Engagement with the Academic Community

In 2021–2022, Nornickel continued advancing its dialogue with the professional and academic communities. Throughout 2022, we held regular consultations, conferences and round table discussions, organised working groups with research institutions and experts to discuss a wide range of matters related to the Company's environmental impact, including as regards the climate agenda.

Cooperation with R&D institutions on climate change

To improve the efficiency of its business solutions, share experience and expand knowledge and competences related to climate-related risks and opportunities, Nornickel is developing partnerships with R&D organisations and institutions, including the Higher School of Economics and institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences. As part of these partnerships, the Company engaged experts from the Institute of National Economic Forecasting and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences to prepare global economy and climate change scenarios and carry out climate modelling and scenario analysis with a view to assessing physical risks and transition risks and opportunitiesFor more details on the scenarios and climate change scenario analysis by the Russian Academy of Sciences Experts, please see the Climate Change Risks and Opportunities section..

As part of its partnership with the Higher School of Economics, Nornickel organised a number of expert seminars on the climate agenda to discuss the low-carbon transition of the mining industry and the risks and opportunities it entails for Russia, along with outcomes of COP2727th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. as a conference that sets the global tone for the energy transition. In addition to Nornickel experts, the seminars also brought together senior executives of some of the largest companies, including mining businesses, representatives of the academic community, non-profit environmental organisations, and experts from ratings and consultancy agencies.

With support from Nornickel, the Higher School of Economics developed analytics on long-term demand scenarios for the industry amid the global decarbonisation drive, and analysed the structure of demand for Nornickel’s products in its key markets (European Union, Asia Pacific, and North America).

Also, in 2022, as part of the Nornickel-financed programme for the development of the Fedorovsky Polar State University, a general concept was put forward to set up permafrost research sites in the Norilsk Industrial District, along with a set of methods to study permafrost environments. The new sites are to provide the foundation to run background monitoring of permafrost in the region and will help obtain the initial data to develop and verify models describing the impact of climate change on permafrost degradation. The concept was developed and endorsed by experts from key research institutions engaged in permafrost studies: Sergeev Institute of Environmental Geoscience of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Melnikov Permafrost Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russian University of Transport, and Polar Division of Nornickel. In 2023, there are plans to team up with the faculty of geology of Moscow State University to select the locations of the permafrost research sites and explore them as needed.

Participation in COP27

Logo COP27

Committed to developing partnerships and promoting the climate agenda in the professional community, Nornickel participated in the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), which took place in Egypt in November 2022. During the event, the Company presented its initiatives on mitigating climate change, including the scenarios it developed for the global economy and climate change.

During the Make Climate Action Everyone’s Business Forum organised by the International Chamber of Commerce as part of COP27, Nornickel hosted a panel discussion on adaptation to physical risks. The session brought together representatives of Russian businesses and the academic community.

Nornickel experts also took part in a number of other events as part of COP27:

  • discussion session on energy transition organised as follow-up to the Ecumene 2022: Global Financial ForumEcumene 2022: Global Financial Forum — esgcongress.com.;
  • round table of the UN Association of Russia and UN Global Compact Russia Network within Ecumene Discussion Club “Green Business. Role of the Private Sector in Restoring the Dialogue for Climate Agenda Advancement”.

Engagement with R&D organisations on preserving ecosystem biodiversity

Climate change has an adverse impact on ecosystems, which absorb around half of all greenhouse gases and also help alleviate implications of natural disasters.

Nornickel recognises the importance of preserving the biodiversity of ecosystems as the foundation underpinning all life on Earth and as an active contributor to the global climate system at large. In line with this approach, the Company inter alia focuses on biodiversity preservation.

Respective efforts began in 2022 with large-scale research carried out during the Big Scientific Expedition. The Company chose the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences to be responsible for the project, which in turn engaged expert organisations in the field: Institute of Systematics and Ecology of Animals, Institute of Soil Science and Agrochemistry, Central Siberian Botanical Garden, and Institute of Biophysics. The expedition also featured researchers from specially protected natural areas in view of their comprehensive knowledge of the local context.

The expedition had the following goals:

  • identify boundaries of impact on ecosystem biodiversity;
  • identify reference areas;
  • pin down any potential biodiversity threats posed by the Company’s production facilities;
  • study and evaluate the current biodiversity situation within the impact zones;
  • identify indicator species reflecting the ecosystem condition;
  • identify critical habitats within the impact zone and the list of endangered species;
  • determine buffer zones of key biotopes;
  • compile geoinformation databases on biodiversity.

Using the information gathered during the expedition, researchers produced an opinion on the extent of the negative impact. This helped to determine specific areas which needed focused efforts going forward, namely the areas adversely affected by mining and production assets. Later on, the Company plans to map impacts from its operations on natural ecosystems to follow the ARRC sequenceAvoid — reduce — restore — compensate..

To determine the direct contribution of initiatives of this kind to climate action, it is advisable to study the carbon sequestration potential during the process of ecosystem restoration. However, calculations are limited by the scarcity or sometimes absence of evidence-based methodologies. Going forward, the Company plans to continue its research into mechanisms for improved carbon capture and balance across various ecosystems.