Sustainability is now a buzzword in a wide range of industries as the world copes with the climate change. Alcoa, as a global aluminum product maker, made sustainability one of the top priorities in its corporate strategy.
Its rich experience, technology and know-how in energy conservation, water management, emission, effluents & waste control, biodiversity protection and material use & recycling are now playing a crucial role in environmental protection and sustainable development.
Alcoa's environment overview
Operating in a manner that protects and promotes the health and well-being of the environment is one of Alcoa's most important core values. Alcoa has been widely acclaimed by government and non-governmental agencies around the world for its environmental stewardship, and was recognized for four consecutive years at the Davos World Economic Forum as one of the world's three most sustainable companies.
This success has been driven by its people. Its business leaders understand the critical positive role Alcoa's products can play in sustaining our environment. They are also committed to minimizing any possible detrimental environmental impacts of our products, processes and operations on our environment. Alcoa's strategic direction and execution on environmental objectives are supported by more than 500 environmental professionals worldwide, backed by numerous relationships with external experts in areas key to its operations.
In 2001, Alcoa developed an initial set of long-range goals to be achieved by 2020, with routine measurement to track its progress. Alcoa updated these goals in early 2006 as part of a larger initiative to enhance Alcoa's sustainability framework. The goals are intended to be aggressive, requiring innovation and collaboration. Based on progress and the ever-changing needs of global communities in which we operate, these goals will be adjusted as required to continue to drive it in the right direction and show Alcoa's willingness to lead in environmental stewardship. Alcoa has made significant progress against many of its goals from the 1990 or 2000 baseline, such as meeting the 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG) seven years before the 2010 deadline and achieving a 50 percent reduction in land filled waste before the 2007 goal.
The environment and energy are the first to be considered whenever a project is conducted or a plant is operated. Concepts and practices related to energy savings and emissions control in aluminum production which were developed by Alcoa in its 100 years of operation are now being accepted by many Chinese companies. Alcoa has a history of success in environmental protection, emissions reductions and energy saving and is willing and ready to share the knowledge with its Chinese partners. Alcoa's plans for the year 2010 are to increase Aluminum smelting capability by 10 percent through the adoption of new technologies and practices while reducing SO2 emissions by 60 percent, energy usage by 10 percent, GHG by 25 percent and PFC by 80 percent.
It should also be pointed out that aluminum has a unique selling proposition versus all other materials and industries in this regard: the aluminum industry is projected to be GHG neutral by the year 2020, simply by the projected growth of aluminum used in the transportation market (auto, aero, trucking, rail, marine etc). That means the aluminum used in these transportation vehicles results in lower GHG emissions, which are offsetting the GHG created when the material is first produced. Aluminum is the only industry anywhere in the world that can make this claim, which certainly bodes well for the material as concerns on climate change grow each day. Aluminum, and Alcoa, are part of the solution.
In some areas, Alcoa's progress has been and will continue to require hard work. In these cases, Alcoa will be open about its progress and state specific measures aimed at bringing focus to these areas. In 2006, for example, Alcoa focused on the use of fresh water for production and has developed a plan for prioritizing actions that will make meaningful progress. Additional details on this topic will be published in the water section. Alcoa's progress toward reducing mercury emissions continues to prove challenging. Extensive work has been done to better understand the complexities of monitoring the environmental fate of mercury, which is naturally occurring in the bauxite Alcoa processes. Additional information on opportunities to reduce emissions to the atmosphere will be covered in the future section on Emissions, Effluents & Waste.
The foundation of Alcoa's performance continues to be its corporate-level Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) management system, which was certified to the ISO 14001 standard for the third year in a row in 2006. Alcoa was one of the first corporations to obtain this certification.
Alcoa is the world's leading producer and manager of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina facilities, through its growing position in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses to customers.