The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative
10 March 2016 by Fiona Solomon
‘Sustainability’ now interfaces with business on a number of fronts, including operational performance, regulatory compliance, commercial relationships and broader reputation. Governments, leading companies, NGOs and consumers are increasingly focused on how companies should approach sustainability issues in their own businesses and supply chains. Increasingly, business approaches need to be closely integrated with broader regulatory frameworks and a range of voluntary initiatives.
The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) is a standards setting and certification organisation that aims to recognise and foster the responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of aluminium. As a member-based, global initiative, ASI is the result of producers, users and stakeholders in the aluminium value chain coming together to build consensus on ‘responsible aluminium’.
Key sustainability issues for the aluminium sector arise throughout the value chain, including the social and environmental impacts of mining, the energy intensity of smelting in the context of global climate change, management of bauxite residue and refining wastes, and life cycle approaches to metals used in increasingly complex products.
ASI is developing an independent third party certification program to ensure sustainability and human rights principles are increasingly embedded in aluminium production, use and recycling. In doing so, we continue to seek engagement with commercial entities and stakeholders in the aluminium value chain from across the world.
The ASI certification program will be based on two standards – the ASI Performance Standard and the ASI Chain of Custody Standard. Companies in every part of the aluminium value chain can join ASI as a member, and seek certification against ASI Standards.
ASI’s Performance Standard is grouped into three main sections: governance, environment and social. It is applicable to all stages of aluminium production and transformation, specifically: bauxite mining, alumina refining, primary aluminium production, semi-fabrication, material conversion, and refining and re-melting of recycled scrap, as well as material stewardship criteria relevant to downstream users of aluminium. A Chain of Custody standard is also in development, to link responsible production with responsible sourcing and support increased emphasis on sustainability in procurement practices.
Throughout 2016 and 2017 ASI will develop and test its assurance model for the ASI Performance Standard and the Chain of Custody Standard. After the development and testing phase is successfully completed, the certification program will commence.
Following the launch of its certification program, ASI will apply for membership of the ISEAL Alliance. The ISEAL Alliance is an association of leading voluntary international standard-setting and certification organisations that focus on social and environmental issues and collaborate to build good practice and international recognition for their programs.
While the aluminium industry, like many commodities, is facing challenging market conditions, sustainability challenges and drivers are only expected to increase in the coming years. ASI thus takes a forward looking view to prepare its certification program and members for the future, where sustainability considerations will be expected to be fully integrated into all corporate and operational decision-making.
ASI members benefit from being part of a collaborative group of diverse stakeholders in the aluminium value chain, working to directly contribute to enhancing sustainability in the global aluminium sector. Members have the opportunity to:
- Create more impact on environmental and social issues collectively
- Bring transparency to supply chains and manage supply chain risks
- Enhance reputation through proactive efforts to implement and support standards
- Support compliance with relevant regulatory requirements
- Reduce duplication of efforts and costs through standardisation
- Build partnerships and relationships across the public, private and voluntary sectors
ASI welcomes new members from all around the world and from every aspect of the aluminium supply chain, as well as civil society groups, industry associations and other supporting organisations.
Find out more at: http://aluminium-stewardship.org/about-asi/join-asi/