BHP Billiton acknowledges the risks of climate change, and the need for accelerated action to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations at acceptable levels.
In June 2007 BHP Billiton finalised and adopted a new Climate Change Policy to replace the Company’s existing policy, in place since 2002. BHP Billiton states that the new policy represents a significant step forward for them and includes new greenhouse gas and energy targets and measures, a major investment in research and development of low carbon emissions technologies, and a commitment to participate in the design of effective national and international climate change policies.
The effort to renew the policy was led by a team of senior business leaders including five BHP Billiton business presidents, and assisted by members of the sustainable development function. The team decided that BHP Billiton were beyond debating the science and instead focused on stakeholder attitudes, changing government policies, and potential business opportunities to guide the development of a new policy that is consistent with BHP Billiton’s aspirational goal of Zero Harm to employees, communities and the environment.
A very significant element of the new policy is a US$300 million financial commitment to support research, development and demonstration of low emissions technologies with relevance to businesses, customers and communities, and to invest in energy efficiency improvements and alternative energy for operations. BHP Billiton plans to build on existing partnerships with customers, governments, peer companies and academia and develop new projects and partnerships. They are currently involved in projects that seek to advance low-to-zero carbon emissions technologies for fossil-fuel derived energy such as Australia’s COAL21, the US-based FutureGen, the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies and the Cooperative Research Centre for Coal in Sustainable Development. These projects cover such technology areas as coal gasification, oxyfuel, and carbon capture and sequestration.
BHP Billiton is also sponsoring a project by students from the University of Michigan Business School to investigate sources of clean renewable energy. The students are exploring a range of alternatives, including wind, bio-fuels and solar energy, in search of a solution that creates financial, environmental and community benefits, while ensuring a secure source of power and fuel at market competitive rates.
For more information visit www.bhpbilliton.com.