We can only expect to grow and prosper with the support of the communities where our smelters are located; and when an issue arises, it is easier to find a solution with partners than with strangers.
Over the years, we have built meaningful relationships with the main community stakeholders in the economic, environmental, educational, agricultural, political and health sectors of the communities in which we operate. Initial engagement with local stakeholders was developed organically, a process formalized in the last decade with the Alcoa Community Framework, establishing a consistent level of community citizenship for each of our operating locations.
Sustainability Advisory Committee
In 2006, we created this committee to advise GPP Canada on how to integrate the sustainability-related concerns and expectations of Québec society into our activities. One of the first joint achievements of this committee was the development of our Community Support Policy. The committee is comprised of external members from various horizons and from Alcoa management.
The group meets two or three times a year to discuss various sustainability issues they have established as priorities. Alcoa makes a presentation on the chosen subject and participants then comment and make suggestions during a group workshop. These comments and suggestions are analyzed and recommendations made to the Alcoa Canada Global Primary Products’ management team. Alcoa then responds to the committee by presenting the conclusions reached. Community Advisory Committees play a similar role at the local level.
The Sustainability Advisory Committee has covered several material issues over the last years:
- Community support
- Wealth creation
- Succession management
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Employee engagement
- Work/life balance
- The Alcoa Fund for Sustainable Communities
- Sustainable procurement
Information Exchange Committee
Throughout the modernization work at the Baie-Comeau Smelter and the closure of the Söderberg plant, nearby residents were kept informed through this committee.
Community Advisory Committees
They are at the core of Alcoa Canada Global Primary Products’ stakeholder engagement. These committees, active in every operating location, ensure a direct link with main local stakeholders in every major area of activity.
CAC meetings take place two or three times a year. They are an opportunity for our plants to share their progress and discuss material issues or changes in our organization, to help them better understand our reality and provide us with timely advice, while taking stock of the concerns and objectives of local communities. Furthermore, the CACs play an important advisory role in establishing priorities and consensus on which local applications will be recommended to Alcoa Foundation.
Alcoa Sustainable Communities Fund
As part of Alcoa’s agreement for its Québec development plan, signed with the provincial government and announced on November 7, 2011, Alcoa Canada Global Primary Products announced the creation of the Alcoa Sustainable Communities Fund. This fund represents an investment of $1 million annually for 25 years. With this fund, Alcoa aims to increase the quality of life in its host communities, with a particular focus on retaining and attracting young people to these regions through sustainability and educational initiatives. To find out more, go to the Sustainable Communities section.
Discussion group with the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA)
Immediately upon start-up, the Deschambault Smelter established a discussion group with the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA), the local farmers’ union. The meetings, held two to three times a year, ensure a constant flow of information on the results of the environmental analyses conducted in the area neighboring the facility, while providing an opportunity to discuss issues of common interest.
Community Advisory Committee – Bécancour Industrial Park
The Bécancour Smelter joined this committee, originally established by a group of chemical companies from the Bécancour industrial park, a few years ago to strengthen its ties with the local community. The committee, which meets about four times a year, is made up of representatives from area businesses and the community. Local residents present their questions and concerns, which are often related to safety and the environment. In return, the companies share information, commit to actions and disclose their results in a spirit of open collaboration. Because all the parties gain a better understanding of the expectations and interests of others, a number of situations have been quickly resolved without conflict.
Location Community Assessment
Each year, Alcoa Canada locations complete this review of their operations in relation with the community (economic and political environment; business priorities; potential environmental issues; elected officials; key organizations; media leaders; community needs; Alcoa’s reputation; opportunities). Every other year, Alcoa Canada also conducts a survey in Québec to gauge the evolution in the public perception of the company, which issues should be tackled or which opportunity could be seized over coming months.
We also insist on sharing our point of view, year round, via specific forums, such as Chambers of Commerce, professional associations and other key community events. This includes welcoming visitors to our facilities, whether they be the families of our employees or local stakeholders wanting to find out more about our operations.