6 (Clean water and sanitation) into its business practices.
Altech Chemicals Limited is aiming to become one of the world’s leading suppliers of high purity alumina for the battery market. Material for the plant will be sourced from the Company’s 100%-owned kaolin deposit at Meckering, Western Australia.
It is important to remember that not all SDGs and certainly not all targets and indicators are relevant to every company. Companies are, in fact, pretty much free to choose which of the SDGs, targets and indicators are most relevant to their activities – the important thing is to be clear about this and to be explicit about the intended impact of each measure. There is, however, one caveat, to wit, the SDGs, their targets and indicators cannot be offset: companies cannot offset one SDG against another. Honesty and integrity is, after all, a key element of the G in ESG.