Copper and Society

vintage bronze surface copper patina

Copper contributes to sustainable development in three key ways

As defined in the United Nations 1987 Bruntland report, sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Copper sustainability recognises that economic growth must incorporate social and environmental objectives.

Economic 

Structural (buildings and infrastructure) and functional (electrical and thermal conductors) products made from copper, copper alloys and copper scrap metal are at the heart of the EU economy. European companies – with world class technologies in sectors such as automotive, machinery building, power infrastructure, construction, metal extraction, engineering and many more – generate billions of Euros through both regional and export markets. Read more.

Social

While the copper industry itself is relatively small in terms of employment (+/- 50,000 people across Europe), it employs many skills in a variety of job types. Far more importantly, the downstream copper value chain – which covers everything from nano-particles to production of gigantic civil constructions to space exploration – supports, amongst others, researchers, scientists, teachers, engineers, medics, technologists, metal workers, recyclers and construction labourers. These people work in world class academic institutions, government departments, global companies and SMEs. Read more.

Environment

The European copper industry spends millions of Euros every year on improving its own environmental footprint, as well as enabling downstream companies to improve the environmental footprint of their products. Copper products form part of environmental infrastructure projects, sensors, instrumentation and measurement projects, copper metals recycling, cleaning, treatment and waste management projects. Research and innovation is supporting resource efficiency, “getting more from less”. Examples include light-weighting, downsizing, yield improvement and the higher productivity of systems and appliances, whether a medical device, mobile phone, air-conditioner, factory, supermarket, railway system or construction vehicle.  Read more.

The Copper Alliance and Sustainable Development

The Copper AllianceTM believes that sustainable development offers a balanced economic model that is respectful of people and the planet.

The European Copper Institute strives to represent an industry and its products that are valued and appreciated for their contributions towards creating a more sustainable society. Read more on the global website.

Ten reasons copper contributes to more sustainable energy

Copper has a superior electrical and thermal conductivity, is highly durable, and can be 100% recycled without any loss in performance. There are ten good reasons why copper should be a material of choice when it comes to building a more sustainable energy system. Read about them in the Applications section, including how they apply in specific applications.
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