Fortescue diverts carbon offsets to achieve “Real Zero”

Fortescue chairman Dr Andrew Forrest standing in front of Fortescue-branded battery (projects)
Fortescue chairman Dr Andrew Forrest

Fortescue says it will divert funds that were allocated to carbon offsets towards decarbonisation in a bid to achieve “Real Zero” by 2030.

During Climate Week at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Fortescue announced that from this financial year onwards it would no longer buy carbon offsets.All funds allocated to carbon offsets will be diverted to Fortescue’s decarbonisation plan to achieve Real Zero by 2030, the equivalent of more than several hundred million dollars in FY24.

A year ago, ago Fortescue announced its costed Real Zero target at UNGA in New York, and since then, the Company has achieved several key milestones towards eliminating terrestrial Scope 1 and 2 emissions from its Australian iron ore operations by 2030.

At the launch of Fortescue’s Break Up from Fossil Fuels campaign at UNHQ, Metals CEO Dino Otranto said, “While Real Zero by 2030 is our long-term Scope 1 and 2 target, our short-term target is for our emissions to reach their peak by 2025/26 because of a new mine coming on board and then to significantly decline in 2027/28 as all of the green technology and renewable energy that we are investing in right now kicks in – achieving zero emissions by 2030.

“We are the only heavy emitter in the world to stop purchasing voluntary offsets. We will focus our efforts on eliminating the million litres of diesel we use per year, rather than offsetting them.

“Our first battery electric haul truck is now on site as we prepare to replace our fleet with zero emission trucks and equipment with battery electric and green hydrogen models. We are also ramping up our renewable power on site to replace fossil fuel power with renewable electricity.”

Related article: Another Fortescue executive bites the dust

Fortescue Energy CEO Mark Hutchinson said, “In recent months, we have all seen the harrowing images of extreme weather happening on every continent, and heat records being broken on an almost daily basis.

“The world is changing faster than we are, but Fortescue isn’t in that boat. Our decision to lead during the climate crisis reflects our commitment to our shareholders.

“For years we have been saying that voluntary offsets don’t work—they just pass the buck. We are here at UNGA as a heavy emitter that is saying no to a future of fossil fuels and yes to a better future for our company.”

During FY24 and FY25, Fortescue said it plans to:

  • complete its first 100MW solar farm
  • commence construction of two 220kV additional transmission lines (total 243km of lines; which, when complete, will connect all its mines into an integrated electricity network.
  • achieve final investment decision on an additional three solar farms, representing a commitment to construct an additional >1GW of solar capacity.
  • achieve FID on its large-scale wind farm.
  • invest an additional several hundred million into design and development of zero emissions solutions required for decarbonisation. This includes its battery electric and green hydrogen haul truck fleet; development of a zero-emissions rail solution to transport iron ore from its mine sites to port; deliver its first electric excavators to commence perational use onsite; achieve Final Investment Decision on the electrical distribution and charging infrastructure for its first two green mine sites and port operations.
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