Fortescue announces it will drop voluntary offsets

Monday, 25 September, 2023

Fortescue announces it will drop voluntary offsets

Fortescue has announced that during Climate Week at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the company will announce that from this financial year onwards it will no longer buy carbon offsets. The company says it is better to eliminate emissions than offset them, and says it plans to do just that.

All funds allocated to carbon offsets will be diverted to Fortescue’s decarbonisation plan to achieve Real Zero by 2030, the equivalent of more than several hundred million dollars in FY24, according to the company.

12 months ago Fortescue announced its costed Real Zero target at UNGA in New York, and since then, the company has achieved several key milestones towards eliminating terrestrial Scope 1 and 2 emissions from its Australian iron ore operations by 2030.

At the launch of Fortescue’s Break Up from Fossil Fuels campaign at UNHQ a year ago, Metals CEO Dino Otranto said: “While Real Zero by 2030 is our long-term Scope 1 and 2 target, our short-term target is for our emissions to reach their peak by 2025/26 because of a new mine coming onboard and then to significantly decline in 2027/28 as all of the green technology and renewable energy that we are investing in right now kicks in — achieving zero emissions by 2030.

“We are the only heavy emitter in the world to stop purchasing voluntary offsets,” he said. “We will focus our efforts on eliminating the million litres of diesel we use per year, rather than offsetting them.

“Our first battery electric haul truck is now onsite as we prepare to replace our fleet with zero-emission trucks and equipment with battery electric and green hydrogen models. We are also ramping up our renewable power on site to replace fossil fuel power with renewable electricity.”

“In recent months, we have all seen the harrowing images of extreme weather happening on every continent and heat records being broken on an almost daily basis,” said Fortescue Energy CEO Mark Hutchinson. “For years we have been saying that voluntary offsets don’t work — they just pass the buck. We are here at UNGA as a heavy emitter that is saying no to a future of fossil fuels and yes to a better future for our company.”

Among the decarbonisation plans listed by Fortescue are an ambition to install 1 GW of solar power across three sites, replace haulage (both truck and train) with electric- or hydrogen/ammonia-powered vehicles and fast-charging technology, and to deploy electric-powered excavators. The company is also continuing development of its Infinity Train that will use gravitational energy to recharge its battery electric systems.


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