European aluminium industry strongly improves its environmental performance

Date

21 Feb 2018
Brussels, 21 February 2018 – The European aluminium industry continues to greatly improve its environmental performance by substantially reducing its carbon intensity across the entire aluminium value chain. This is the main outcome of its new Environmental Profile Report, released today by European Aluminium.
 
Commenting on the findings, Gerd Götz, Director General of European Aluminium, said: “The report demonstrates that the industry is delivering on its aim to realise the industry’s greenhouse gas reduction potential towards 2050 as set out in the Sustainability Roadmap Towards 2025. Aluminium production in Europe now leads the world in most aspects of low-carbon production. For instance, the carbon intensity of European primary aluminium production is approximately three times lower than in China, which is the world’s largest producer of primary aluminium.”
 
Key findings from the report include:
 
  • The carbon intensity of primary aluminium production in Europe decreased by 21% versus 2010 and by 55% versus 1990.
  • The carbon intensity of the primary aluminium production in Europe is approximately 7kgCO2/e per kg of aluminium produced compared to a global average of 18kgCO2/e per kg of aluminium and a Chinese average of 20kgCO2e/kg.
  • There is a strong decrease of the carbon intensity of semi-fabrication processes in Europe: the carbon intensity for the aluminium rolling mill process decreased by 25% since 2010 and the carbon intensity for the extrusion process decreased by 11%.
  • The carbon intensity of process scrap recycling (remelting) in Europe decreased by 9% since 2010.

 

The environmental impact of the primary aluminium production has decreased significantly while the environmental performance of the primary aluminium consumed in Europe has remained stable. There has also been a substantial improvement in the environmental performance of the semi-fabrication processes (rolling and extrusion) and the recycling industry in Europe.
 
The report covers the environmental impact of the entire aluminium value chain in Europe, from metal supply - primary and recycling - to semi-fabrication - rolling, foil and extrusion(1). In addition to providing accurate and reliable data on aluminium industry’s environmental performance in Europe, it also includes Life-Cycle Inventory (LCI) datasets for the key process steps essential for calculating the environmental impact of products using aluminium. These new datasets, based on 2015 production data from European Aluminium’s members, update the 2010 versions.
 
European Aluminium promotes lifecycle-thinking and has been monitoring the environmental performance of the industry for more than 20 years. Progress is monitored through regular data collection and public reporting. “We believe the Environmental Profile Report is a beacon of best practice for quantifying how the various elements within the supply chain perform throughout their life cycle and how our industry is advancing its contribution to a more sustainable, circular economy. We hope our datasets help stakeholders make informed decisions and can serve inspirational templates for other industries in measuring progress towards similar goals,” concludes Götz.
 
The executive summary of the Environmental Profile Report is available on European Aluminium’s website.
 
 

(1) The report provides seven environmental datasets covering the entire aluminium value chain production in Europe from primary aluminium production to the aluminium refining process from pre-or post-consumer scrap to casting alloy ingot ready for delivery to the user. Production manufacturing of final products and the use phase of the products are not included in this assessment, as these datasets are more specific to aluminium customers. The geographical area covered by European Aluminium’s datasets is composed of the 28 EU Member States and the EFTA countries (Norway, Switzerland and Iceland) unless otherwise stated.

 

 

About European Aluminium

European Aluminium, founded in 1981 and based in Brussels, is the voice of the aluminium industry in Europe. We actively engage with decision makers and the wider stakeholder community to promote the outstanding properties of aluminium, secure growth and optimise the contribution our metal can make to meeting Europe’s sustainability challenges. Through environmental and technical expertise, economic and statistical analysis, scientific research, education and sharing of best practices, public affairs and communication activities, European Aluminium promotes the use of aluminium as a material with permanent properties that is part of the solution to achieving sustainable goals, while maintaining and improving the image of the industry, of the material and of its applications among their stakeholders. Our 80+ members include primary aluminium producers; downstream manufacturers of extruded, rolled and cast aluminium; producers of recycled aluminium and national aluminium associations are representing more than 600 plants in 30 European countries. Aluminium products are used in a wide range of markets, including automotive, transport, high-tech engineering, building, construction and packaging.
 
For further information, please contact: communications@european-aluminium.eu, +32 2 775 63 63