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Driving change

In 2017, European Aluminium was a leading actor in relevant key EU policies including the Anti-Dumping Regulation, ETS phase IV, Circular Economy Package, Clean Energy Package and Industrial Policy.

In this section, you can discover our advocacy activities and the industry's two major voluntary initiatives - the Sustainability Roadmap and the Innovation Hub - that hope to shape the low-carbon economy in the coming decades.

Adina-Ioana Vǎlean

Member of the European Parliament
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DIGITAL ACTIVITY REPORT 2017

Advocacy

Trade

Advocacy for Free & Fair Trade

Free and fair global trade is at risk. The US tariffs on foreign aluminium under Section 232, Brexit, changes in WTO rules and a wave of new free trade agreements between major economies are constantly changing the landscape for our members' operations. As an industry, we are committed to the highest possible environmental, social and economic standards. This is why we are working at European and global levels to strengthen the existing trade defence system and to address the increasing global excess capacity that currently undermines viability and competitiveness in our industry.

Our two-year campaign on the EU Anti-Dumping Regulation proved a solid step forward. There should be better and more effective tools available to prevent systematic dumping by third parties. The implementation of such laws will be monitored and cases will be considered. Meanwhile, our G20 global campaign will move up a gear. The recognition of aluminium overcapacity in G7 and G20 was an important milestone achieved during 2017. However, creating both the Aluminium Global Forum and proper legal definitions of excess capacity will remain a top priority for 2018-19.

Energy

The EU's emissions trading system & clean energy package

A decarbonised energy market creates new opportunities and challenges for our entire value chain. Our advocacy programme focuses on competitive, flexible and decarbonised electricity markets for the coming decade. We developed significant proposals that strike a proper balance between cost-effective renewables, coherent policies for ETS eligible sectors and realistic overall targets to adapt to different EU markets. Working with close allies and all the institutions, we initiated an open conversation based on reliable data on the realities of our industry, positioning aluminium as one of the relevant strategic industries.

This campaign has benefited from European Aluminium's leading role during ETS Phase IV negotiations. For more than two years, our association has highlighted on the concept of indirect carbon cost and its implications for our business and the environment. Through more than 150 meetings, numerous studies offering unique data, cross-industry alliances and tailor-made communications, the industry has paved the way for improving the investment and operating business environment.

European Aluminium is also engaged in defending the ‘Energy Efficiency First’ principle in the ongoing revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) as part of the Clean Energy Package. Vist our Building section in the report to learn more. 

In 2018, state aid reform is a crucial file for our industry. We set up a State Aid Task Force with member experts from across the value chain to develop policy options for a predictable and adequate compensation level for indirect carbon costs.

 

Energy & climate work checklist

Met with more than 100 officials and stakeholders

Completed reform of ETS phase IV with positive results

Led the debate on indirect carbon costs

Engaged in all Clean Energy Package files with proposals

Industrial Policy

I+ Manifesto

With the Commission unveiling a new Communication on Industrial Policy, European Aluminium has actively supported initiatives – such as #Industry4Europe – for promoting an ambitious, theme-driven and long-term industrial policy.

To further build on this, we have also launched our own I+ Manifesto: a voluntary initiative by the European aluminium industry designed to inspire Europe’s decision makers to imagine a renewed, refreshed and dynamic industry, promoting action and guiding the debate for the coming political cycle and beyond.

Visit our dedicated micro-site to read our manifesto in several languages, watch our manifesto video and provide us with your feedback.

External Positioning

Building alliances in and beyond Brussels

European Aluminium seeks a strong and ambitious EU industrial policy that addresses the competitiveness gap, promotes a global playing field on trade, environmental, health and safety standards and boosts market demand for the entire value chain. This is why we work with multiple allies. Thanks to our partnerships in Brussels and beyond, we are able to amplify our messaging and increase our political influence.

Allies include (but are not limited to):

Media Highlights

We regularly engage with the media in Brussels and beyond. Our messages were picked up by specialised trade, EU and international media throughout 2017.

In total, European Aluminium appeared in 19 top-tier publications and 115 different trade publications, reaching a potential audience of over 204 million people.

Click on the publication logos below to view some of our media highlights.

Innovation

Value Chain

Innovation is at the heart of the value chain

The European aluminium industry is one of the best performing and most innovative sectors and achieves some of the highest environmental and technological standards in the world. These achievements are highlighted in some of the innovation stories our members have shared.

To ensure Europe can continue to produce high-end products and new technologies that can enhance the competitiveness of the industry, clusters of innovation excellence are vital. In 2015, European Aluminium established its Innovation Hub, designed to align industry activity to the EU innovation agenda. The Innovation Hub is a pre-competitive platform, triggering research projects along the value chain, boosting the industry’s progress on its Sustainability Roadmap to 2025 and tackling R&D challenges, 

Last year, the Innovation Hub managed to establish new partnerships, coordinate the first successful application for EU funding and organise a workshop to initiate and facilitate the development of EU-funded projects. To learn more about these activities, please scroll through to the next screens.

Bauxite mining
Alumina production
Primary aluminium production
Semi-fabrication
Production manufacturing
Use phase
Recycling
EU Proposal

Developing a successful EU project proposal: RemovAL

Approved in December 2017, RemovAL is a four-year Horizon 2020 project on raw materials, supported by €11.5M in EU funding. The primary objective is to convert bauxite residues and spent pot linings waste into resources such as soil stabilise, high-performance concrete, lightweight aggregate and blended cement and mineral wool through industrial symbiosis and innovative, customised processing routes. The project is made up of 27 partners, including Mytilineos, Rio Tinto, Alcoa, Alum, European Aluminium and the International Aluminium Institute. For more information, read the infographic

All the key players of the aluminium industry, including the European Aluminium Association, are present, which is outstanding.

EU Proposal Reviewers
Networking

Networking and joining the Innovation Hub community

Our networks are fed by a vast range of key stakeholders, including policy makers, experts and research institutes. The Innovation Hub is also active in Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) such as SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency), Factories of the Future and Energy Efficient Buildings.

The Innovation Hub is not a closed community. Interested researchers, academics, policy makers, companies and experts are welcome to apply here

Sustainability

Sustainable Industry

Engaging external experts in building a sustainable industry

Addressing societal challenges with sustainable solutions is our industry’s priority. Our ‘Sustainability Roadmap towards 2025’, launched two years ago, provides the blueprint for our industry’s commitment to advancing sustainability.

To take our ambition to the next level, we have established a Sustainability Advisory Board.

External members of our Sustainability Advisory Board are: Ms Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Mr Karl Falkenberg, Mr Joaquin Garralda, Mr Martin Porter, Mrs Valentina Mele. European Aluminium is represented by Rosa Garcia Pineiro, Chair of the Sustainability Committee and Gerd Götz, European Aluminium's Director General.

The group of five high-level external experts provide independent guidance and challenge the industry’s initiatives. While visiting primary and recycling aluminium plants in Germany, they were impressed by the technological, financial and operational efforts put in place by our industry to improve overall sustainability performance and how innovation is viewed as essential, both in terms of product design and process technology.

In addition, to boost internal engagement from our membership, we have created a dedicated communications toolkit. This includes an animation and a special sustainability logo that companies can use as a “seal” of approval for their sustainability initiatives. 

Sustainability Roadmap

Advancing the Sustainability Roadmap Towards 2025

Our Sustainability Roadmap is the glue that holds the association’s activities together. It builds on a long-standing industry commitment to sustainability and a culture of monitoring and reporting performance.

Since the late 1990s, European Aluminium has published Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs) on the production and transformation of aluminium. The Roadmap has seen new indicators developed to monitor the progress by member companies on targets for, e.g., industrial waste, water, employee welfare and gender equality in the industry.

Since we published our last 2015 sustainability highlights, the latest data collected and reported from our sector shows the overall long-term progress is continuing. More data are available from our website.

 

Safety Culture

Creating a strong safety culture

Maintaining and improving safety in the workplace demands constant commitment, investment and attention at all levels. European Aluminium plays an instrumental role in complementing, supporting and disseminating our member companies’ efforts. It also helps ensure that lessons learned and best practices are shared across the membership.

In June 2017, European Aluminium organised a one and half-day Safety Workshop in Brussels. This focused on preventing fatalities and high-risk incidents and attracted more than 70 experts from all parts of the value chain.

The workshop covered a wide range of topics: the latest European safety statistics, assessing real incidents, practical safety tools to prevent incidents or minimise their impact, assessment methodologies and programmes for building a strong safety culture within organisations.

As well as the Safety Workshop, we also organised the ‘Safety Solutions Competition’ to reward effective, easily implementable and affordable ideas for improving safety. These solutions, based on creative thinking and innovative technologies, address all areas of safety, from protective tools to equipment and safety behaviour. The 2017 competition attracted a record 75 entries, following an increasing trend. All entries are publicly available here.

Life Cycle Assesment

Positioning aluminium products as environmentally-sound

The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) is a major European Commission initiative for harmonising Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodologies and related datasets within Europe. For aluminium, the most challenging issue was that the initial choice of an allocation methodology for recycling placed equal value on the Recycled Content (RC) and the End of Life (EoL) Recycling rates. European Aluminium successfully advocated for a new rule for metals, apportioning 80 per cent weight to the EoL recycling rate and 20 per cent to the RC. This new proposal is clearly closer to our 100 per cent EoL recycling approach; representing a reduction of environmental footprint for aluminium products of around 30 per cent.

In addition, European Aluminium provides accurate and reliable data on the environmental performance of aluminium ingot production (i.e. primary and recycling) and for semi-fabrication (i.e. rolling, extrusion and foil) in Europe. The European Aluminium Environmental Profile Report 2018 covers the environmental impact of the entire aluminium value chain in Europe, from metal supply - primary and recycling - to semi-fabrication - rolling, foil and extrusion. Based on 2015 production data collected from our members, the report provides accurate and reliable data on aluminium industry’s environmental performance in Europe and Life-Cycle Inventory (LCI) datasets for the key process steps essential for calculating the environmental impact of products using aluminium.

Read the executive summary of the report or request the full report. 

The Aluminium Unique Life Cycle Story

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Market overview
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Aluminium at work