Responsible stewardship of the environment begins with reducing our impact on the planet. Less really is more – less emissions, less waste, less use of resources. That’s why the Alcoa Foundation is working with internationally recognized non-governmental organizations and academic institutions on a broad range of reduction initiatives.
Make an Impact
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Make an Impact is our initiative to help thousands of Alcoa families and neighbors save both the planet and money. With its leading interactive website and workshops across communities where Alcoa operates, the Make an Impact program helps people calculate their carbon footprint and take steps to reduce it.
We developed this flagship program in 2006 through a partnership with Greening Australia and launched it across the United States in 2008 with the help of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. In 2012, the program expanded to Brazil, in partnership with Akatu.
For the past two years Alcoa facilities across the U.S. have also engaged local middle schools in the Make an Impact: Change Our 2morrow school challenge. In 2012, more than 9,000 participants completed the online carbon calculator and new energy-saving pledge list. Participants committed to take actions that would save more than 20 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. At the conclusion of the challenge, six schools in Connecticut, Michigan, Texas and Washington won grants from Alcoa Foundation. The Gilbert School in Winsted, Connecticut was named the grand-prize winner and received a $5,000 grant for engaging the most students, teachers, families and community members.
Aid for sustainable community development
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In partnership with the Institute for International Education and numerous research universities, the Alcoa Foundation has established the Responsible Water Resources Management for Sustainable Development Program in Samara, Russia. The goal is to create practical and actionable solutions by bringing together new approaches in research with improved water management and water pollution cleanup practices. Key scientists will research the impact of industrial wastewater discharge, assess the best cleaning technologies and methods to minimize environmental impact.
Raising public and governmental awareness of the environmental impact and social risks caused by industrial wastewater pollution is a key aspect of the program. The initiative will support improvement of water management at the federal and regional levels through a comprehensive outreach effort including seminars and conferences for appropriate government officials and decision-makers. At the municipal level, people will be engaged through web portal topic discussions, webinars and by reporting on the program’s findings.
Utilities of the future
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Alcoa Foundation is partnering with World Resources Institute to support a transition from the fossil fuel-dominated electricity systems of today to the more responsive, resilient, and cleaner renewable energy dominated power grid of tomorrow. The goal is to find practical solutions that enable renewable energy to make a larger contribution to the grid.
We’re working to develop renewable energy test projects and shine a light on persistent market barriers that stand in the way of adoption. Innovative financing and procurement models for renewable energy will be piloted and accelerated into the market with the support of strategically selected industrial buyer groups.
Better Buildings, Better Plants
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The Energy Department’s Better Buildings, Better Plants Program is a national partnership initiative that aims to drive a 25 percent reduction in industrial energy intensity over 10 years. The Better Plants Program offers companies national recognition and support to achieve their energy goals through a suite of educational, training, and technical resources.
Alcoa has expanded its Barberton, Ohio, plant to include a 50,000-square-foot aluminum recycling facility. The new recycling facility takes chips and solids from the existing Barberton plant, as well as from Alcoa’s Cleveland forging plant, and recycles them into aluminum billets. The project, which cost $21 million to implement, will result in annual cost savings of about 25 percent. Additionally, co-location of the recycling facility with an existing production facility has led to dramatic reductions in transportation needs, leading to a cut in transportation-related energy use of about 90 percent.