Copper is naturally present in all waters, sediments and soils. In fact, if a soil contains insufficient levels of copper, it cannot sustain productive arable farming. The world's two most important food crops – rice and wheat – will not thrive in copper-deficient soil, leading to losses in yield and lower-quality outputs.
In Europe, 18 million hectares of cultivated soils (equivalent to 19% of arable land) are believed to be deficient in bio-available copper. To compensate for this, it is common practice to replenish soils with copper-enriched fertilisers and copper sulphate treatments.
Copper is natural, fully recyclable, corrosion resistant, durable and antimicrobial. It is not persistent, bio-accumulative or toxic to the environment under normal conditions of use. A comprehensive risk assessment – voluntarily undertaken by the copper industry, and covering the production, use and end-of-life aspects of the copper value chain – shows that the existing legislative framework generally safeguards Europe’s environment, the health of industry workers and the general public.
Europe’s sustainable energy future depends on a partnership between energy efficiency and renewable energy. The more efficiently energy services are delivered, the faster renewable energy can become an effective and significant contributor in primary energy production.
Copper is an essential material in building the energy systems of the future. It plays an important role in renewable energy systems, such as solar, wind, tidal, hydro, biomass, and geothermal. Copper is the most highly rated thermal and electrical conductor among the metals used in infrastructure and product design. Power systems utilising copper generate, transmit and use energy with higher efficiency, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions and optimising life cycle costs.