BHP and Southwire collaborate for first blockchain carbon neutral copper cathode delivery

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BHP [NYSE-BHP] and leading US copper cable and wire manufacturer, Southwire, have completed their first ‘carbon neutral’ copper transaction involving delivery from BHP’s mines in Chile to Southwire’s processing activities in Georgia, United States.

The pilot forms part of a collaboration between BHP and Southwire under a Memorandum of Understanding signed on 1 March 2021 that reflects BHP’s Climate Transition Action Plan commitment to support industry to develop technologies for improved traceability and the pursuit of carbon neutral production.

In a first for BHP, the pilot involved tracing BHP copper cathodes and associated greenhouse gas emissions through Southwire’s rod production operations utilising supply chain traceability provider Circulor’s blockchain-based technology and BHP’s carbon offsetting capabilities.

The pilot aims to leverage BHP’s carbon offsetting capabilities to offer Southwire a carbon neutral copper product during the transition period as we pursue operational decarbonisation and is achieved by the retirement of high-quality carbon offsets against emissions from the production, transportation and Southwire’s processing of the designated copper shipments. The carbon offsets were sourced from a project in Peru that provides additional sustainability co-benefits, such as biodiversity conservation, improved water quality and support for local communities.

Through this collaboration, BHP aims to enhance supply chain transparency and demonstrate the broader downstream demand potential for carbon neutral products across the copper value chain, underpinned by credible greenhouse gas emissions measurement, reporting and tracing.

BHP’s Minerals Americas President, Rag Udd, said: “We are taking concrete action to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the copper value chain. Partnerships like the one with Southwire enable industry to collaboratively move forward in building a low-carbon world and to reduce emissions from existing products. We are committed to helping lead this change, to create social value through sustainable copper production practices, and to working together to support greenhouse gas emission reductions in the copper value chain.”

BHP’s Group Sales and Marketing Officer, Michiel Hovers, said: “This is our first ever ‘carbon neutral’ sale of any of our commodities. The pilot helps improve understanding of greenhouse gas emissions in the copper value chain and demonstrate the role high-quality offsets can play, as a complement to operational decarbonisation.”

“This is an impressive partnership that we are forging with Southwire in successfully incorporating blockchain into our supply chain and exploring the role of carbon offsets in providing ‘carbon neutral’ copper during the transition period. We are constantly exploring innovative ways of decarbonising across all our commodities businesses and are delighted to be bringing key partners like Southwire on board to challenge, learn and improve what can be done in this space,” Hovers said.

Southwire’s Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Sustainability Officer, Burt Fealing said: “As Southwire explores the potential of low-carbon wire and cable products, we are pleased to work with key leaders in our supply chain to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our value chain. We look forward to continuing to generate a broader impact on carbon reduction by collaborating with like-minded companies such as BHP.”

Circulor’s CEO and Founder, Douglas Johnson-Poensgen, said: “We are delighted to be supporting leading companies like BHP and Southwire with our market-leading technology to create and underpin carbon neutral products in the copper mining and manufacturing industries. This initiative reflects both the increasing emphasis placed on sustainability, and the important role that technology can play in improving carbon traceability in supply chains.”


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