QIT Madagascar Minerals

Sustainability Reporting

2021 was a year of learning from the past and looking to the future.

We spent the year listening, learning and reflecting on who we are as a business, to better understand stakeholder expectations of us and how we can make a more meaningful contribution to addressing some of the world’s most urgent challenges.

We have had some difficult conversations, both within our business and with stakeholders, about our actions, performance and culture. This feedback has helped shape a new direction for our leadership team and our business as a whole.

We are looking to the future and our role in tackling climate change, as well as the opportunities doing so might bring. The world is not doing enough to reduce carbon emissions and curtail the impact of climate change. Our business strategy, released in October 2021, has sustainability at its core. It sets a new direction for Rio Tinto, and an accelerated timeframe for us to deliver significant reductions in emissions from our operations, and our value chain.

In 2021, we also set a goal to achieve impeccable environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials, in line with societal expectations. We know that responsibly managing our business impacts is fundamental if we want to continue to grow and deliver on our strategy. We can only achieve this in a culture of care, courage and curiosity – our new values.

We faced some confronting truths about our culture this year as we worked to better understand people’s experiences of bullying, sexual harassment, racism and other forms of discrimination in the workplace through a comprehensive, independent review of our culture. Following the feedback from more than 10,000 of our people, we have set out a plan of action to improve how we prevent and respond to harmful behaviours in the workplace. This will, over time, contribute to a more safe, respectful and inclusive work environment. We know we have lots of work to do but we are optimistic about our future.

Our people demonstrated enormous resilience and commitment as we navigated the second year of the global pandemic, which for many presented even greater challenges than 2020. We continued to work closely with our employees and contractors, communities and governments to protect people’s health and safety and facilitate access to vaccinations.

In 2021, we boosted our in-house expertise and capability across several disciplines, including communities, cultural heritage, social performance and environment, to support our operations. We also reviewed many of our organisational structures, standards and processes to ensure we have the right systems in place to effectively manage our impacts.

Our sustainability framework

We are entrusted with accessing the world’s essential materials and making them available for society’s use.

These resources are finite, and we recognise our responsibility to extract the full value from the minerals and materials we produce while avoiding harm and mitigating impacts to people and the planet. Excellence in managing the fundamentals of our business gives us the opportunity to make more substantial and meaningful contributions to society. We are working in partnership with others to support fairer, more sustainable and inclusive communities where we operate.

It has been a transitional year at Rio Tinto and in 2022, we will further define ambitions for each of our objectives, in line with our goal to achieve impeccable ESG credentials.


  • Supplying low-intensity materials

    Decarbonising our value chains (Scope 3) and maximising the full value of our resources (critical minerals and circularity).

  • Caring for our planet: Being a trusted steward of resources

    Minimising environmental and heritage impacts and managing the interrelationship between water, biodiversity and our resilience to a changing environment.

  • Caring for people and communities: Being a socially responsible business partner
    Building a healthy, diverse and inclusive workforce, supporting local communities to achieve their goals and aspirations and delivering enduring positive social outcomes
  • Supporting Economic Opportunity

    Catalysing improved economic outcomes in host communities and regions and playing our role to advance a fair and socially inclusive energy transition.


Our approach to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

In 2021, we refreshed the way we think  about sustainability and more clearly articulated how we are supporting our priority United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Our sustainability framework reflects our focus on the two lead goals – SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) and SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) – that we feel are most relevant to operating our business responsibly, and where we can have the most significant impact. Our business operations also contribute to eight supporting SDGs (3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 13, 15) while SDG 17 (partnerships for goals) reflects our approach to achieving our sustainability objectives.

2021 performance against targets

  • To reach zero fatalities, and to eliminate workplace injuries and catastrophic events

    Zero fatalities at managed operations

    All-injury frequency rate (AIFR) at 0.40 (target: 0.33)

    1.3 million critical risk management verifications

  • To have all of our businesses identify at least one critical health hazard material to their business, and demonstrate a year-on-year reduction of exposure to that hazard

    In 2021, 13 of our assets across Rio Tinto achieved an exposure reduction to known health risks (airborne contaminants and noise); these exposure reduction projects positively impacted over 6,500 employees and contractors.

  • To reduce the rate of new occupational illnesses each year

    28% decrease in the rate of new occupational illnesses since 20201.

  • To reduce our absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 15% and our emissions intensity by 30% by 2030 (relative to our 2018 equity baseline)

    These targets were updated on 20 October 2021. Our new targets are to reduce our absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 15% by 2025 and by 50% by 2030.

    The 2021 Scope 1 and 2 emissions were 31.1Mt CO2e – a reduction of 1.4Mt CO2e (4.3%) relative to our 2018 baseline.

  • To disclose for all managed operations by 2023, their permitted surface water allocation volumes, annual allocation usage and the estimated surface water allocation catchment runoff from average annual rainfall and to achieve local water stewardship targets for selected sites by 2023

    The water stewardship targets have progressed well with the Group target, with 4 of the 6 asset level targets remaining on track. Kennecott and Ranger site-based targets are at risk, but both are considered recoverable with additional focus.

    Read more on our water performance >
  • To demonstrate local economic benefits from employment and procurement of goods and services by reporting yearly against a locally defined target and to capture and manage community complaints effectively and reduce repeat and significant complaints each year

    These targets will be updated for 2022-2026.

    • 95% (20 out of 21 asset groupings2) have met their 2021 repeat complaints target
    • 90% (19 out of 21 asset groupings2) have met their 2021 significant complaints target
    • 81% (17 out of 21 asset groupings2) have met their locally set procurement target
    • 53% (10 out of 19 asset groupings) have met their locally set employment target3
  • To improve diversity in our business by
    • Increasing women in the business (including senior leadership4) by 2% each year
    • Aiming for 50% women in our graduate intake, and 30% from places where we are developing new businesses

    25% of our Executive Committee were women, up 2% from 2020

    27.4% of senior leadership4 were women, up 1.3% from 2020

    21.6% of our workforce were women, up 1.5% from 20205

    58% of our graduate intake were women, down 2% from 2020

    36.4% of Board roles were held by women, up 3.1% from 2020

    35% of our graduate intake was from places where we are developing new businesses6, up 9% from 2020

  • Improving our employee engagement and satisfaction

    Two-point decrease in our employee satisfaction score (eSAT7) from 2020

1 Fewer health assessments were completed in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions, which may have impacted the frequency of new cases of occupational illnesses.

2 Refer to the Sustainability Fact Book for details on the asset groupings

3 Covid-19 restrictions, workforce supply constraints and organisational restructures are the primary drivers which have impacted asset achievement of locally set employment targets. Two asset groupings are not reporting against the employment target in 2021. Further explanatory notes for each asset are provided in the Sustainability Factbook.

4 We define senior leadership as General Managers, Group Advisers and Chief Advisers as well as employees in leadership roles who report directly to Executive Committee members.

5 From 2021, the definition used to calculate diversity was changed to include people not available for work and contractors (those engaged on temporary contracts to provide services under the direction of Rio Tinto leaders) excluding project contractors.

6 Identifying with a nationality is not mandatory. More than 48% of our graduates have not formally reported a nationality.

7 eSAT (employee satisfaction) is a measure of how happy an employee is to work at Rio Tinto. It is calculated by averaging the responses on a 1-7 scale and expressing this out of 100.

Performance data charts

Use the interactive charts to see current and historical data relating to our performance across topics including health and safety, climate change, environment, communities, human rights, responsible sourcing and transparency.

Find out more about our 2021 performance for:

Reporting what matters

We complete a sustainability materiality assessment every year to ensure we understand what issues matter to our stakeholders and our business. We expanded our approach in 2021# to gather information from external stakeholders and a cross-section of employees via interviews, surveys and reviews of publicly available materials. We asked participants what was important to them now, and what they think will be important in five to ten years.

What is important now

We found that our top four priority issues were clearly aligned with those of our external stakeholders. Climate change clearly stood out as the most important issue for all of us.

Concerns about climate change extended beyond emissions reduction to the need to consider our impact on nature more holistically, for example on water and biodiversity, and how resilient the natural environment is to climate-induced change.

Respecting human rights, cultural and heritage site management, and health, safety and wellbeing, were the next most significant topics for both internal and external stakeholders. Business integrity and governance, and local community relations, remain important topics as we continue to rebuild trust with our stakeholders.

What will be important in the future

Our internal and external stakeholders feel that climate change will only continue to increase in importance over the next decade, as will geopolitical uncertainty, the impact of technology, and end-to-end materials management. Other emerging topics include water management due to the reliance of local communities and mining operations on an increasingly scarce resource, and biodiversity due to the increasing impacts of climate change. Human rights will also continue to be of high importance – it is a critical foundation of our social licence to operate.

It is also clear that supply chain accountability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) transparency are becoming increasingly important to customers, consumers, investors and financial markets, including our insurance providers. As we produce more critical minerals for batteries, electric vehicles and renewable energy technology, there will be a higher burden of proof in value chain provenance.

#Based on 60 internal and 68 external stakeholders (note: some interviewees chose not to answer one or more questions). The score represents an average of all respondents in each stakeholder group. Source: Primary interviews and surveys.

Contact our Sustainability team