Rio Tinto is a global mining group, combining Rio Tinto plc. and Rio Tinto Limited. The company is involved in every stage of the mining business. Products include aluminium, copper, iron ore, coal, and uranium. Activities span the world, however are concentrated in Australia and North America.
Mining: an IUCN priority
As a large-footprint industry, the mining sector is one of IUCN’s priorities for business engagement. Engaging with the mining sector is also central to IUCN’s work to promote a green economy and sustainable development.
Rio Tinto: a sector leader for biodiversity
In 2004, Rio Tinto made an ambitious and sector-leading commitment to achieve a "Net Positive Impact" (NPI) on biodiversity – that is, ensuring that biodiversity ultimately benefits as a result of the company’s activities in a region. The company is also a leader in exploring payments for ecosystem services.
Rio Tinto has engaged with a number of conservation groups on its biodiversity and ecosystem services work. This includes:
- Commissioning the IUCN Economics Programme to perform a preliminary assessment of the biodiversity value of forest conservation projects in Madagascar (since completed under the IUCN-Rio Tinto agreement)
- Sponsoring an IUCN paper on the cost of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), which was published as part of the Copenhagen Climate Change discussions in December 2009.
IUCN and Rio Tinto: a developing relationship
IUCN and Rio Tinto began exploring the potential for collaboration on the company’s biodiversity work in 2007. The extensive due diligence process included four site visits to Rio Tinto operations in Australia, France, South Africa and the United States, by a mix of IUCN Councillors, Commission Members and Secretariat staff.
The 3-year collaboration agreement signed in 2010 focuses on innovative and groundbreaking biodiversity conservation activities, particularly in relation to Rio Tinto’s NPI target and measuring biodiversity and ecosystem service values.
The agreement, which has since been extended twice in 2013 and in 2014, reflects IUCN’s strategy to influence large-footprint industries in places where we can effect change, as well as Rio Tinto’s strategy to collaborate with biodiversity experts in order to achieve its biodiversity commitments.