A commitment to sustainability

Aluminium offers solutions to many of Europe’s sustainability challenges; most importantly it can enable its low-carbon, resource-efficient agenda and support long-lasting growth and a more competitive EU economy.

The European aluminium industry’s Sustainability Roadmap Towards 2025 consists of a programme of ambitious targets and commitments that reach far beyond legislative obligations. It reflects our industry’s forward-thinking approach to change and our commitment to action in the coming decade.

A long-standing track-record in sustainable practices

The Sustainability Roadmap builds on our proven track-record of continuous self-improvement, evidenced by our Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs), which we put in place in the late 1990s.

Sustainability in practice

Energy and GHG emissions

Since 1990, the aluminium industry in Europe has reduced its CO2 emissions by more than 50% and PFCs emissions by 90%. Our goal is to further reduce industrial energy consumption by 10% per tonne of aluminium produced or transformed. Energy efficiency is a driver of competitiveness in our sector, as electricity accounts for up to 40% of the costs of primary smelters in Europe. As base-load consumers, aluminium smelters assist the balancing of the grid and the use of renewable energy sources.

Case study: Ground-breaking innovation

Hydro’s pilot aluminium plant that could reduce electricity consumption by 12%. The pilot plant, currently under development, has a planned capacity of 75,000 tons of primary aluminium per year and could begin production in 2017.

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Responsible materials and sourcing

Aluminium producers are committed to source raw materials responsibly, from an environmental, economic and social perspective, promoting traceability best practices. Aluminium is produced out of a mineral ore, bauxite. 90% of the world’s bauxite reserves are concentrated in tropical and sub-tropical regions, therefor our industry imports into Europe key raw materials for the primary and downstream segments. It contributes directly to improve the available sourcing and traceability standards – through the direct involvement of some our members in the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative and the International Council of Mining and Metals - and will develop core criteria for sustainable raw materials sourcing which will apply to the whole sector.

Case study: The aluminium stewardship initiative

ASI is working with stakeholders to develop an independent third party certification programme for the aluminium value chain. This will define global standards for sustainability; promote continuous improvements in environmental, social and governance standards and provide credible certification for these initiatives.

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Aluminium is infinitely recyclable. Irrespective of how many times it is reprocessed and re-used, it remains fundamentally unchanged.

Recycling aluminium uses only 5% of the energy needed for primary production. Greater recycling also reduces energy consumption and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. This makes aluminium an essential component of a Circular Economy.

As part of the European Commission’s new Circular Economy strategy our industry is committed to assisting in the phasing out of landfilling of recyclable waste. We are developing market-specific recycling action plans, starting with the packaging, automotive and buildings sectors.

Promoting drinks can recycling across Europe

Every Can Counts encourages people to recycle their drinks cans consumed while out-and-about. Initiated in 2008, it encourages collecting and recycle drinks cans consumed outside, such as festivals and sport events.

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Social aspects

The European aluminium industry is committed to being a progressive and inclusive industry. The health and safety of our workers are our members’ top priority and the industry is continuously striving to eliminate industrial accidents. Ongoing investments in safety, prevention and training programmes delivered a 79% reduction in Total Recordable Incident* rate.

*A measure of the total number of fatalities, lost time accidents, restricted work cases and medical treatment cases per million hours worked.

Case study: Health and safety

European Aluminium stimulates the exchange of information and knowledge-gathering about best practices and innovative solutions improving the safety performance within the industry and fosters the development of networks among experts in Europe. In this context a Safety Solutions competition, for which member companies are encouraged to present innovative safety measures implemented at plants level, is organised every two years. The replicability and the innovative aspects of the solutions are two important criteria in the selection process.

Example of 2015 winner: the first prize was given to Real Alloy for its warning system informing employees when a crane in operating. A LED spot fixed to the overhead crane is marking the actual position of the crane on the ground. The first advantage is that we no longer need the acoustical warning for the cranes and have thus reduced the noise in the production area. As a second improvement the LED is permanently on and warns the employee - without the deafening by an alarm which is making noise all the time.

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