Research and innovation in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) in the mining industry operations and technologies sector has declined in the last year.

The most recent figures show that the number of ESG patent applications in the industry stood at 78 in the three months ending November – down from 258 over the same period last year.

Figures for patent grants related to ESG followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 164 in the three months ending November last year to 63 this year.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

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By GlobalData

ESG is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

POSCO was the top ESG innovator in the mining industry operations and technologies sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in South Korea, filed 20 ESG-related patents in the three months ending November. That was down from 38 over the same period last year.

It was followed by the US-based Honeywell International Inc with 18 ESG patent applications, Germany-based ThyssenKrupp AG (17 applications), and the US-based Caterpillar Inc (15 applications).