"Sustainability" and "green aluminum" arent just
catchphrases; theyre critical to the aluminum
industrys future success, one Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.
Aluminum has a "wonderful growth
story" thanks to trends like lightweighting in vehicles and the
push for more environmentally friendly buildings, Jerome
Fourmann, technical services manager at the Montreal-based
"Sustainability matters for our
industry and ... the entire supply chain," he said. "So we
dont want the growth story to be tainted by a
reputational challenge or by materials (that) would do
something better than we do."
That means the aluminum industry
has to act responsibility and transparently in its dealings
with both consumers and communities and not allow "bad players"
to hurt its public image, Fourmann said March 15 at the
Aluminum Extruders Councils annual meeting and leadership
conference, citing a 2010 reservoir breach in Hungary that
devastated parts of the country.
While the sector promotes the
benefits of aluminum use, it must also work to be more
transparent about sourcing and production costs, Fourmann said.
"We are collectively facing the perception of the mass public
... and are increasingly challenged by NGOs (nongovernmental
organizations) and civil society to give the complete story,"
But the story is in many
respects a positive one, Fourmann said, ticking off the
benefits of aluminum, including recyclability and reduced
emissions. Rio Tinto Alcan sources approximately 94 percent of
its power requirements from low-emission sources such as
hydroelectricity, he said.
Besides, going green is hardly a
drag on the bottom line, Fourmann said. Increasing energy
efficiency, for example, shows that "sustainability goes
together with profit," he said.