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
Creation of the European Aluminium Association (EAA)
The first meeting of the European Aluminium Association council took place in Bruges, on 4 June 1981. Its first chairman was Mr LSF “Dick” Charles, president of the British Aluminium Company, while Dr. Lenore Ernst was named as secretary general. The new organization brought together the members previously gathered in two distinct associations, EPAA for primary aluminium producers, and EWAA for fabricating and semi-finished. The OEA as a whole would become a member of the new association in 2013. Three divisions, Primary, Wrought Products and Secondary were legacies of the old associations.

First logo of European Aluminium Association
© Coll. IHA

The logo created in 1986 during the centenary celebrations of the Hall-Héroult process
© Coll. IHA
Towards a functional organization of divisions
In 1986(1), the Alufoil association, EAFA, became a member of European Aluminium Association, adding a fourth division. In 1991, the general organization inherited from the four associations was reshaped, putting an end to the original Wrought Division and splitting it into two distinct divisions: Extrusion and Rolling.
(1) 1986 : checked (5th EAA AG, 1986).

The organizational chart of EAA in 1991 © European Aluminium
Environmental issues in the foreground
In 1991, the organization reflected the growing importance of environmental issues inside European Aluminium Association by creating a committee called “Aluminium and Ecology”. Its mission was to formulate policies to cope with the main environmental issues that were arising both in society and at the regulatory level. This led to the elaboration, in the following few years, of new scientific approaches about the ecological profile of aluminium.

© All rights reserved
Moving to Brussels
The decision to move to Brussels marked the emancipation of European Aluminium, which would henceforth defend its interests itself alongside European institutions. Until then, it had entrusted this mission to Eurométaux, which had an “aluminium group”. Located in its new offices at Avenue de Broqueville, the association team was well placed to create new direct working relationships with European institutions in the aftermath of the Maastricht Treaty.

European flags in front of the Berlaymont building. Architect: André Polak,
Lucien De Vestel, Jean Polak. Photo Mauro Bottaro © European Union
Markets in the spotlight
Initially called "strategy groups", bodies devoted to the development of the main aluminium markets, transport, building and packaging, were progressively established. These markets groups responded to the desire to make stakeholders’ perception of the industry, its material and applications, the major driver for the structure and priorities of EAA. By 1999 a new group would be devoted to “mass transportation”.

© European Aluminium
Creation of a “Steering group”
on Communication
Since the inception of EAA, the promotion of the image of aluminium was a priority of the association. Spotlights on markets (transport, building and packaging) and new approaches about environmental issues, which progressively showed the potentialities of aluminium for ecology, led the association to strengthen its communication in order “to go to the outside world”. As the General Assembly would insist in 1998, “for many decades the industry could afford to focus the dialogue on direct customers and sales contacts, but in today's economic and social environment the art of communication requires a much wider scope”.

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ALUMATTER - an innovative tool for training
Based on a previous program called TALAT (Training in Aluminium Application Technologies), which had been developed by EAA in the mid-1990s, a web-based e-learning tool called ALUMATTER was initiated to display resources about aluminium material science and technology. Launched in 2002, ALUMATTER was boosted thanks to an EU Leonardo da Vinci Grant. It earned accordingly an EU funding of 500k€ from 2003 to 2005 and won the EAA two prizes awarded by the European Union in 2006 and 2007.

Alumatter Award Event, may 2007. Prize receipt from Annette Schavan, Federal Minister of Education and Research of Germany © European Aluminium
Creation of Aluminium Industry REACH
REACH is a regulation of the European Union, in 2006 adopted to improve the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals. It requires companies registering the same substance to share data and to jointly submit their registration dossier.
An Aluminium lndustry REACH Consortium was formed by cooperation of the European Aluminium Association and the International Aluminium Institute to facilitate the industry's risk assessment process, with the EAA as secretariat.

© Aluminium REACH Consortium
An exclusive meeting for
the public: Aluminium Days
On the side-lines of the annual European Aluminium Spring Meeting, a major public event was created in Brussels: “Aluminium Days“. It included a Conference programme closely linked to key public policy areas and parallel events highlighting the benefits of aluminium in everyday life.

Aluminium Days in 2013. The panel members were: Roland Scharf-Bergman, Senior Vice-President and Head of Recycling unit - Norsk Hydro; Anders Linde, General Secretary, Metal Packaging Europe; Robin Miège, Director Strategy, DG Environment - European Commission; Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart, Founder and scientific CEO of the EPEA International Umweltforschung GmbH and of the Hamburger Umweltinstitut (HUI); Pete Harrison, European Climate Foundation © European Aluminium
Recycling at the kernel
The creation of a Recycling Division in 2013 announced the OEA integration. The association of aluminium recycling and remelting companies had been a member of EAA since its inception, but it continued to exist as an autonomous institution. Over the years, recycling became a matter of the utmost importance both from the standpoint of economic development and of ecological issues. By integrating into EAA, it confirmed the importance of this sector which found its place at the heart of strategies and finally allowed the industry to speak with one unique voice.

© European Aluminium / OEA – Coll. IHA
Launching the “Agenda for Action”
After a detailed assessment by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) showed that the cumulative costs deriving from EU policies had significantly impacted profits and were consistently higher than industry margins from 2009 onwards when the industry faced losses, EAA developed an “Agenda for Action”. The agenda was designed as a blueprint for a robust and predictable policy framework to enable the competitiveness and sustainability of the aluminium industry in Europe and provided concrete recommendations to EU decision-makers on measures needed to safeguard the aluminium industry and revive a strategic sector for Europe.

© European Aluminium
Repositioning the association
Renamed “European Aluminium”, the association initiated a profound repositioning and rebranding. The time had come to express a shared and clear definition of the mission of the organization. Based on a membership and stakeholder survey, it resulted in the following statement: “The European Aluminium Association adds value for its members by being the voice of an internationally-competitive aluminium value chain in Europe, with the aim of creating the conditions for growth of production and promoting the use of aluminium as a permanent material that is part of the solution to achieving sustainability goals (2).”
(2) 5-Year-case p.8

The new logo of European Aluminium © European Aluminium
Adopting the “Sustainability
Roadmap Towards 2025”
In Spring 2015, a new step in this rebranding followed: the launch of the Sustainability Roadmap Towards 2025 gave a new vision of the industry’s voluntary contribution to addressing environmental, economic and societal challenges (see in more detail in timeline 4).

© European Aluminium
Introducing the “Drivers of Change”
Policymakers adopted a wide range of legislative proposals in 2016 likely to shape the competitiveness of strategic industries such as aluminium. In response, European Aluminium launched its ‘Drivers of Change’, a strategic blueprint for 2016-2019, positioning the industry as a leading actor in a number of important legislative reforms, notably trade, energy and the circular economy.

© European Aluminium
Creation of the Innovation Hub
The Innovation Hub is the European aluminium industry’s vehicle to develop joint innovation projects. This collaborative platform is triggering research projects that target important identified technology challenges. Coordinated by European Aluminium, its goal is two-fold: facilitate breakthrough technologies and processes, especially in connection with its Sustainability Roadmap, and gain access to EU and other sources of research funding.
The RemovAL project was the first EU-funded project facilitated by the Innovation Hub. It started in 2018, gathering 26 partners aiming to improve processes to convert bauxite residues and spent pot-lining waste into resources. In 2021, the Innovation Hub is involved in seven EU collaborative projects addressing the aluminium value chain.

© European Aluminium
Creation of a Trade Committee
During the 2010s, the global aluminium market faced new major challenges. On the one hand, China, which in just a few years has become the world's largest producer of aluminium, has practices that distort fair and free trade by subsidizing its companies and driving down prices; on the other hand, the United States has developed aggressive unilateral policies, not to mention the consequences of Brexit on trade and a wave of new free trade agreements between major economies. The creation of a permanent Trade Committee has put European Aluminium in a position to deal specifically and over time with these challenges.

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Co-organization of the
Montreal Aluminium Summit
On the sidelines of the G7 summit held in Montreal, European Aluminum took the initiative to co-organize with three national associations (Canada, United States and Japan) a summit calling for a global market regulation and an International Monitoring System. The G7 leaders were urged to “take decisive action against aluminium overcapacity”, especially from China. The summit took place with the active participation of G7 government representatives.

A realistic scenario for the primary production in Europe (i.e. EU28 + EFTA) / Source: European Aluminium based on CRU 2018 datasets © European Aluminium
Articulating “Vision 2050”
To contribute to the EU’s mid-century strategy, European Aluminium released its Vision 2050 report, which articulates a clear viewpoint for the development of a carbon-neutral, circular, and energy-efficient aluminium value chain in Europe by 2050 (see in more detail in timeline 4).

Setting framework conditions
with the “I+Manifesto”
Launched in the context of the 2019 European elections, the I+ Manifesto was “European Aluminium’s call to action for the next EU leaders to set the right framework conditions for the industry to achieve its full strategic potential.“ I+ Manifesto was built on the conclusions of “Vision 2050”.

© European Aluminium
Presenting the “Circular
Aluminium Action Plan”
European Aluminium launched its Circular Aluminium Action Plan, the sector’s strategy for achieving aluminium’s full potential for a circular economy by 2030. (see in more detail in timeline 4).

© European Aluminium
Recommendations for a sustainable
recovery plan
The Covid-19 crisis demonstrated how essential the aluminium industry is for the European “green recovery” as well as the need to take a value chain approach. After the crisis hit, European Aluminium has called on both the European Parliament and the European Commission to address citizens' expectations in their revised EU industrial strategy and the upcoming “Fit for 55 package” by focussing on incentivizing circular, low-carbon, and strategic industries in Europe while protecting their global competitiveness and fighting carbon leakage.

© European Union