Alcoa is one of the world’s top sustainable and low-carbon pioneering companies. We have long term goals to re-use or recycle 75% of wastes by 2020 and 100% by 2030, as well as to reduce average water use intensity by 25% by 2020 and we continue to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
As a group, we’re also committed to a climate change strategy that takes into account the potential impact of our business plans, aiming to mitigate carbon risk while maximising business opportunities. We also have a firm policy on sustainable energy use wherever possible, from biodiesel to wind and solar installations, and in particular hydro-electric, which powers around 62% of our smelter output worldwide.
In fact, Alcoa was the first aluminium company to have its primary aluminium Cradle to Cradle® Certified – in recognition of the sustainability of our product and the practices employed in its manufacture, including social responsibility.
To that end we have various programmes including Ten Million Trees, developed from a highly successful scheme to plant a million trees in ten years and now aiming to plant ten million worldwide by 2020; and our Make an Impact programme in Australia, in which over 1000 employees have dramatically reduced their household water and energy use.
The Sustainable Building Material
In terms of sustainability, aluminium is one of the best materials available. Aside from its practical and energy-saving advantages in construction, it can be recycled repeatedly without loss of properties using just 5% of the energy originally used to mine, smelt and produce it. Aluminium’s natural strength, lightness and durability makes it the ideal material for meeting architects’ glazing requirements.
World Wildlife Fund – UK Headquarters, Living Planet Centre
(Photograph copyright: Morley von Sternberg)
Sustainability at Kawneer
At Kawneer, sustainability is defined as using our values to build financial success, environmental excellence, and social responsibility through partnerships in order to deliver net long-term benefits to our shareowners, employees, customers, suppliers, and the communities in which we operate. We are dedicated to developing high performance, sustainable buildings.
Aluminium is attained from the natural resource bauxite through an electrolytic process. The bauxite is mined, only 5km2 at a time and all the flora and fauna indigenous to the area are replaced through a rehabilitation process.
Kawneer is committed to using recycled billets where possible. Because aluminium does not rust, decay, or lose its quality, it can be recycled repeatedly without loss of properties.
Alcoa continues to design new processes with energy conservation and waste minimisation as our long-term goal.
Efficient use of resources and effective control of energy, landfilled waste and water drive improved environmental performance.
Energy Intensity - Global Primary Products
Alcoa is committed to reducing its energy requirements.
(Gigajoules per metric ton of aluminium produced)
The energy intensity values have been adjusted to reflect the net energy value after energy sold to the grid, which is a change in the energy intensity calculation methodology used in the past. This impacted the 2005 baseline and years forward.
Alcoa’s current strategic target is a 75% reduction in landfilled waste by 2020 and 100% by 2030 from a 2005 baseline.
In 2014 we saw a very slight increase in landfilled waste primarily due to waste generated during construction activities in our rolling mill in Tennessee, USA. Since 2005 we have achieved a 23% reduction.
(Thousands of metric tons)
Alcoa’s goal is a 25% reduction in average freshwater-use intensity by 2020 and 30% by 2030 from a 2005 baseline.
In 2014 our intensity was 21% lower than the baseline but slightly higher than 2013 despite a 3% decline in total freshwater use during the year. Drought conditions in Jamaica and higher production and cooling needs at our Mosjøen location in Norway were the primary factors behind the intensity increase.
(Cubic meters of water per metric ton of production)
Water usage from power utilities is excluded from the intensity metric, which reflects only our manufacturing operations. Because of the variability in the basis for measuring production in our businesses, these values represent a metric calculated by taking each business intensity measurement indexed proportionally for production.
Kawneer Sustainability Approach