The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative takes account of business ethics, ecology and social criteria across the entire aluminum value chain in order to achieve constant improvements. The focus is on the efficient and economical use of the material, in order to save valuable resources and limit the demand for primary aluminum. Furthermore, the environmental impact of the extraction of bauxite and processing of the material is to be reduced. The ASI also puts the spotlight on the people who are part of the aluminum supply chain. Its members are responsible for, among other things, respecting human rights across the value chain, and they work to produce joint solutions and measure for complying with these rights. For example, representatives of indigenous peoples who live close to the bauxite mines are an established part of the organizational structure of the ASI. A dialog with labor union representatives also plays an important part.
The supply chain for aluminum comprises several pre-suppliers stages. The processes of implementing ASI standards at all levels and monitoring compliance with them are correspondingly complex. Dirk Gross-Loheide, Board Member for Procurement and IT at AUDI AG, says “We are responsible for all of the people who are part of our supply chain. To future generations we owe respectful treatment of natural resources. Membership of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative is of enormous help to us in living up to this responsibility. Resource efficiency is the key to an industry that is fit for the future.”
The importance of aluminum for Audi
Since the 1990s aluminum has been in use at Audi as a key material for bodywork and chassis systems. In the context of the Aluminum Closed Loop, the company contributes to usage of this energy-intensive material in the most efficient possible way. The scrap that arises in press plants is sorted and returned to the suppliers. These suppliers can use the valuable secondary material for producing new sheet aluminum and therefore require less primary aluminum. The Chain of Custody certificate of the ASI attests that the Audi press plants process correctly sorts and tracks certified material – and in consequence the seal of quality is also maintained for the scrap. In 2017 this Aluminum Closed Loop was initiated at the Neckarsulm site, and in 2020 the press plant in Ingolstadt followed. From 2021 onwards the Audi site at Győr will apply the procedure. In terms of the carbon balance, in 2019 alone approximately 150,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions were avoided in this way.
Audi and the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative: cooperation since 2013
Since 2013 Audi has taken part in the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative, which now has 143 members in the aluminum industry. The common aim of the stakeholders is to make aluminum production as sustainable as possible and to achieve greater transparency in the aluminum sector. In 2018 Audi was the world’s first automobile maker to be awarded the Performance Standard certificate of the ASI. This is an attestation by the Initiative that Audi sustainably manufactures and assembles the aluminum components of the battery housing for the Audi e-tron series according to the requirements of the ASI. For this purpose, independent inspectors carried out audits at the sites in Győr, Neckarsulm and Brussels. The next step is now the supply of the material between the process partners in accordance with the regulations. At the end of 2020 Audi received the seal of approval of the ASI for the process chain of aluminum at the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm sites, and more sites are already scheduled to follow in 2021.
For further information, see https://aluminium-stewardship.org/