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2008 — Corporate Governance
Sustainability advisory committee helps Alcoa meet expectations of Canadian society
In Quebec, Canada, a sustainability committee is advising Alcoa’s Primary Metals Canada operations on how best to integrate sustainability to meet the expectations of society.
Formed in 2006, the Sustainability Advisory Committee comprises eight stakeholders representing key perspectives and five Alcoa representatives. The group, which meets approximately five times a year, has held discussions on community support, wealth creation and local procurement, and workforce planning.
“Participation on this committee is very important to me, since it gives me the opportunity to contribute to the concrete application of sustainable development within a company,” said Philippe Bourke, general manager of Quebec National Alliance of Regional Councils for the Environment. “My profession leads me to constantly prompt adherence to and implementation of sustainable development, and this experience with Alcoa becomes an essential instrument in doing that.”
Based on the committee’s input, Alcoa’s Canadian operations have initiated numerous initiatives for each area of focus through early 2008.
Established a community support policy.
Included a socio-economic analysis for each community and three-to-five-year priorities in the 2008 objectives.
Establishing 2008 community support objectives for each facility in conjunction with the local advisory committees.
Taking a leadership role by presenting a play on sustainability on Earth Day 2008 and eventually in each of the regions of Quebec.
Wealth Creation and Local Procurement
Providing structure technical support to small- and medium-sized businesses.
Developing a contest for the creation of new ecoproducts using aluminum.
Developing an approach to encourage sustainability progress within the supplier base.
Creating a supplier selection process that incorporates sustainability criteria.
Developing a succession strategy to ensure ability to hire the right people in a timely fashion.
Piloting a succession planning approach at the Baie-Comeau facility that involves the local community.
“Small- and medium-sized businesses represent the driving force of the community, and it is in our best interest to work on ensuring sustainable development,” said Michael Blanchette, panel member and small business owner. “If my presence on the committee can help put forward these values in terms of environmental and social responsibility among suppliers, then I can say mission accomplished.”
Both Blanchette and Bourke feel participating on the committee has allowed them to see different sides of Alcoa.
“I didn’t know very much about Alcoa except for its great contribution to the development of regions in Quebec,” said Bourke. “I had no idea of the high level of rigor and earnestness it applied to its approach to sustainable development. It is certainly a forerunner in this area.”
Adds Blanchette, “I am discovering how Alcoa is open to the problems of the community and how the people of Alcoa are concerned about the well-being of the people around them and are transparent and respectful with all of the participants. I hope the committee’s long-term impact will embody lasting values that will rest on clear targets, allowing us to measure the progress of sustainable development between Alcoa and our society.”