In a wide ranging appearance on Russian national television, Vladimir Potanin, the president of Norilsk Nickel, a long-time, heavy-duty polluter, made the case that his company has turned over a new leaf, and hitched its future to producing “green” products in an environmentally friendly manner.
Potanin’s remarks were pitched first and foremost to car manufactures, who are themselves in the process of revamping their own production to account for tighter worldwide emissions standards and boosting their offerings of electric and hybrid vehicles.
But he also provided the first look at how the Siberian industrial giant plans to reel in its pollution – a clear nod to environmentalists who have long demanded that the company detail its approach to staunching harmful emissions.
For over a half century, Norilsk Nickel and the Kola Mining and Metallurgy Company, its Kola Peninsula subsidiary, have pumped toxic emissions of sulfur dioxide into the air, fouling both the Russian cities that host its smelting and refining works as well as its Scandinavian neighbors.
But last year the company launched an aggressive campaign to remake its image, promising $17 billion in company-wide environmental upgrades, and offering stark cuts to drop its pollution. By 2023, the industrial giant says it will decrease the amount of sulfur dioxide it produces on the Kola Peninsula by half, and by 75 percent in its hometown of Norilsk in northern Siberia.