The biggest aluminum producers are discussing the introduction of a “green” trademark for the lightweight metal that could be sold at a premium and encourage carbon footprint reductions among rivals, United Co. Rusal’s deputy chief executive officer said.
“Since many of consumers, such as the car industry, are working on becoming more nature-friendly, the issue of clean aluminum output becomes important,” Oleg Mukhamedshin said in an interview last week. As an example, “even if a car with an aluminum body enables lower CO2 emissions, more pollution could have been caused by the company producing that metal, which damages the idea of clean vehicles.”
Automakers including Ford Motor Co. are turning to aluminum as they seek to reduce vehicle weights to meet stringent fuel-efficiency requirements. In 2014, Rexam Plc approved a program to cut its cans’ carbon footprint by 25 percent through 2020, the packaging company said in a 2015 report. Energy comprises most of the aluminum industry’s costs, and carbon dioxide generated by fossil fuels such as coal makes up almost 60 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency.
“The idea discussed by the aluminum industry is to introduce some kind of aluminum trademark, which can be granted to clean-metal products, but they will be sold at a premium,” Mukhamedshin said. “The issue is being discussed with clients as well. This may spur the industry to cut emissions.” Mukhamedshin didn’t elaborate on the size of the premium.
Rusal is not alone with this idea. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc., along with Norsk Hydro ASA and some aluminum consumers including Rexam and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Plc, set up the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative in 2012 to address industry-specific sustainability challenges, including emissions.
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