Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced today that it is has received Cradle to Cradle® Certification – Silver for its primary aluminum. Cradle to Cradle® Certification is an independent environmental certification process for materials and products that assesses the total impact of a product on human health and the environment. The announcement was made at the Aluminium 2010 show in Essen, Germany.
Alcoa is the first aluminum company to receive Cradle to Cradle® Certification from MBDC (McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry), a global sustainability consulting and product certification firm that developed the Cradle to Cradle® concept in 1995.
“Cradle to Cradle® Certification is landmark recognition of the uniquely sustainable characteristics of Alcoa aluminum,” said Kevin Anton, Chief Sustainability Officer for Alcoa. “Through this certification, Alcoa can assure its customers the company is continuing to improve the sustainability of our metal from initial production through use, and then recycling.”
Cradle to Cradle® Certification is a multi-attribute eco-label that assesses a product’s safety to humans and the environment and design for future life cycles. Unlike single-attribute eco-labels, MBDC’s certification program takes a comprehensive approach to evaluating the sustainability of a product and the practices employed in manufacturing the product. The materials and manufacturing practices of each product are assessed in five categories: Material Health, Material Reutilization, Renewable Energy Use, Water Stewardship, and Social Responsibility.
“Alcoa is showing an increasing commitment to making its products safe, healthy and recyclable," said Jay Bolus, Vice President, Technical Operations for MBDC. “We congratulate Alcoa on its Silver certification and look forward to continuing to work with the company to help it create a positive impact as an organization.”
Process improvements Alcoa has made in the way it produces aluminum – from reductions in energy use, deploying efficient water management systems, and recycling – helped earn the certification, and contribute to the Vision 2050 goals of reaching a sustainable global society in which nine billion people live well and within the limits of the planet. Alcoa has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions 44% since 1990 while doubling capacity. In the last 10 years the company has reduced its process water use by 29% and landfill waste by 70%. About 63% of Alcoa’s smelting operations worldwide are powered with renewable hydroelectric power.
“Customers who use Alcoa’s aluminum start their product development with a Cradle to Cradle sustainable material,” said Tim Reyes, President of Alcoa Materials Management. “They are assured that when they buy aluminum from Alcoa, they are making a smart environmental choice.”
Aluminum is infinitely recyclable, and nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in use today. Recycling aluminum uses 95% less energy and produces 95% less greenhouse gas emissions than making metal from new materials.