SQM Makes Progress in Sustainability, Ratifying its Ranking in the Dow Jones Chile and MILA Indexes
In its third assessment, the company showed improvements in the performance of indexes, obtaining a score of 75 in 2022. Among its challenges for 2023, it aims to strengthen the environmental dimension, specifically regarding the climate change and waste strategy, to address the growth of production in a way that is sustainable and with high added value.
Contributing to strategic industries for human development with a focus on the value of sustainability and excellence through ongoing improvement is a fundamental aspiration for SQM. This is why it participates actively to strengthen its strategies, responding to the highest global standards and indexes in the chemical and mining industry. Since 2020, the chemical and mining company has participated in the assessment of best practices conducted by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
For the third year in a row, SQM participated in the assessment of best practices conducted by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, obtaining a total score of 75/100, once again qualifying for both the DJSI Chile Index, representing one of two companies in the materials industry out of a total of 27 companies, and for the DJSI MILA Pacific Alliance Index, which considers 68 companies from all sectors in four countries.
With these results, SQM is positioned among the top 3% in the global chemical industry, thanks to the substantial improvements in performance in several dimensions. In the social dimension it ranks in the 99th percentile in the industry on issues such as a commitment to human rights, the employee development program, talent retention, corporate citizenship and philanthropy. In the governance and economics dimensions, the company ranked in the 98th percentile in the industry, standing out for its tax strategy, innovation management, cybersecurity and business ethics, showing improvements over 2021.
Javier Silva, SQM Sustainability and Community Engagement Manager, highlights that “over two years after implementing the company’s Sustainability Plan, based on the search for technologies and innovations to reduce water consumption, we have successfully reduced water extraction by 50% and brine extraction, a mining resource, by 25% to date, while also increasing our lithium production. More information on this can be found online at www.sqmsenlinea.com. Because of this and in an effort to strengthen these issues, it is fundamental that we are constantly assessed by the DJSI.”
This is in keeping with the sustainability goals set by the company in 2020, which include: reducing continental water use by 40% by 2030 and 65% by 2040; cutting brine extraction in half by 2030; reducing emissions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 and reducing waste by 50% by 2025.
“We continue to integrate sustainability into each of the three pillars, which are: solutions for human progress, our environment and our people. We are making progress with specific initiatives such as the implementation of the energy management system based on ISO 50001 and strengthening electromobility in our operations. We are continually validating and ensuring the transparency of our records with third-party verifiers and various studies that analyze the life cycle of our products,” says the executive.
In terms of social aspects, he comments that “we have held a first participative assessment to include human rights risks with an anonymous study that has helped us to identify the core work concepts for 2023. This is accompanied by our ongoing work in conjunction with our communities and support on the local emergency plans that we started in 2022.”
Progress and Challenges
One of the main challenges for 2023, according to Javier Silva, involves the environmental dimension due to the increase in requirements and the high level expected in this area for this index, such as absolute reductions in pollutants, and for the company, the importance of meeting the challenges of decarbonization and adaptation that are strongly increasing its production worldwide. “Based on this, today at least 80% of our profits come from products that generate a benefit in terms of climate change for the world (mitigation and adaptation), so we are continually challenging ourselves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water use for each unit that we put on the market,” he adds.
Silva concludes that in 2023 SQM will vigorously seek to integrate the gaps detected in each of the areas of the company on ESG issues, with its sights set on incorporation into the DJSI World and DJSI Emerging Markets (EM) indexes, thereby strengthening the company’s sustainability strategy.