Metals sector in costly battle to turn green – by Eric Onstad and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters U.S. – October 25, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Metals producers, from miners to smelters, are grappling with increasingly tough and costly environmental demands imposed by banks seeking cleaner investments.

While the transition may prove overwhelming for smaller producers, larger companies are playing a long game, casting ahead to a period where greener technology helps slash their costs.

Sustainability has been a long-standing issue in metals, covering a wide range of issues including corruption, board structure, jobs, communities around mines and mine waste.

But environmental concerns have moved to the top of the agenda in recent years with heightened awareness of climate change amid public protests. Metals and mining are responsible for 10% of the total impact on climate change, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

“We’re turning down lots of stuff. Being green is a precondition for lending,” said Laurent Charbonnier, global head of metals and mining at HSBC (HSBA.L), speaking ahead of LME Week when the world’s metal industry gathers in London.

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