On Monday 9th December, Rio Tinto Aluminium hosted the Japanese Sustainability Forum. The forum was supported by the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), of which Rio Tinto is a founding member. The event provided an overview of ASI and their mission to collaboratively foster responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of aluminium.
Opening remarks were made by Rio Tinto’s VP for Aluminium Sales and Marketing, Tolga Egrilmezer, who spoke about the increasing demand for sustainably-produced products, and the key role that responsible aluminium can play. He also discussed Rio Tinto’s leadership in this area including its position as the first company worldwide to receive ASI certification, and its sale of the first batch of zero-direct-carbon aluminium produced by its Elysis joint venture to Apple the previous week.
Deputy Director-General from Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, Yutaka Matsuzawa, spoke on Japan’s focus on the “4Rs” of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, plus Renewables, for a sustainable economy. Soon after representative speakers from various areas in the industry spoke on their commitment to ASI. The event was conducted in both English and Japanese.
Chief Executive Officer of ASI, Fiona Solomon, provided a detailed outlook on the purpose and objectives of ASI. ASI covers the complete aluminium value chain and their performance standards include environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors as they see sustainability as going beyond just traditional ‘environmental measures’. She noted the partnership between Nespresso and Rio Tinto to use 100% ASI certified aluminium in coffee capsules by 2020. This showcased how two companies on opposite ends of the supply chain can collaborate for the same purpose.
Several ASI members were involved in the agenda, including representatives from Novelis Inc, DSW Automotive, Nippon Tetra Pak and Nestle Nespresso. Recurring themes included the importance of recycling, a closed-loop system and the importance of collaboration between industry players. Though the companies were from different markets they shared a common message, “aluminium is the key for a sustainable future”.
The forum continued with a final panel discussion including all speakers where they discussed the importance of shifting how the industry works. Instead of behaving in fragmented ways, industry partners must come together and collaborate to showcase the importance of aluminium for a sustainable future. Additionally, they highlighted the potential of the Japanese Aluminium Industry to begin taking steps toward sustainability.
There was an opportunity to ask questions throughout the forum. The event concluded with a networking cocktail to socialise and interact. Thank you to Rio Tinto for hosting the Japanese Sustainability Forum.