Embedding Environment and Sustainability into Corporate Financial Decision-Making: The Business Case for a Novel Carbon Capture Technology.

  • Manuel Siegrist

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis is comprised of two main parts. The first part investigates the potential of a novel CO2 sequestration method, carbon mineralisation, which utilises mineral waste from mine sites, namely mafic and ultramafic rocks. The idea is to utilise this method, seeing that the pledges made under the Paris Agreement force countries around the globe to search for pathways that help reduce the impact their economies have on climate change through their greenhouse gas emissions.
Chapter 3 looks at the potential of carbon mineralisation from an Australian perspective. Australia has a long history as a mining country and is one of the top worldwide producers of nickel. Furthermore, utilising feedstock from mining companies is ideal due to the granulated rocks which facilitate the chemical reactions. The mining feedstock potential from both abandoned and currently operational mine sites, as well as estimates from future reserves, are taken into account. The gathered data is then crossed with a CO2 sequestration table, which identifies sub-types of mafic and ultramafic feedstock and their inherent potential for CO2 absorption. It was found that a total of 2,171 Mt of CO2 could be absorbed from nickel mine feedstock. Australia, with annual CO2 emissions of approximately 500 Mt of CO2, aims to reduce their output by twenty-six to twenty-eight percent by 2030. Using carbon mineralisation could serve as a contributor to decarbonise the Australian economy as part of an array of solutions.
Chapter 4 expands the search for ideal mine sites from Australian to a global scope and also includes kimberlite rocks, which host diamonds, due to their similar reactivity with CO2. Here, a total of seventeen countries and 145 mine sites are assessed for their potential feedstock to facilitate the carbon mineralisation method. In addition, future estimates of nickel and diamonds are taken into consideration in order to give a more accurate estimate. Furthermore, a net present value (NPV) model with simple underlying assumptions is deployed in order to gauge the economic potential of this method. The global potential is estimated at 7,254 Mt of CO2. Furthermore, the NPV model estimates a present value of approximately US$13.3 billion, assuming a price on carbon of US$20, with a break-even of US$7.311.
Chapter 5 consists of the second part of this thesis and looks into reasons and obstacles that prevent firms from adopting methods such as carbon mineralisation. Building on insights gained from the literature review, a model is developed that aims at overcoming said obstacles and enable firms to take a long-term view. Having adequate executive compensation systems, moving away from quarterly reports as well as utilising adjusted decision-making models, would enable the firm to embed sustainability. It is recognised that in the absence of clear, governmentally mandated rules and regulations, it is the informal institutions that become more relevant, manifested through individuals that push firms to become industry leaders.
Date of Award12 Feb 2020
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorColette Southam (Supervisor) & Gary Bowman (Supervisor)

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