European and Global Challenges

Industry Representation before European Aluminium

The Evolution of European Aluminium

Addressing Sustainability

Aluminium in Mobility

Aluminium in Building & Construction

Aluminium in Packaging

The Faces of European Aluminium
Industry Representation before European Aluminium
Aluminium association
Only 15 years after the Hall and Héroult patents (1886), all the firms that pioneered the aluminium smelting technology created the Aluminium Association. It aimed to provide governance for this global industry and to promote aluminium and its applications. In 1926, a specific organization, the Bureau International d’étude et propagande de l’aluminium was created to share innovations amongst firms and to encourage a dialogue between primary producers and users to boost applications in specific fields, like automotive, electrical , and food packaging.

Portrait of the signatories of the agreement of 2 November 1901 for the distribution of aluminium production between Alcoa, British Aluminium, AIAG, Société Electrométallurgique Française and Compagnie des Produits Chimiques d'Alais et de la Camargue: including Alfred Rangot, known as Pechiney (with his cane), Schindler, Naville, Cottin, Dreyfus, Ristori, Badin (with the hat), Davis and Huber © IHA
International Aluminium Development Centre (Centre
international pour le développement de l’aluminium – CIDA
In 1950, the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (forerunner of the OCSE) invited the aluminium producers to create the Centre international pour le development de l’industrie de l’aluminium (CIDA). CIDA was set up to encourage the transition from war to civil uses of aluminium, after the technological spin-off created by the World War II and Korean War. CIDA was a technological forum, which set up standards and spread technical and market information about aluminium within Europe. Until the late 1960s, CIDA represented a genuine study group that boosted aluminium applications and established areas of cooperation in R&D activities.

CIDA studies on the use of aluminium in building (1950s-1960s) © IHA
Producers’ clubs (1953-1969)
While pre-1945 aluminium producers’ associations were progressively questioned by anti-trust laws, the on-going process of European integration, impressive growth in primary outputs, and the new geopolitical context created by the Cold War, demanded new forms of economic and political governances. In 1953, European primary producers set up an informal club, with the aim of strengthening a sort of European community of aluminium. The Club can be considered the first step towards EPAA, even though it had neither formal structures, nor formal membership. Incidentally, the Club led to the creation in 1956 of the European Aluminium Ski Trophy.

European Ski Trophy. Competition between aluminium producers (1950s-1960s)
© photo IHA / Jean et Joël Martel, ADAGP Paris, 2021
European Wrought Aluminium Association (EWAA) (1953-1981)
After WW2, the development of the European aluminium industry was not due solely to fully integrated producers. The impressive growth of the market created opportunities for new players in the field of semi-finished and wrought products. They could both benefit from the opportunities represented by the European market integration, and be protected from specific risks behind this process. EWAA represented, along with the Club (and then EPAA), one the main pillars of European Aluminium.

Non-Ferrous Metals Liaison Committee - Eurométaux
(Comité de liaison des métaux non-ferreux)
The Treaty of Rome gave birth to a new political supra-national body with its own rules, structures, organizations and technicalities. The Comité de Liaison des métaux non-ferreux (Liaison Committee of Non-Ferrous Metals) was established, including aluminium along with other metals, in order to promote a real and constructive dialogue between the non-ferrous metal industries operating in Europe and the new European powers. European Aluminium has been a key member of this Comité, which became Eurométaux in the 1990s.

Left: Minutes of the first meeting held in Paris on 26 June 1957.
Right: Presentation of Eurometaux (1990s) © IHA
Organisation of European Aluminium-refiners
and remelters (OEA)
At the end of the 1950s, aluminium refiners and remelters recognized the opportunity to set up a European association. While associations already existed at the national level, many remelters and refiners realized that the process of European market integration represented both opportunities and risks to be tackled on a wider European basis. OEA was, with EWAA and Club/EPAA, another pillar of EAA. Its role was crucial because OEA’s firms operated essentially in what nowadays we could call “the circular economy” of metals and promoted a business based on recycling. OEA was integrated in EAA as of 2013 and consequently dissolved in 2015.

Sorting aluminium scrap for recycling in a secondary smelter (1960s) © IHA
European Primary Aluminium
Association (EPAA) (1969-1981)
The ongoing process of European integration, along with global tariffs reductions and market integration opened by the Kennedy round of the GATT, made the old Club and CIDA insufficiently efficient to meet the demands of cooperation and of institutional dialogue which the primary producers had.

The creation of EPAA, gathering the primary producers of Europe under a true association, was necessary to provide an official voice for primary producers. At the time, EPAA aimed at being a catalyst for the creation of a broader aluminium association in Europe.

Aluminium smelter in the 1950s: foundry and electrolysis hall. Photos Jean Dieuzaide © IHA
European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA)
Aluminium foil appeared in the 1910s and quickly became a flagship product, especially in the field of packaging. Since the 1960s, it has also been used in tetrabricks, in conjunction with other materials and later in laminated tubes or blisters. The first associations of European aluminium foil producers date back to the 1950s, but it was only in 1974 that they pooled their strengths in a single organization, the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA), to promote their products and develop new markets. EAFA would become a member of European Aluminium in 1986. Today EAFA has developed in a multi-material association.

European Aluminium Association (EAA)
At the turn of the 1970s and 1980s, the European aluminium industry addressed a combination of challenges: the oil crisis, the introduction of aluminium trading at the LME, and the on-going process of European and global market integration. Together, they brought about a new decisive step towards a unitary association. After a decade of incubation, a profound reshaping of the various aluminium associations led to the creation of the European Aluminium Association, as a fusion between EPAA and EWAA. In 2013 this integration would be completed by the inclusion of OEA.

European Aluminium Association, The Battle Hymn of the aluminium industry (1986) © IHA
European Association for Surface Treatment
on Aluminium (Estal)
Aluminium surface treatments are used in a large array of uses, from construction to packaging, and chemistry to medical equipment to name a few examples.
The creation of Estal aimed to promote dialogue between producers and users of surface treatments to address technical, economic and environmental issues.
As a member of European Aluminium since 2016, Estal has been contributing to the sharing of information and the search for innovative solutions.

Anodised aluminium parts © IHA
EAA becomes “European Aluminium”
After the integration of OEA in 2015, the time was ripe to clarify its purpose, image and message in order to truly be the single voice of the aluminium industry in Europe. The association, renamed European Aluminium, initiated a repositioning that would affect both its vision and all of its practices. The repositioning coincided with the launch of a comprehensive Sustainability Roadmap Towards 2025, the industry’s voluntary contribution to addressing environmental, economic and societal challenges. The organization further strengthened its strategic pathway with the creation of key milestones: the “Innovation Hub” and the “Drivers of Change” in 2016, the I+ Manifesto in 2018, and Vision 2050 and the Circular Aluminium Action Plan in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

© European Aluminium