We utilize strategic, rather than tactical, sourcing and have developed stable and proven relationships with the majority of our suppliers over the past decades. Crucial to building sustainable supply chains, these long-lasting partnerships enable us to discuss our sustainability-related expectations with suppliers and to collaborate successfully on new technologies, product innovations and recycling programs.
Most metal and some coating suppliers are significantly larger than Ball, and their business activities can result in major environmental and social impacts. Mining, for example, is associated with safety, biodiversity and human rights issues. Metal smelting, casting and rolling requires vast amounts of energy, which releases significant greenhouse gas emissions.
Based on the results of intensive research, including life cycle assessments, that Ball conducted with industry partners in the U.S. and Europe, we know that most of metal packaging's environmental impacts occur during metal production. Also, the biggest risks and opportunities with respect to social issues such as employment practices, conflict minerals and safety occur in the upstream stages of our supply chain.
Due to the scale of their impact and risk exposure, many of our metal and coating suppliers established formal sustainability programs prior to 2000. Eighty-nine percent of our global metal suppliers, for example, published environmental and social metrics in formal sustainability reports or on their websites in 2013.
In line with our global sourcing strategy, our supply chain sustainability efforts help us to: