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Climate & environment

Strategic focus area

Economic performance Value chain & society Eco efficiency

Change in risk profile


Change in opportunity profile


Potential impact

Umicore requires certain metals or metal-containing raw materials to manufacture its products and feed its recycling activities. Some of these raw materials are comparatively scarce and require very specific sourcing strategies.

Climate and environment impacts are mostly related to our supply of primary raw materials or to our suppliers’ extraction of these primary raw materials. Easy-to-mine deposits are becoming increasingly scarce and ore bodies poorer. Many specialty metals required for new, environmentallyfriendly technologies can only be obtained as a by-product of other metals. Treating complex materials from above-ground sources, such as industrial residues and end-of-life materials, is increasingly important.

Climate change causes extreme natural events, chronic deviations in mean temperatures and precipitation patterns, and rising sea levels. This could impact our sites or supply chain.

Historical industrial activity requires active management and remediation. Increasingly stringent regulations on energy use and emissions can induce higher operational costs.

Change in context

Civil society and political discourse are increasingly demanding that business takes an active role in mitigating climate change.

Our accelerated expansion combined with increased demand for our products have increased Umicore’s exposure to potential climate or environmental risks and the opportunity to expand in a way that can mitigate or address these risks.

Measures taken by umicore

Umicore plays a key role in the transition to a low-carbon future as our materials tackle global trends for clean air and e-mobility, and our closed loop business model tackles resource stewardship.

Our facility in Hoboken is the world’s largest and most complex precious metals recycling operation, processing over 200 types of raw material and recovering over 20 different metals. We ensure that a high volume of our metals come from secondary sources – production scraps, residues and end-of-life materials. We recover 28 metals from our closed loop activities. In 2018, Umicore engaged with customers to close the loop for key battery materials such as cobalt.

Essential input materials such as fuels and chemicals are purchased using our Sustainable Procurement Charter. Our remaining metal supplies come from primary sources, for which Umicore has long-term and shorter-term procurement arrangements.

Umicore manages its historical environmental legacy, ensuring adequate financial provisions that are reviewed twice a year. For more information, see Statements, notes E7 and F29.

We ensure that our current activities keep to the most stringent environmental standards for air and water and work every year to improve our energy efficiency despite our growth and increased production.

Our global footprint and diverse site locations reduce our exposure to physical risks. New sites have been chosen considering proximity to customers, access to skilled workforce, excellent logistics, infrastructure and green energy.

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