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2011 — Environment
Alcoa and the Manicouagan–Uapishka Biosphere Reserve (RMBMU) present their model of a fruitful partnership at UNESCO
Representatives of the Baie-Comeau aluminum smelter and the Manicouagan–Uapishka Biosphere Reserve (RMBMU) were invited to UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris to take part in a meeting of experts focused on metallurgical activities conducted on the territories of the Biosphere Reserves. The meeting was held last February 15 as part of the activities of the Ecological Sciences Division of the Man and Biosphere Program.
Alcoa was invited to present to the international experts gathered for the occasion its structured approach to community relations in the areas where its facilities are located, including the advantages, for a corporation, of taking the path leading to sustainable development.
One of the objectives of this meeting was to see how the example of this partnership could serve to structure ties with the corporations present within the territories throughout the world designated as “Biosphere Reserves.”
Alcoa shared its methods in the area of community involvement, notably the mechanisms implemented to maintain an ongoing dialogue and thus integrate into the company’s actions the priorities identified by the community, whether these concern the local initiatives we support or the smelter’s activities and projects.
Since the RMBMU receives financial support from the Alcoa Foundation, namely for the production of an Atlas in 2009, the aspect of Alcoa’s and the Alcoa Foundation’s capacity to support local structuring initiatives was also broached. However, the ongoing dialogue between the company and its local partners was the subject that most interested the representatives of the 15 or so participating countries.
Furthermore, Alcoa and the RMBMU explained the mutual advantages stemming from their partnership in various projects. “For Alcoa, operating facilities at the heart of a world biosphere reserve constitutes a challenge, since expectations are that much higher. On the other hand, it is an opportunity to show that we are resolute in our commitment to achieve sustainable development and to profit from the expertise of the RMBMU as it accompanies us in this exercise,” underlined Luc Bourassa, director, Human Resources, Communications and ABS at the Alcoa Baie-Comeau Smelter who represented Alcoa at this occasion.
“When an organization such as UNESCO asks Alcoa to present its approach in the area of community involvement,” added Pierre Morin, President of GPP Canada, “it sets out how important this issue is to us and indicates to some extent that we are going about it the right way. We are happy and proud to have participated in this meeting, and we hope that our partnership with the RMBMU may inspire other similar ties.”