The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) was initiated in 2012 to foster greater sustainability and transparency throughout our industry. Spearheaded by several industry players, the ASI is a non-profit initiative that seeks to mobilise a broad base of stakeholders to establish and promote responsible leading practices, across the aluminium value chain, in business ethics; environmental performance; and social performance.
The ASI’s founding companies include Amag, Amcor Flexibles,Constantia Flexibles Constellium, Nespresso, Rio Tinto Alcan, and Tetra Pak.
Context: the challenge and the opportunity
Sustainable practices are key to the long-term success of any industry. The aluminium industry is no exception. Whether you are an end-user of aluminium products or operate upstream or downstream in the industry, you know first-hand how versatile, lightweight and recyclable aluminium is. The aluminium industry is committed to maximising the value that its product and activities generate while minimising their negative impacts. Working together to improve the industry’s performance, full transparency is of utmost importance for all stakeholders and to enhance the reputation of the industry and its long-term license to operate, grow and sell.
What is the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative?
End of 2009, a global group of aluminium industry stakeholders joined forces to assess industry-specific sustainability challenges, opportunities and needs.
Initial discussions were based on the belief that:
- Aluminium is part of the solution for a sustainable future. It is a unique metal; strong, durable, flexible, impermeable, light-weight and recyclable, to name a few properties.
- The aluminium industry has a vital role to play in successfully addressing the sustainability challenge. To do its part, the industry needs to minimize environmental, social and economic negatives and maximize the positives across the value chain – delivering a clear net benefit to society.
The resulting report from this assessment —the Responsible Aluminium Scoping Phase Main Report, Track Record — summarises the industry sustainability-related risks and opportunities. It also underscores the need for a transparent worldwide multi-stakeholder approach to complement existing sustainability programmes throughout the aluminium industry. Stakeholders include the aluminium industry, civil society, policy makers, retailers and end-users of aluminium products. This report gave birth to the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI).
ASI‘s objective: one Responsible Aluminium Standard
The ASI’s main objective is to develop a Responsible Aluminium Standard (Standard) that defines the practices required to drive ethical, environmental and social performance standards and improvements across the aluminium value chain. Using a transparent multi-stakeholder consultation process, the ASI will build on the valuable work completed by organisations such as the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), European Aluminium Association (EAA) and the Aluminium Association (AA) to develop a single unifying Standard. This Standard will set excellence goals and push better performance across the industry.
The ASI’s founding members view the Standard as a tool for improving the overall sustainability performance and reputation of the aluminium industry. Specifically, the Standard will:
- enable the aluminium industry to demonstrate responsibility and provide independent, credible and verifiable information regarding practices and improvements in ethical, social and environmental performance.
- reinforce and promote consumer and stakeholder confidence in aluminium products.
- enable the identification of suppliers and materials throughout the supply chain based on both their sustainability and technical performance.
- reduce reputational risks concerning aluminium and aluminium industry players.
- address the expressed needs by end-use customers and consumers for traceability of aluminium throughout the value chain.
The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative is currently coordinated by IUCN (Global Business and Biodiversity Programme).
The Responsible Aluminium Standard
The Standard will encompass:
- upstream activities (from bauxite mining to primary metal).
- downstream industries (including metal transformation and finishing companies, aluminium users, remelters as well as the operating and sourcing practices of companies that produce metal from post-consumer scrap).
- a chain of custody (CoC) system (excluding aspects related to the use and waste phases of products containing aluminium) to ensure accountability and credibility of the Standard.
The ASI will not initially address aspects related to the use phase and waste logistics of used products containing aluminium, as the application and conditions of use are extremely application-specific.
The Standard-setting process will be based on the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling (ISEAL) standard-setting code, which establishes rules for legitimate and effective standard-setting processes.
The company PE International-Five Winds is currently developing the draft 0 of the standard that will be issued by end of 2012. This draft 0 will open the floor for the stakeholder consultation process according the ISEAL standard setting code.
ASI is opening its Industry Council to any industry partner of the aluminium value chain willing to participate in the development of the standard and showing sustainability commitments and records.
Read more about the presentation of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative during the IUCN World Conservation Congress: www.aluminium-stewardship.org/media