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BHP introduces water targets

Rio Tinto

BHP has announced new asset-level context-based water targets in honour of world environment day.

Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can be tracked globally by measuring tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent released into the atmosphere, but there is no single agreed metric to measure water risk and performance.

“There is growing acceptance that measures chosen for reporting on water should reflect the local context,” BHP said.

BHP’s new context-based water targets have been set for many of its operated assets and will support its water stewardship position statement, which covers its vision for a water secure world by 2030.

It has been developed to reflect the United Nations Global Compact CEO Water Mandate guide on setting site water targets informed by catchment context.

The targets aim to ensure local water resources are conserved and resilient so it can continue to support healthy ecosystems, maintain cultural and spiritual values and sustain economic activity.

BHP joint vice presidents environment Anne Dekker and Mischa Traynor said that its operations span a wide range of settings and the company is committed to setting context-based water targets for its operated assets.

“The context-based water targets are based on what we heard from a broad range of stakeholders and our own assessment of water-related risks and opportunities,” Dekker and Traynor said.

“They include actions to address our operational water performance (like improving water efficiency), and actions which are intended for the collective benefit of stakeholders in the region, such as sharing environmental data across water and biodiversity between companies and governments.”

Dekker and Traynor cite its Western Australian iron ore operations as a place where these water targets will be implemented. At least 50 per cent of surplus water will be prioritised for beneficial use to improve the sustainability of regional groundwater resources, or to generate social value.

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