Responsible production is central to FCX’s strategy of being foremost in the global copper industry. We are dedicated to supplying the world with responsibly produced copper, which is a critical component of the technologies required to support the global energy transition. One way we are working to demonstrate this commitment is through the Copper Mark.
The Copper Mark is a comprehensive assurance framework that promotes responsible production practices and demonstrates the industry’s contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is the first and only framework developed specifically for the copper industry.
The Copper Mark was initiated by the International Copper Association, to which FCX is a member, in conjunction with various stakeholders including financial institutions, commodities exchanges, Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs), Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and copper fabricators. The Copper Mark is built on a genuine commitment from the copper industry to ensure responsible production practices. Since 2019, the Copper Mark has been an independent entity and has committed to including the perspectives of its impacted stakeholders in its governance structure. It is governed by its Board of Directors and a multi-stakeholder Advisory Council.
Sites that have been awarded the Copper Mark are able to provide greater transparency on sustainability practices to their stakeholders. Copper producers that participate in the Copper Mark are expected to meet all three of the London Metals Exchange’s (LME) Responsible Sourcing Requirements (including responsible sourcing, environmental and occupational health and safety management systems), which will become mandatory for all listed brands that can be delivered against LME contracts.
The Copper Mark was initially focused on copper producers at the beginning of the supply chain, however the organization recently expanded criteria to include copper fabricators and component producers with the goal of establishing a chain of custody for downstream companies, such as automobile and electronics producers. The Copper Mark is currently piloting a new draft chain of custody certification, in which we are taking part, which aims to connect parties from the mine through to the OEMs, enabling Copper Mark copper status to be identified throughout the entire value chain.
In 2022, the Copper Mark announced an extension of its framework to include molybdenum, nickel and zinc producers and launched a pilot implementation of the Molybdenum Mark, the Nickel Mark and the Zinc Mark. Producers of these metals are now able to use the same Copper Mark validation process to showcase their leadership in responsible production practices.
This extension of the Copper Mark to these metals was developed out of collaboration among the Copper Mark, the International Molybdenum Association (IMOA), the Nickel Institute (NI), and the International Zinc Association (IZA). The goal of the framework extension is to continue to promote sustainable and responsible production and sourcing practices within the copper, molybdenum, nickel and zinc value chains.
The pilot program is currently expected to run from November 2022 to July 2023, and, just like the Copper Mark, will require independent third-party site assessments of participating sites against the Copper Mark’s responsible production criteria as defined by the Risk Readiness Assessment. FCX is the first primary molybdenum miner to achieve the Molybdenum Mark.
To receive the Copper Mark, each operation is assessed independently against a comprehensive set of 33 environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria, as defined by the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI)’s Risk Readiness Assessment (RRA). The Copper Mark partnered with RMI to publish the Criteria Guide which contains explanations of the 33 ESG criteria. The RRA condenses over 50 international standards and guidelines into its 33 ESG criteria, and companies assess their performance against those criteria on the RRA’s online platform as an initial step of the Copper Mark assurance process. The RRA is widely used by over 320 mining, smelting, refining, and manufacturing sites across a variety of metals within the mining value chain.
The RMI and the Copper Mark have jointly committed to updating the RRA every three years, promoting continuous improvement as expectations and standards evolve.
Assurance is the process by which the Copper Mark ensures that the claims made by its participants are credible and trustworthy. Copper Mark participants commit to fully meet all of its requirements within 24 months. To support this commitment, each participating site must be independently assessed against 33 ESG issue areas through a rigorous site-level process. Conformance is assessed and verified by senior assessors who are individually reviewed and approved by the Copper Mark.
The site-level assessment activities could include: interviews with management and site workforce, document review, direct observations of the site operations, buildings and grounds, risk-based sampling of records and data that takes into account materiality; inherent risks; control risks; and detection risks, stakeholder interviews with Indigenous Peoples groups and host communities, NGOs, community organizations, upstream supply chain actors, and government entities, as appropriate. These activities inform the assessor to develop conclusions and indicate areas for improvement.
Following the site-level assessment, the independent assessor categorizes the operation’s performance across each of the 33 ESG criteria. Performance can be categorized in one of 3 manners: (1) “fully meets”, (2) “partially meets” or (3) “does not meet.”
To be awarded the Copper Mark, a site must achieve either “fully meets” or “partially meets” across each of the 33 criteria areas. If a site receives a “partially meets” on certain criteria within the Copper Mark Criteria for Responsible Production, the site must develop an improvement plan to address the specific gaps in their performance in order to achieve the “fully meets” rating. These corrective action plans must be established and completed within 12 months following the initial assessment. Sites for which one or more criteria are determined to be “does not meet” will not be awarded the Copper Mark. After successful completion of the assessment, the performance determination and a summary of the assessment, methodology and results are published by the Copper Mark on their website at coppermark.org.
The Copper Mark is a continuous improvement framework. To account for evolving expectations and support continuous advancement across the industry, the Copper Mark requires that each awarded site be re-assessed every three years against updated criteria.
All of our eligible copper producing sites have been awarded the Copper Mark, and our primary molybdenum mines and copper mines that produce by-product molybdenum and our molybdenum processing facilities have been awarded the Molybdenum Mark.
To learn more about the Copper Mark or review our site reports, please go to coppermark.org.