Energy and climate

Producing metal is energy intensive, both in the mining phase and in refining processes, and has a significant climate impact. As a sustainability leader in the metals and mining sector, we are developing energy efficient operations that use renewable sources of energy – to achieve our vision to be the most climate friendly and respected metal provider in the world.

Our approach to energy

All Boliden’s Business Units have implemented energy management systems in accordance with ISO 50001, which are integrated into the Boliden Management System. All units are obliged to work continuously to make improvements in energy efficiency. Boliden shall reduce its dependence on fossil fuels by using renewable and/or recycled energy wherever possible. Our energy consumption is a major cost item, accounting for approximately 17% (15%) of the Group’s total operating costs in 2022.

Energy consumption within the organization

Energy consumption in 2022 totaled 20.4 (20.7) million gigajoules (GJ). Electricity accounted for 16.7 (16.6) million GJ of this consumption, which equated to 4.6 (4.6) TWh and represents around 70% of the total energy input.

The reported energy usage is based on invoiced incoming and outgoing deliveries, supplemented by internal measurements and stock inventories at the end of the year. Conversions between weight and energy have been performed using energy values specified by the supplier or by using values provided by national bodies.

Coke, coal, oil and fuel gases are used for the reduction and smelting of copper, lead and zinc concentrates. Diesel is used for transportation purposes, in mining operations, and for internal transportation. Heating oil and gas are used for heating purposes during the cold season. The use of biofuels in metallurgical processes has been tested and evaluated and is expected to be more common at our Smelters in the coming years. Bio-based fuels have been used to a limited extent in road transport. Electricity is the predominant source of indirect energy for the Group. From a location based perspective, and according to information from the International Energy Agency, 78% of the electricity in our operations can be considered fossil free. From a market based perspective, Boliden has agreements for fossil free energy for a portion of the Group’s electricity consumption (please see p. 43 for further information).

Energy consumption within the organization (GJ)




Direct energy


Coal & coke












Diesel & petrol




Wood chips




Total direct energy




Renewables 1)


410,000 2)



Indirect energy






Heat & steam,




Total indirect energy




Total energy input




Produced energy, for internal use




Produced energy, sold




Total energy




1) Wood chips and biodiesel.

2) Corrected calculations.

Energy intensity

In 2022, our energy intensity was 14.50 (14.40) GJ/metric ton metal, which was about the same as the previous year. The energy intensity ratio is reported as the product intensity (energy consumed per unit produced). It is calculated as Boliden’s net total energy consumption for all Boliden sites, divided by the production output in metal metric tons from Boliden’s production sites. This indicator is affected both by process efficiency and by the product mix and raw material properties.

Reducing energy consumption

Due to different characteristics of the mining and smelting operations, we use local energy targets, rather than Group targets.

Our smelting operations use excess heat from their ­processes where possible, either transforming it into electric power or supplying it to external district heating systems. In 2022, 2,846,000 (2,797,000) GJ of heat and steam was used internally, and 2,998,000 (3,116,000) GJ was delivered to external district heating systems.

Boliden has an internal energy network to share knowledge and experience on energy efficiency projects between the company’s units.


Agreements for fossil free electricity

We have long-term electricity supply agreements for fossil free energy from two wind power companies that amount to the supply of 1,400 GWh combined for Sweden and Finland. We also have agreements for 1,600 GWh of wind and hydro power in Norway, and 500 GWh of hydro and nuclear in Finland annually. In 2022, we also signed an agreement of 3 GWh of solar power in Finland. All Boliden’s renewable energy suppliers generate electricity close to Boliden’s operations.

Energy intensity

GJ/t metal

Our approach to climate

We work to reduce the climate impact of our mining and smelting operations as well as upstream and downstream activities in the metals value chain. We seek to contribute toward global initiatives to drive climate action and the Paris climate agreement. This includes supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13 (SDG 13) – Climate Action – by working to reduce climate impact. Using the best available technical capabilities, resource efficiency, and replacing fossil fuels with renewables, are important components of our efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.

Proactive climate governance

Boliden’s Board of Directors has the ultimate responsibility for Boliden’s climate strategy and targets. The responsibility to manage the Group's climate related matters has been delegated to the Group Management team. The Board of Directors and Group Management evaluate the company’s CO2 emission trends every quarter and Boliden’s Units evaluate their climate impact every month to identify possible improvements and efficiency measures.

The Climate Committee is an internal expert group that was established to support the Group Management team and consists of Business Area representatives and experts from the whole organization. The Committee follows up, suggests improvements, and coordinates climate work within Boliden. The Climate Committee also advises on climate related initiatives and challenges that can be addressed through other corporate functions (e.g. procurement, energy, IT). Each Business Area and corporate function is responsible for implementing Boliden’s climate strategy and climate targets.

Climate governance

Climate Governance

Climate targets

We have had a CO2 intensity target since 2014 and launched new CO2 absolute targets at the end of 2022 to raise our climate ambition throughout the value chain and align our climate work with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). We will start reporting progress toward our new 2030 targets in 2023 and will continue to track and report our CO2 intensity. Our long-term goal is to achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

CO2 intensity target

Our intensity target aims to reduce our CO2 emissions per metal produced by 2030 by 40%, compared with 2012. Between 2012 and the end of 2022, we had reduced our CO2 intensity by approximately 22%. In the short term, we have a goal to incrementally reduce our CO2 emissions to remain in line with our 2030 target.

CO2 absolute targets

Our new absolute CO2 emission targets were developed by a third party to align with the SBTi requirements and were approved by the Boliden Board in October 2022. We submitted the absolute CO2 targets to the SBTi in 2022 and expect them to be validated and approved in 2023.

Raised CO2 targets set the tone for a more ambitious climate agenda

In 2022, we defined new climate targets that challenge both ourselves and our competitors to become even more ambitious in reducing carbon emissions. Read more in Boliden's Annual and Sustainability Reports.

Scope 1 and 2


lower absolute emissions in 2030 with 2021 as base year

Scope 3


lower absolute emissions in 2030 with 2021 as base year


Product targets for copper and zinc

Copper production in 2030 with an average of

1.5 kg CO2 equivalents

per produced kg

Zinc production in 2030 with an average of

1.5 kg CO2 equivalents

per produced kg

Boliden’s new climate targets are:

  • A 40% absolute reduction in Scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions by 2030.
  • A 30% absolute reduction in Scope 3 emissions by 2030.

The base year for both absolute CO2 targets is 2021, which reflects our increased climate ambition.

Targeting low-carbon copper and zinc

We also have 2030 CO2 intensity targets for the copper and zinc we produce. By 2030:

  • Boliden copper aims to emit less than
    1.5kg CO2 eq/kg Cu on average.
  • Boliden zinc aims to emit less than
    1.0kg CO2 eq/kg Zi on average.

These targets constitute our “low-carbon” criteria and include our entire average production of these metals – ­including recycled copper and zinc, which typically have higher emissions but contribute to the circular use of ­resources by ensuring metals are reused.

According to the International Copper Association and the International Zinc Association, the average CO2 emissions for copper and zinc production in the world were 3.64 kg CO2 eq/kg Cu and 4.1 kg CO2 eq/kg Zn, respectively in 2018.

About our scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions

Scope 1 direct CO2 emissions – occur from sources that are owned or controlled by Boliden, such as emissions from combustion in its own boilers, furnaces and vehicles.

Scope 2 indirect CO2 emissions – are produced from the generation of purchased electricity, heat and steam consumed by Boliden units.

Scope 3 indirect CO2 emissions – are emitted indirectly from Boliden’s activities but originate from sources not owned or controlled by the company. For Boliden, Scope 3 includes the emissions from its ­supply chain as well as downstream transport, ­processing, and end-of-life.

Read more about Boliden's Low-Carbon products on

Analysis of Greenhouse gases

To define our significant GHG emissions, we have analyzed all our direct and indirect emissions, covering CO2, CH4, N2O, NF3 and SF2. The analysis showed that CO2 generates 94% of our emissions and has therefore been the focus of our corporate climate performance. Emissions from CH4 and N2O, are also included in the carbon footprint of our metals. A detailed breakdown of the different GHG emissions, ­presented in CO2 equivalents, can be seen in the figure below. SF6 and NF4 have none or less then 1% impact and are therefore not shown in the figure. PFC and HFC have been excluded since they are assumed to be insignificant in the mining and metals industry.

GHG emissions partiation

Direct (Scope 1) CO2 Emissions

We report this indicator for the units over which we have ­operational control. Direct CO2 emissions arise from carbonaceous raw materials, from fuels in metal extraction processes and fuels for heating, and from the use of fuels for mining operations and road transportation. The emission factors used for calculating the figures are obtained from the suppliers for the corresponding fuel/material.

Direct emissions are calculated in accordance with the procedures laid down in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Greenhouse Gas Protocol, together with additional guidelines from the EU and/or national authorities.

The CO2 reporting within the framework of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) is carried out in accordance with separately audited procedures in each country. We aim to report the same data, we cannot guarantee that the Group’s GRI disclosures will correlate exactly with the CO2 data reported within the ETS. This is because the reporting periods for the data may differ. Overall, 75% of our Scope 1 emissions are covered by the ETS.

Carbon dioxide emissions (Scope 1 + Scope 2),
2022 per source

The total reported CO2 emissions amounted to 847 (952) k metric tons for the year.


Indirect (Scope 2–3) CO2 EMISSIONS

To improve the footprint from purchased goods and services, training is performed for our suppliers and contractors. CO2 emissions from purchased transport are also reported and followed up on from our largest suppliers to drive improvements.

We report purchased electricity, heat and steam for all units that we have operational control of, and only include production-related indirect emissions. Location-based emission factors are used. The calculation involves multiplying the energy used by the production mix for the specific region. The production mix should be as current as possible, and we use emission factors published by the International Energy Agency.


Boliden Group

Carbon dioxide emissions,

Scope 1+2, metric tons




Direct emissions




Indirect emissions









Carbon dioxide emissions,

Scope 1+2, metric tons




Direct emissions




Indirect emissions









Carbon dioxide emissions,

Scope 1+2, metric tons




Direct emissions




Indirect emissions








CO2 emissions intensity

In 2022, our GHG intensity was 0.60 (0.66) ton CO2/ton metal. The GHG intensity is reported as the ratio of the total carbon dioxide emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2) and the sum of production of metal in concentrate from the Mines Business Area and metal production at the Smelters Business Area. The intensity decreased partly due to an improved energy mix for electricity, resulting in lower emissions.


Boliden Group

Carbon dioxide emissions, Scope 1+2, metric tons/

production volume




Direct intensity




Indirect intensity




Total intensity





Carbon dioxide emissions, Scope 1+2, metric tons/

production volume




Direct intensity




Indirect intensity




Total intensity





Carbon dioxide emissions, Scope 1+2, metric tons/

production volume




Direct intensity




Indirect intensity




Total intensity




Reduction of CO2 emissions

We strive to deliver the excess heat from our processes for use in district heating systems wherever possible. We also proactively identify potential reductions in fossil-fuel emissions by means of fuel substitution tests, participation in demonstrations of electrified road transport, and improved heat recovery/exchange with the aim of phasing out the use of fossil fuels for heating purposes.

Recent initiatives have focused on reducing diesel use, which typically has a significant impact on reducing both financial costs and emissions. Most projects have involved the promotion of electrification, which helps to mitigate Boliden’s exposure to fluctuating oil prices but risks greater ­dependency on electricity prices and fees.

Pathways toward low-carbon ­smelting and refining

Pathways toward low-carbon ­smelting and

Internal carbon pricing

In 2022, we introduced an internal carbon pricing of 100 euros/ton of CO2 produced within the corporate units that are affected by the ETS system for budgeting purposes. Our rationale behind the internal pricing was based on the following factors:

1. Current and historical prices of the ETS futures price.

2. Anticipated supply through ETS free allowances.

3. Anticipated demand for emission rights.

4. Forecasted growth in demand for metals.

5. The cost of mitigating CO2 emissions through technical solutions.

We use these factors to anticipate a minimum value that would be expected through the supply and demand of ETS allowances. However, the price needs to be moderated by the effect of the cost of mitigating CO2 emissions by investing in technical solutions.

In focus at mines

The Mines Business Area efforts to reduce CO2 emissions are focused on:

• Eliminate any fuel consumption through the electrification of open-pit, public road and underground mining vehicles. The electrification of vehicles also enables faster hauling and benefits operational ­productivity.

• More efficient heat exchangers within mines to eliminate the consumption of fossil-based fuels.

• Reduction of scope 3 emissions by purchasing less ­carbon intensive capital goods.

Examples of these concepts that were demonstrated in 2022 include:

• Implementation of electric trolly-lines in Kevitsa and Aitik.

• Commissioning of 74 ton battery truck on public road in the Boliden Area.

• The use of heat exchangers at the Boliden Area and Garpenberg Mines.

• Introduction of explosives with a reduced CO2 footprint.

In focus at smelters

For the Smelters Business Area, some of the carbon emissions are tied directly to the feed of concentrate or materials that enter the smelting process (e.g. zinc recovery from industrial waste, e-scrap and lead car batteries). This creates another source of CO2 aside from the movement of concentrates. Furthermore, the smelting processes require substantial amounts of heat and are more energy intensive.

Our efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in the short, medium, and long-term focus on:

• The replacement of fossil-based fuels and reagents with bio-based solutions.

• Investing in research and development for fossil-free ­production processes.

• Increasing access to fossil-free electricity with a low total-system cost and high reliability.

• Investing in energy efficiency that both improve production and lower climate impact.

• Exploration of carbon capture and storage methods.

• Cooperate with external vendors to reduce Scope 3 ­emissions.

Examples of these concepts that were demonstrated in 2022 include:

• Installation of a nickel concentrate dryer in Harjavalta.

• More effective separation of plastics in the metals recycling process at Bergsöe.

• Distribution of excess heat from the Smelters to the local community in Rönnskär.

Climate-related challenges

Major challenges include decarbonizing our smelting processes by finding alternatives to the fossil fuel reducing agents currently used by smelters throughout the Smelter Business Area. To meet our climate objectives, alternative low-carbon processes are required, which will require significant innovation and investment. Boliden work proactively in this area and focus on research and development projects to find the solutions required to meet our climate targets.

Climate-related opportunities

We have identified physical and transitional climate-related opportunities that are relevant to our business. These are related to where we operate, our sustainability leadership and customer demand for more sustainable products. Decarbonization also presents opportunities to establish cleaner operations that enhance competitiveness, drive long-term profitability and provide resilience to our business against future legislation.

Physical climate opportunities

Changes in our climate and nature is not seen as an opportunity in itself, however we have recognized that we can mitigate risk thanks to the location of our operations. For example, we operate in areas that have relatively low water stress compared to other mining companies which mitigates the risk of water becoming scarce.

Transitional Climate Opportunities

We have identified transitional opportunities, which are business-related opportunities due to societal and economic shifts toward a low-carbon and more climate-friendly future:

Providing metals for a sustainable society – As a leading sustainability metals and mining company, our low-carbon metals also facilitate the transition to a more sustainable society. Copper and zinc, for example, are essential for society’s transition from fossil fuels to electrification by enabling solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles. Our proactive stance on climate-related issues can differentiate us from our competitors as there will be strong demand for low-carbon metals in a fossil-free society. Boliden is also one of the leaders in recovering valuable metals from societal waste, such as e-scrap, lead car batteries and existing process waste.

Potential for more sustainable metals to command a higher premium – We have identified potential customers that can be interested in paying a premium for low-carbon metals. Boliden has opportunities to tap into this market, to enhance profitability while also contributing toward a more sustainable society. Under current market conditions, reducing the CO2 footprint of Boliden’s metals is expected to generate greater value to its customers.

Climate-related risks

We have a comprehensive approach to managing climate-related risks by conducting risk analyses and assessments and considering these risks in our business strategy.

Boliden’s climate-related risk analysis

Boliden conducts analyses to identify climate risks as an integrated part of our management systems. Operational risks are managed by our operating units in compliance with the guidelines and instructions established by Group for each Business Area and Business Unit. The most significant opportunities and risks are presented to Group Management and are compiled annually for the Board.

The risk assessments are based on the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework, the EU Green deal and stakeholder input – at all levels of the business. We are also a member of the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM), which works with the leading metals and mining companies within sustainability to provide guidelines to operate responsibly and in a sustainable manner.

Physical risk assessments

Natural weather events can have an impact on Boliden assets, and climate change can increase the severity and frequency of more extreme weather events in the future. Various climate-related risk assessments and scenario analyses are carried out on a local site level, including on development projects and permit application processes within Boliden operations.

In 2022, we continued to conduct more detailed site-level climate change risk assessments based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenario analyses and site-specific information and led by a third-party climate consultant.

Key climate hazards assessed included:

• Extreme heat

• Extreme cold, including snow and ice

• Storms

• Flooding – pluvial, fluvial, coastal, groundwater

• Drought and water stress

• Wildfires

• Landslides

The assessments provided an overview of climate-related risks and their importance for specific sites within Boliden. They also provided a framework for identifying climate-­related risks for our other mine and smelter operations.

Based on our site-level climate risk assessments in recent years, we have developed a Group-level dashboard with identified risk items for selected climate hazards, and a Boliden Risk Matrix to be used in the existing risk register and risk management processes. This risk matrix is identical to the framework that is used for other environmental risks.

Analyzing physical climate risks

We assessed our climate-related physical risks and opportunities in a high-level screening of climate physical risks for all sites in 2020. The risk assessment was performed by an external consultancy firm. Two of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) were used as scenarios to assess projections of likely global changes in key climate-related parameters for 2030 and 2050.

In assessing the physical risks, the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios were applied on two time horizons, 2030 and 2050. The RCP 4.5 scenario simulates the climate change that would result from a mild regression of carbon emissions. To plan for a “worst case scenario”, Boliden also performed an RCP 8.5 scenario with worsening emissions over time.

We conducted an overall climate risk assessment survey previously, which provided an insightful general overview of all our assets. This assessment highlighted our exposure to specific physical climate risks. These physical climate risks were combined with our internal risk matrix to create site-specific evaluations for all our sites.

The findings in the site-specific assessments are used to develop actions to mitigate physical climate risks. We have now conducted detailed assessments on four sites so far and will conduct others in the coming years.

Transitional climate risks

We have identified several transitional risks, which are business-related risks that follow societal and economic shifts toward a low-carbon and more climate-friendly future:

Balancing circular economy and climate obligations

Boliden plays an important role in recycling society’s waste metals and industrial waste, which contributes to the circular use of resources. However, these recycling processes can require fossil fuels, such as coke for recycling lead from lead car batteries and coal to recover zinc from industrial dust. Part of Boliden’s direct CO2 emissions are created from the process of recycling materials. It is therefore essential to find the optimal balance between circularity and climate obligations to minimize the environmental impact and maximize the benefits of recycling metals.

Acquisition of operating permits and permit compliance

Capital intensive investments that promote decarbonization are increasingly necessary for acquiring permits to operate. This applies to both applications for new permits and renewals of ongoing operations. Beyond the initial investments, climate risks could also challenge Boliden's ability to remain in compliance of existing permits. Physical climate risks, such as severe weather events, can compromise the ability of the company to remain in compliance of conditions of operating permits. Therefore, climate must be considered consistently to ensure that a license to operate is obtained and maintained throughout the lifespan of an asset.

Changes in legislation

Changes to regulations and taxes, such as the EU Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), may result in cost increases that challenge Boliden’s competitiveness on the international market. In the current legislation, the limit of the allowed carbon emissions will continue to decrease in the future. However, metal demand for decarbonization efforts will increase. This could cause increased demand for the EU ETS allowances, increased cost of CO2 emissions and potentially decrease profit margins. Legislative efforts to accelerate decarbonization present an even greater risk to the operational cost of producing CO2. Decarbonization is Boliden’s strategy to mitigate the company’s exposure to these future risks.

Boliden's open pit mine in Kevitsa, Finland.