The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an urgent call to action for people and the planet, now and in the future. Copper plays a vital role.
ICA’s work advances the SDGs, which provide a 15-year framework for addressing humanity’s most critical issues. ICA strives to contribute to all 17 of the SDGs, and 5 SDGs most closely match ICA’s focus:
About SDG 3 – good health and wellbeing
Copper is an essential trace mineral vital to the health of all living organisms. The human health benefits of copper are numerous, including brain development, bone strength and maintenance of a healthy and effective immune response. Due to copper’s antimicrobial properties, copper surfaces kill 99.9 percent of bacteria within two hours and can be used in hospitals to inhibit the buildup and growth of bacteria on commonly touched surfaces, leading to a reduction in disease transmission. Copper is also commonly used in HVAC systems and has a positive impact on air quality by inhibiting the growth of mold. Click here to learn more about why copper is essential to health.
About SDG 7 — affordable and clean energy
Approximately one-quarter of global energy use is supplied by renewable energy, which is needed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, reduce energy costs and help provide energy to 789 million people that lack electricity. Copper is used in renewable energy systems to generate power from solar, hydro, thermal, and wind energy across the world.
About SDG 11 — sustainable cities and communities
To make cities and communities safer, more resilient and sustainable, an increase in the application of innovative technologies is needed. Copper is already an important ingredient in our most innovative technologies, such as smart energy technology, aquaculture and electric cars, and its role in electromobility, energy efficiency, and renewable energy is growing. Copper production provides jobs and promotes a higher standard of living needed to meet SDG 11.
Copper is also a key material for green and healthy buildings. There are over 128 uses for copper in commercial building construction, resulting in improved water efficiency, better indoor air quality and less greenhouse gas emissions. The total volume of copper in smart city technology could nearly double from 2019 levels by 2025. Click here to learn more about copper’s role in green and healthy buildings.
About SDG 12 — responsible consumption and production
Copper’s ability to be infinitely recycled without losing its properties helps reduce global waste. On average, copper products contain more than 30 percent recycled content, and nine million tons of copper are recycled each year. ICA supports the copper industry’s efforts to recycle copper and reintroduce this valuable metal back into the economy. Due to copper’s resiliency and long-term use in applications, primary production of copper remains necessary. ICA works with its members to track responsible production of copper through members’ voluntary reporting of CO2 e emissions, energy intensity, water reuse and recycling, and sustainability reporting rates.
Copper is also needed to scale up efforts on energy efficiency. Products containing copper tend to operate more efficiently because copper is the best nonprecious conductor of heat and electricity. By globally adopting Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) in industrial equipment and residential appliances, $350 billion in economic activity could be created through reduced energy costs, and worldwide electricity consumption could decrease by 10 percent. Click here to learn more about copper’s role in energy efficiency.
About SDG 13 — climate action
Copper’s use in energy-efficient and renewable technologies makes copper an essential resource for meeting SDG 13. Copper Alliance® members are also taking actions to reduce CO2 equivalent emissions in their operations. On average, less than five tonnes of CO2 are emitted to produce one tonne of copper. By 2030, copper could reduce the world’s carbon footprint by 16 percent.
Approximately one-quarter of global energy use is supplied by renewable energy, which is needed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, reduce energy costs and help provide energy to 789 million people that lack electricity. Copper is used in renewable energy systems to generate power from solar, hydro, thermal and wind energy across the world.
ICA and its members are committed to a sustainable future.
Learn more about our sustainability indicators.