2021 sustainability report

Biodiversity

Biodiversity conservation

SASB EM-MM-160a.1

Biodiversity plays a critical role for the planet’s health. Nornickel recognises the need to preserve it and seeks to minimise any potential negative impact of its operations on biological resources.

The Company’s activities and operational culture are guided by the following commitments, as far as biodiversity conservation is concerned:

  • protection and promotion of the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems;
  • sustainable management of forests;
  • protection and prevention of the extinction of threatened species;
  • responsible management and protection of freshwater ecosystems;
  • prohibition of exploration and mining activities at World Heritage sites and in all protected areas.

In addition to the Environmental and Climate Change Strategy helping reduce negative impact on biodiversity, Nornickel also has in place the Position Statement on Biodiversity, which lays down the key principles, obligations, and initiatives in this area.

Nornickel’s biodiversity targets in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • Ensure preservation, recovery and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems;
  • ensure sustainable management and protection of marine and coastal ecosystems;
  • replenish aquatic biodiversity;
  • protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, halt biodiversity loss;
  • take measures to stem degradation of habitats, biodiversity loss, and extinction, protect endangered species;
  • ensure that the value of ecosystem integrity and biodiversity is factored into the Company’s planning and development.

In 2021, the Company kicked off largescale research into biodiversity, which covers exploration, mining, production, transport, logistics, and energy assets of Norilsk, Kola, and Trans-Baikal divisions.

For that purpose, Nornickel signed an R&D agreement with the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SB RAS), which then engaged four institutions:

  • Institute of Systematics and Ecology of Animals of the SB RAS;
  • Federal Research Centre «Krasnoyarsk Science Centre of the SB RAS»;
  • Institute of Biophysics of the Federal Research Centre «Krasnoyarsk Science Centre of the SB RAS»;
  • Institute of Soil Science and Agrochemistry of the SB RAS.

The researchers are pursuing the following goals:

  • delineating the Company’s footprint in terms of ecosystem biodiversity and measuring ecosystem exposure to human impact;
  • studying and evaluating the current biodiversity situation within and outside the negative impact zone;
  • ascertaining biodiversity in disturbed areas, as well as in those outside the negative impact zone;
  • identifying local indicator and endangered species;
  • pinning down any potential biodiversity threats posed by the Company’s production facilities;
  • categorising habitats into natural, altered, and critical;
  • identifying buffer zones of key biotopes that are important for the provision of ecosystem services.

The resulting data will lay the foundation for a system to manage biodiversity preservation and monitoring, as well as for evidence-based target-setting at the division level in service of the overarching goal of zero net biodiversity losses.

The specific stages of building the management system are as follows:

  1. completing in 2022 the baseline biodiversity research as the jump-off point for the system;
  2. setting biodiversity conservation targets and including them in corporate KPIs;
  3. developing corporate biodiversity conservation guidelines based on international principles and approaches, and measures for preserving the biodiversity of Arctic ecosystems;
  4. designing corporate programmes to preserve and monitor biodiversity;
  5. devising a uniform approach to cooperation with specially protected natural areas and developing individual programmes for working with each of various specially protected natural areas (SPNAs).

Cooperation with nature reserves and tourism development

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Cooperation with nature reserves represents one of the ways for Nornickel to help conserve and restore biodiversity while preserving the unique Arctic nature.

Kola MMC is located 15 km from the Pasvik Nature Reserve and 10 km from the Lapland Biosphere Reserve, while Polar Division’s sites are some 80–100 km away from the buffer zone of the Putoransky Nature Reserve. Bystrinsky GOK lies 160 km away from the Relict Oaks State Reserve (Trans-Baikal Territory).

Nornickel’s operations do not produce any significant impact on areas that are in the relative vicinity of the nature reserves and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas.

Our cooperation with nature reserves primarily focuses on developing research and technology and supporting their social, volunteering and environmental awareness programmes. Nornickel has been providing various kinds of support to nature reserves for more than a decade.

Kola MMC helps develop and implement additional measures to protect rare animal species in the Murmansk Region. Specifically, in 2021 the Lapland Reserve launched the Save the Reindeer Together project, which the Company supports under its World of New Opportunities charitable programme. The project aims to preserve the population of wild reindeer, which have been included in Russia’s Red Data Book due to poaching. The Lapland Nature Reserve is the only place in Northern Europe that is home to as many as a thousand or so reindeer.

In April 2021, Kola MMC aided the Lapland Biosphere Reserve in purchasing five BRP Ski-Doo Skandic snowmobiles for a total of RUB 7.5 mln. The reserve’s employees will use the vehicles to patrol the specially protected territory.

Ever since 2006, Pasvik has been implementing a standing environmental monitoring programme on the Kola MMC territories and in adjacent areas. With the shutdown of the smelting facilities in Nickel, the monitoring has increased in scope: in the following decades, Pasvik’s ecologists will extensively study the restoration of the Pechengsky District terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. They will be focusing on the changes in ecosystems, such as vegetation growth on deforested land and new flora and fauna species appearing in the district and next to the former industrial site.

Another area of monitoring is the study of precipitation composition. This kind of work was done at Pasvik in 2009–2014 under the ICP Forests International Cooperative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Forests, and in 2021 it was resumed.

The monitoring will incorporate data captured using camera traps. Pasvik researchers already use this equipment, and now the plan is to install them around Nickel and Zapolyarny. Another subject of study will be new vegetation on deforested land. The team conducting this large-scale monitoring in the Pechengsky District includes experts from the Institute for Biology of Inland Waters, Karelia and Kola Science Centres of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ryazan State University, Russian State Hydrometeorological University, Russian State University for Geological Prospecting, St Petersburg University, and other institutions.

Red List species found in Pasvik, Lapland and Putoransky, pcs

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Indi­cator
Pas­vik
Lap­land
Puto­ransky

Indi­cator

On the IUCN Red List, of which

Pas­vik

82

Lap­land

23

Puto­ransky

5

Indi­cator

Critically Endangered (CR)

Pas­vik

1

Lap­land

0

Puto­ransky

1

Indi­cator

Endangered (EN)

Pas­vik

1

Lap­land

1

Puto­ransky

0

Indi­cator

Vulnerable (VU)

Pas­vik

5

Lap­land

0

Puto­ransky

3

Indi­cator

Near Threatened (NT)

Pas­vik

10

Lap­land

0

Puto­ransky

1

Indi­cator

Least Concern (LC)

Pas­vik

65

Lap­land

22

Puto­ransky

Indi­cator

On Russia’s Red Data Book, of which

Pas­vik

23

Lap­land

25

Puto­ransky

11

Indi­cator

Critically Endangered (CR)

Pas­vik

1

Lap­land

0

Puto­ransky

1

Indi­cator

Endangered (EN)

Pas­vik

8

Lap­land

11

Puto­ransky

2

Indi­cator

Vulnerable (VU)

Pas­vik

11

Lap­land

13

Puto­ransky

7

Indi­cator

Near Threatened (NT)

Pas­vik

2

Lap­land

1

Puto­ransky

0

Indi­cator

Least Concern (LC)

Pas­vik

1

Lap­land

0

Puto­ransky

1

Indi­cator

On the Murmansk Region’s and Krasnoyarsk Territory’s Red Data Books

Pas­vik

119

Lap­land

165

Puto­ransky

28

Siberian Perspective eco-summit

In 2021, the traditional eco-rally held by Nornickel was reorganised into a partner event — the Siberian Perspective eco-summit, which serves as an expert platform for discussions on strategy and synergy in implementing environmental volunteering projects.

2021 eco-summit was held in the Bobrovy Log Fun Park in Krasnoyarsk. Participating companies were provided with a platform where they could share experiences and best practices on biodiversity conservation as part of the UN SDGs agenda, as well as discuss the role of corporate volunteering. The participants also visited a special exhibition and work sites of corporate volunteers setting up an ornithological station and a separate waste collection site.

Day two of the eco-summit featured an eco-rally in the Krasnoyarsk Stolby National Park, where volunteers showcased their efforts to beautify the park.