London-based Rio Tinto has announced it is the first company in the world to receive certification under the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), the highest internationally recognized standard for environmental, social and governance practices across the aluminum life cycle of production, use and recycling.
ASI’s certification program for the end-to-end global aluminum production chain focuses on responsible production, sourcing, and stewardship. By using ASI-certified aluminum, Rio Tinto says manufacturers and end users will now be able to demonstrate their commitment to a sustainable supply chain.
ASI’s Performance Standard covers critical issues for the entire aluminum value chain, including greenhouse gas emissions, waste management, material stewardship, biodiversity and human rights. Its Chain of Custody (CoC) Standard links responsible production with responsible sourcing and thus increases the emphasis on sustainability issues in procurement. Implementation of both standards should see the first ASI Aluminium available from 2018 or 2019, according to the initiative.
Rio Tinto Aluminum Chief Executive Alf Barrios says, “We expect responsible aluminum production will become increasingly important for our customers and the consumers who buy their products. Rio Tinto is proud to take this pioneering step as the first company to achieve ASI certification, which continues our industry leadership on sustainability and responsible production as we work closely with customers to meet their needs. We launched the first certified low carbon aluminum, RenewAl, in 2016 and produce some of the best quality, lowest carbon footprint aluminum in the world at our Canadian smelters.”
Barrios continues, “Responsibly produced aluminum has a key role to play in driving human progress, as a material of choice to reduce carbon and increase recycling across a wide range of end products from food packaging to buildings, planes, cars, mobile phones and computers.”
The certification follows an independent third-party audit and covers a range of operations across the aluminum value chain, from bauxite mining to alumina refining, aluminum smelting, the creation of value-added products, transformation and recycling and associated activities.
Rio Tinto’s five aluminum smelters, the Vaudreuil refinery, casting and spent potlining treatment centers and associated infrastructure, such as power, port and railway facilities, in Quebec have been certified, along with the Gove bauxite mine in Australia.
Rio Tinto says it will work with the ASI on audits and certifications for other sites in its global aluminum business.
Tolga Egrilmezer, Rio Tinto aluminum vice president of sales and marketing and an ASI board member, says, “As a founding member of the ASI, Rio Tinto has helped to drive responsible production standards for the aluminum industry alongside customers and a broad range of stakeholders. We expect to see growing demand for ASI certified products from end users and customers seeking to demonstrate a responsible supply chain.”
Daniel Weston, chair of the ASI board and Nespresso head of legal and corporate affairs, adds, “Rio Tinto and Nespresso were early to recognize the need for a standard for responsible aluminum, so we are delighted to see Rio Tinto becoming the first company in the world to sell ASI-certified aluminum. The development of the ASI has taken many years of commitment and hard work by many parties and this first certification is an important milestone, pioneering the adoption of these new standards and leading the way for the entire industry. At Nespresso, we are looking forward to sourcing ASI-certified aluminum as additional proof of our deep-seated commitment to sustainability.”
Josef Schön, Audi AG’s senior manager of strategic corporate planning and sustainability, says, “Being a pioneer in automotive lightweight construction, aluminum has always been of great importance for Audi. With the transition to electric cars, it will gain even higher relevance. To ensure that aluminum is produced in the most sustainable way, we engaged ourselves in ASI from the beginning. Audi is therefore very pleased the first upstream ASI members like Rio Tinto are now implementing the standard in the real world. We are sure this will encourage others to follow, having a measurable social and environmental impact and creating further momentum for sustainability.”
Rio Tinto is a global leader in aluminum, operating large-scale, high-quality bauxite mines and alumina refineries and some of the world’s most modern aluminum smelters.
ASI is a global, multistakeholder, nonprofit standards-setting and certification organization. It works toward responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of aluminum following an entire value chain approach. To this end, ASI launched its Performance Standard and Chain of Custody Standard in December 2017. The group’s more than 60 members include leading civil society organizations, companies with activities in bauxite mining, alumina refining, aluminum smelting, semifabrication, product and component manufacturing, as well as consumer and commercial goods, including the automotive industry, construction and packaging, as well as industry associations and other supporters.