Committed to Ongoing, Transparent Engagement
Alcoa’s business activities have significant impact on people worldwide. Our stakeholders include shareholders and lenders who provide our financial capital; our customers, suppliers, and employees; the people who live in the communities where we operate; the public agencies that regulate our businesses; and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are interested in what we are doing.
We understand the importance of having transparent and regular dialogue with all of our stakeholders to ensure that we both understand their issues and concerns and provide them with information. View a partial list of our stakeholders. go
Our relationships with stakeholders who are closer to the core of our business activities—customers, suppliers, government agencies, employees, lenders, and shareholders—have formalized, often contractual, and, in some cases, legally mandated channels for engagement. Engagement with other stakeholders—community members, NGOs, educational institutions, policy centers, etc.—is typically much less formalized and requires specific focus and attention to ensure that it is maintained on a regular basis.
We have developed and implemented two specific stakeholder engagement processes to ensure that we are managing our stakeholder responsibilities appropriately. The first process focuses on engagement with the people who live in the communities where we are located. The second is our corporate-level stakeholder engagement process, where we develop relationships with appropriate stakeholders at the regional or global level. This is to ensure that we understand issues and concerns that may transcend a specific location where we operate and that we are creating opportunities for dialogue on those issues and concerns.
We are committed to being transparent. We have benchmark processes in place at many of our locations and are providing open forums for our stakeholders to engage in fact-based dialogue with us on issues. In other locations, our stakeholder processes are maturing. We will continue to focus on these areas during 2014 to ensure that we have benchmark processes in place everywhere we operate.
Community Stakeholder Engagement
The principal way we manage engagement with stakeholders at the community level is through a tool we developed called the Alcoa Community Framework. In 2013, 97% of our manufacturing locations were using the framework.
The framework guides our employees around the world on how to engage in transparent discussions with local stakeholders in the communities where Alcoa operates. Our employees use the framework to align our business practices and NGO partnerships with the priorities of the community. The framework also provides direction on the process for defining stakeholder groups with which to engage and identifies best practices in terms of tools and approaches to ensure that the stakeholder processes are robust and effective.
The community stakeholder process begins with a community assessment and development of a public strategy plan for the location. The location reaches out to various community members using a web-based survey to learn what the major challenges and opportunities are from an environmental, educational, and community-enhancement perspective. This assessment is integral to the development of the public strategy plan, which is linked to Alcoa’s business strategy and updated annually.
The Alcoa Community Framework also provides guidance on effective engagement with public and governmental stakeholders, the media, and employees. Tools developed to assist locations in ensuring effective two-way relationships with all location-related stakeholders include location newsletters, town hall meetings, plant walk-throughs, suggestion systems, recognition systems, family days, community days, and more.
Many of our locations worldwide have formally established community advisory boards (CABs) comprising external community members, NGO leaders, and local officials who are well-versed in the needs of their local communities. CABs meet regularly to provide open, two-way communication channels, ensuring that all challenges and opportunities are discussed and responded to quickly. A location’s CAB is accountable for developing a list of priority issues to be discussed and addressed, with an objective of sharing accountability for outcomes and successes and ensuring that the varying interests are working together to achieve a common, sustainable goal. The locations ensure that the diverse interests and perspectives of their local stakeholders are well represented on a CAB.
Although the intent is for all issues and concerns to be resolved at the location level, occasionally they are taken to the regional or global level within the company for further discussion. Escalation can be to higher-level business unit, regional, resource unit, or corporate leadership depending upon the issue or nature of the risk or opportunity that is being discussed.
In 2013, the following key issues were raised and discussed within location CABs and directly with community members. Some were also escalated through the location process to the regional or global level.
||The community raised concerns relating to the health risks associated with air emissions from the power station and coal mine.
||We contracted an independent company, Environ Australia Pty Ltd, to update a voluntary air dispersion modeling study and a human health risk screening assessment for the Anglesea power station and coal mine. The results from the study showed emission levels from both facilities were safe for residents, employees, and the broader Anglesea community. The report was peer-reviewed by two independent experts, and the results were made available to the community during 2013.
||The current mine plan for the Anglesea Coal Mine will expire in 2016. We worked on a revised mine plan in preparation for submitting a mine extension application to the state government for the next phase of mining beyond 2016.
||We undertook an analysis on the technical, environmental, and economic factors and consideration of social implications for the local community. The analysis resulted in two clear options for the mine—going deeper or increasing the footprint. Going deeper was the preferred option. In preparation for submitting the revised plan to the state government, we consulted with the community. At the end of 2013, the plan was still being prepared for submission, and no decision from the government had been made.
||We initiated a project to secure the future of the Kwinana Refinery and return the operations to profitability.
||During 2013, we conducted a comprehensive engagement process with employees and suppliers to identify cost-cutting measures at the Kwinana Refinery. The majority of these initiatives were implemented in 2013, while the remaining initiatives were formalized in the refinery’s 2014 business plan.
||A residential development has been proposed less than 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) from the Kwinana Refinery’s residue storage area. The majority of the development falls within the Western Australian government’s proposed extension to the refinery’s air quality buffer. We have opposed the development.
||We held discussions with the developer, and we have made our views on the development known to the state government. We also have sought to become a party to proceedings currently before the State Administrative Tribunal.
|In line with the Pinjarra Refinery’s long-term residue management strategy (LTRMS), which was developed in consultation with government and community stakeholders, we applied to rezone 183 hectares (452 acres) of Alcoa-owned farmlands. This would allow for the construction of new water storage areas and the conversion of existing water storage areas to residue drying areas, which are located farthest from the community. The LTRMS process identified that it was in the best interests of the community to keep the residue drying areas as far from the community as possible. Submissions opposing the rezoning were received by the local government, and some local residents raised concerns about the proposal.
||Local community members were provided with accurate information regarding the rezoning application through mailings and paid editorials.
The rezoning was approved by the local and state governments after some minor delays.
|Point Henry, Australia
||Point Henry Smelter’s future remained uncertain.
||In 2013, we kept all stakeholders, including employees, the community, and government, informed that a decision on the smelter’s future would be taken in the first quarter of 2014.
On Feb. 18, 2014, we announced that the smelter will close permanently in August 2014. We implemented an extensive communication plan to advise all stakeholders of the decision and the reasons behind it.
||Community complaints arose regarding visible dust from the bauxite residue storage area on May 29, 2011.
||Following an August 2013 magistrate hearing into the incident, which breached a license condition regarding no visible dust, we were fined US$24,610.
Since the event, we have implemented numerous strategies, including lowering the action threshold for forecasted high-wind events; eliminating the summer/winter response procedure difference; developing an improved sprinkler maintenance strategy; reviewing the level of resources available for event response; reevaluating our sand-pouring methodology; reviewing stockpile design and location; conducting monthly field audits by senior management; engaging an independent consultant to review dust management procedures; and reviewing induction and training procedures.
|Western Australia Mining Operations
||The proximity of the Myara mining operations was a concern for the Yamba community.
||The terms of agreement between Alcoa of Australia (a majority-owned subsidiary of Alcoa) and Keysbrook Hills Community Group (KHCG) relating to proposed mining operations in the Myara area were finalized in 2013. The agreement covers concerns about water, dust, radiation, noise, traffic, the low-impact mining zone (LIMZ), flora, and fauna.
In preparation to commence mining in the LIMZ, we finalized a noise amelioration policy that was accepted by the affected Yamba residents. This policy provides residents with the option to upgrade their properties with improvements that include glazing, insulation, and air conditioning to help alleviate mining operational noise. This project will be ongoing throughout 2014.
Community engagement will continue with the KHCG in 2014 to identify and address any concerns.
|The local community requested an explanation of the impacts of the bauxite mine.
||We held a meeting with the Sustainable Juruti Council, where we presented the plant’s social and environmental initiatives and financial contributions (federal, state, and municipality).
|Poços de Caldas, Brazil
||A broadcast media outlet reported that we use eucalyptus in the rehabilitation of mined areas.
||The broadcast journalist was invited to participate in the Alcoa Opens Its Doors to the Community program to better understand the rehabilitation work done at the location. Where native vegetation was present before mining operations, rehabilitation is done with native vegetation only. No eucalyptus is used in the process.
|Poços de Caldas, Brazil
||The location was idling a smelter potline in August 2013 that would decrease production by 30%.
||Our senior management for the Latin American region and the plant manager met with the mayor of Poços de Caldas to communicate the decision in advance of the public announcement.
|Poços de Caldas, Brazil
||Members of the community and the city’s Planning and Environmental Board mistakenly believed the location’s environmental park was no longer operational.
||Plant representatives met with various stakeholders, including government agencies, universities, and NGOs, to clarify that the park remained operational and to solicit suggestions for a plan to increase the community’s participation in park activities. Partnerships have been established with the Botanical Garden, Sustainable Poços Association, the board of education, and Unifal Federal University.
|The president of the Metallurgical Union of Maranhão expressed concerns about the lack of communication with the company’s directors.
||We implemented a weekly meeting attended by the plant director and the union president.
|The location was idling a smelter potline in August 2013.
||The plant manager met with the mayor of São Luís and the president of the Commercial Association of Maranhão and Industrial Federation of Maranhão (Fiema) to communicate the decision in advance of the public announcement.
||In May 2013, we announced the permanent closure of the two remaining Söderberg potlines at our Baie-Comeau Smelter.
||An internal project team was tasked with managing the closure process in the most efficient and safe manner possible. Members of the Baie-Comeau Community Advisory Board and local media were informed of the decision, and a meeting was held with the city’s mayor. The shutdown was completed successfully in September 2013.
|Baie-Comeau, Deschambault, and Bécancour, Canada
||The three smelters face significantly higher electricity rates when an electricity tariff known as the L-Rate goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. The higher costs would make the smelters uncompetitive.
||We had agreed to the L-Rate prior to the economic downturn. Due to changed market conditions, we began to renegotiate the rate with Hydro- Québec in mid-2013. In October 2013, we advised Hydro-Québec of our intention to reduce our contractual obligations regarding the purchase of power for the three smelters. Negotiations to obtain a competitive power rate that is flexible enough to adapt to changing aluminum market conditions continued in early 2014, with an agreement reached in late February.
||Ongoing monitoring at the Alcoa Fjardaál Smelter found increased fluoride levels in surrounding grass in October 2012.
||Following root-cause analysis, we took several steps to fix related technical issues to reduce the fluoride emission levels. Analysis in late 2013 found that the levels, although within the acceptable limit, were again high.
During 2013, we proactively contacted local farmers to present the assessment outcomes for various indicators, including fluoride levels in the grass and in the bones of nearby sheep; review the potential impact on their livestock; and keep them posted on next steps. The issue was also covered during public meetings organized with the smelter, and it also has been a topic of discussion with local municipality leaders.
Our focus during early 2014 was on better understanding the root causes of the increased fluoride levels. We also implemented an even more stringent and focused production management plan to further improve the situation.
||In late 2012, we implemented a full curtailment of the smelter.
||We kept the plant in restart condition in 2013 and undertook efforts to transfer the smelter to a responsible owner per our commitment. Although an agreement was not reached, we will continue to discuss the sale of the curtailed smelter to viable parties and maintain the plant through June 2014, an additional six months from our previous commitment.
Throughout this process, we offered social support programs to our employees.
||Residents complained that the graves of their family members reinterred in the New Bowens Cemetery are in disrepair. The graves were moved from Old Bowens Cemetery to facilitate the construction of residue storage areas.
||Although the parish council has full responsibility for the cemetery, Jamalco offered to assist with making the necessary repairs and was awaiting the council’s response at the end of 2013.
|Clarendon and Manchester, Jamaica
||There was an issue with outstanding land titles for people who were resettled after the purchase of their land for mining.
||Jamalco has been working with the relevant authorities to deliver outstanding land titles.
- Phases I and II of the New Bowens subdivisions were fully approved, and title transfer to residents continued during 2013. Phase III of New Bowens was fully approved in November 2013, and splinter title application is in progress.
- Drainage issues for the Denbigh Crawle and McGilchrist Palms subdivisions are being addressed, after which the organization will finalize conditions for approval with the parish council.
- The Manchester Parish Council has approved subdivision development for Blenheim. Construction of infrastructure works is expected to start soon.
- Jamalco is awaiting approval for the Bethel Isles subdivision.
|Harmons and Manchester, Jamaica
||Residents expressed concern that the mining operation has not fulfilled a commitment made more than 10 years ago to supply the community with piped water.
||The original solution proposed by Jamalco posed an unacceptable risk because the route initially identified 10 years ago was not based on a detailed engineering solution. As part of a recent study, the consulting resources identified gaps in the initial solution strategy and recommended alternative approaches to delivering the water supply solution to the community. The original design would have resulted in significant losses on pumping capacity, high energy costs to support multiple re-lift stations, the risk of damage to the pipeline, and losses to illegal connections.
Preliminary discussions were held with the local water authority on preferred options. Design work for the new solution was completed in the first quarter of 2014, and construction should begin by the fourth quarter of 2014 pending financial clearance.
||The mining operations received complaints from nearby communities about dust and noise.
||Our Jamalco operations conducted a thorough investigation of the complaints. This included visiting the homes of those citizens who lodged a complaint and placing dust and noise monitors to provide an objective assessment. In situations where levels were excessive, Jamalco took mitigation steps and provided compensation when appropriate.
Periodic meetings of the Mines/Community Complaints Review Committee ensure each complaint is quickly addressed and follow-up actions are taken.
|Avilés, La Coruña, and San Ciprián, Spain
||In 2013, the government of Spain approved new regulations on power matters, including a new interruptibility system for large industrial consumers of energy.
||We have had significant interaction with regional and national government entities, as well as power grid operators and other public authorities regarding repowering our three smelters in Spain.
The new interruptibility system was extended until October 2014.
|San Ciprián, Spain
||Along with our gas supplier and network operator, we received all relevant permits to build a natural gas pipeline to supply natural gas to our alumina refinery in San Ciprián.
||We conducted extensive engagement with regional and national government entities and other public authorities to reach an agreement on the construction of the pipeline, which is underway. Domestic consumers and the agricultural, commercial, and industrial sectors in the area, including Alcoa San Ciprián, will benefit from this new infrastructure, which will be operational in January 2015.
|San Ciprián, Spain
||Residents living near the Alcoa San Ciprián Smelter claimed damages from fluoride in, and the impact on, their crops.
||A court hearing took place in December 2013. Although the smelter is acting in full compliance with all applicable air emission regulations and has decreased fluoride emissions over the years, the court accepted the residents’ arguments and awarded them damages. We will appeal the court’s ruling and believe a review of the facts will show that we are not at fault for the damage claimed. We will continue to defend our position in the appropriate courts.
|Amorebieta and Alicante, Spain, and Castelsarrassin, France
||We announced a strategic review of the three locations.
||In September 2013, we informed our employees, works councils, and stakeholders at the Alicante and Amorebieta (Spain) and Castelsarrasin (France) rolling mills that we have engaged in a strategic review to help determine the way forward and identify how we can maximize the potential of these assets.
The outcome of the process is expected in 2014.
||Community members of Plantation Osembo briefly blocked the haul road at Onoribo to protest against sand transported from the Lelydorp 1 mines without their permission or knowledge.
||Our Suralco operations engaged with the Osembo Plantation Board to clarify that the sand was from the Lelydorp 1 Mines and that permits were not given by Suralco but by the Surinamese government.
Regional- and Corporate-Level Stakeholder Engagement
We have two distinct processes for stakeholder engagement at the regional and corporate levels. The first process is a strategic one, where we identify stakeholders with whom to engage on issues of common interest and concern. We forge partnerships with these stakeholders for shared accountability to achieve specific outcomes or objectives. These relationships generally involve issues that are central to our overall business strategy, such as energy efficiency, climate protection, and resource conservation.
The other stakeholder engagement process is how we respond to issues or concerns that are either escalated from the community stakeholder process or raised directly to the regional or corporate level. Our objective is to engage in open and transparent communication to ensure that we understand the issues, concerns, or opportunities that are being raised and that the dialogue is supported by appropriate and relevant facts and information.
The following issues were handled at the regional or corporate level during 2013.
|Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), the U.S. government, and other stakeholders.
||Alba had filed suit against Alcoa and others alleging that certain Alcoa entities and their agents had engaged in a conspiracy over a period of 15 years to defraud Alba. The complaint further alleged that Alcoa and its employees or agents (1) illegally bribed officials of the government of Bahrain and/or officers of Alba in order to force Alba to purchase alumina at excessively high prices, (2) illegally bribed officials of the government of Bahrain and/or officers of Alba and issued threats in order to pressure Alba to enter into an agreement by which Alcoa would purchase an equity interest in Alba, and (3) assigned portions of existing supply contracts between Alcoa and Alba for the sole purpose of facilitating alleged bribes and unlawful commissions. The complaint alleged that Alcoa and the other defendants violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and committed fraud.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) also began a formal investigation of the Alba matter, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subsequently commenced a concurrent investigation.
|Without admitting any liability, the Alcoa parties entered into a settlement agreement with Alba in October 2012 under which Alcoa World Alumina LLC (AWA) agreed to make a cash payment to Alba of US$85 million payable in two installments, the second of which was paid in October 2013. AWA is a company within Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC), the unincorporated bauxite mining and alumina refining venture between Alcoa Inc. and Alumina Limited. The civil suit against the Alcoa parties was dismissed with prejudice. AWA and Alba have also resumed a commercial relationship.
In January 2014, Alcoa resolved the investigations by the DOJ and the SEC. The settlement with the DOJ was reached with AWA, with AWA pleading guilty to one count of violating the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977, as amended. AWA will pay a total of US$223 million, including a fine of US$209 million payable in five equal installments over four years. AWA paid the first installment of US$41.8 million, plus a one-time administrative forfeiture of US$14 million, in January 2014.
Alcoa Inc. also settled civil charges filed by the SEC in an administrative proceeding relating to the anti-bribery, internal controls, and books and records provisions of the FCPA. Alcoa Inc. agreed to a settlement amount of US$175 million, but will be given credit for the US$14 million one-time forfeiture payment, which is part of the DOJ resolution, resulting in a total cash payment to the SEC of US$161 million payable in five equal installments over four years. The first installment was paid in January 2014.
There was no allegation in the filings by the DOJ and there was no finding by the SEC that anyone at Alcoa Inc. knowingly engaged in the conduct at issue.
The DOJ credited Alcoa for “the substantial cooperation provided to the Department” throughout the investigation. The DOJ also credited Alcoa with launching an independent investigation overseen by a special committee of the Board of Directors and implementing enhanced due diligence reviews of third party agents and consultants.
Similarly, the SEC has agreed that Alcoa “fully cooperated with the staff of the Commission.” The SEC has also acknowledged Alcoa’s extensive compliance efforts, including its comprehensive compliance reviews of anti-corruption policies and procedures and enhancements made to internal controls.
Additional information can be found in the press release announcing the settlement.
|REdUSE, Friends of the Earth Europe, Friends of the Earth, and Global 2000
||In February 2013, the NGOs issued a report on resource efficiency that highlighted the consequences of bauxite mining and specifically mentioned the impact our Juruti Mine would have on Brazil’s indigenous community.
||We sent a letter to the NGOs indicating that the report’s statement that we are going to appropriate 50,000 hectares (123,552 acres) of land from communities living on the banks of Juruti Lake was untrue. Our mining activities will not displace people in the Juruti region since there are no citizens living in the mining areas (and none had been relocated to build or operate the mine).
The Brazilian Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform, the owner of the land, granted the Association of Communities of the Juruti Velho Region (ACORJUVE) a right-to-use concession contract. This gives the association the right to receive royalties from our mining operations, which we pay on a monthly basis. From mine startup in October 2009 through December 2013, we paid approximately US$9.76 million in royalties to ACORJUVE.
||Alcoa, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and other parties have been evaluating remedial alternatives to address elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in fish in the lower Grasse River (adjacent to Alcoa’s Massena plant in New York) for more than 15 years.
||In April 2013, the EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) on the remediation of the Grasse River that was consistent with the agency’s proposed remedial action plan. We began developing the remedial action plan to enable implementation of the remedy.
Additional information can be found in the press release announcing the ROD.
|Residents, county officials, and NGOs
||Alcoa is seeking re-issuance of permits to allow it to continue operating a series of hydroelectric dams along the Yadkin River basin in North Carolina, USA.
||We reached a settlement agreement with Stanly County resolving long-disputed water and redevelopment issues. We continue to work with the county on economic development opportunities and implementation of the settlement agreement that expands the size of the Badin Business Park. Davidson County and the Trading Ford Historical District Preservation Association officially adopted the Relicensing Settlement Agreement.
We completed the application process for a new 401 Water Quality Certificate (WQC). One day prior to the required issuance date, the state of North Carolina filed a lawsuit against Alcoa Power Generating, Inc. claiming ownership of the original riverbed and using this claim to deny the 401 WQC that is required for relicensing. As of May 2014, the riverbed lawsuit was pending in U.S. Federal Court, and the 401 WQC appeal was pending in the Office of Administrative Hearing.
We take the information needs and interests of our stakeholders very seriously, and we always strive to resolve issues appropriately. We also ensure that these issues are being considered in connection with our business strategy and our enterprise risk management processes.
Although not all issues can be addressed to the full satisfaction of every stakeholder, we remain committed to continuing an open dialogue and providing all relevant and appropriate information to our stakeholders so they have the opportunity to consider alternative courses of action where we cannot forge resolutions collectively.
Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation recognize the value that NGOs deliver to society and seek to partner with these institutions to support and advance their work in the areas of environment and education.
When working with NGOs on a local, national, and global level, we develop partnerships that lead to impactful and measurable results in the communities where we operate. We make monetary contributions and volunteer our expertise as we partner to solve issues relevant to our business and our stakeholders.
Here are a few of the key relationships that Alcoa Foundation has fostered with NGOs.
Alcoa Foundation and Global ReLeaf have joined together for the Partnership for Trees Program, a multi-year initiative to plant hundreds of thousands of native tree species on damaged and degraded sites around the world by engaging local communities in the restoration of forest ecosystems. This initiative, which commenced in 2011, builds toward Alcoa Foundation’s goal of planting 10 million trees by 2020 and supports the mission of Global ReLeaf to protect and restore forests.
In 2013, the program enabled the planting of more than 175,000 trees across 19 project sites in eight countries—China, England, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Russia, Spain, and the United States. Alcoa sites and employees work with qualified local nonprofit groups and agencies to develop and submit forest restoration proposals and then participate in the tree planting. (Learn more about specific tree-planting projects.)
Alcoa Foundation provided the Girl Scouts of the USA and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts a two-year, US$1.5 million grant to support the Girl Scouts Forever Green environmental project and expand the program globally to 12 countries. The project was developed after research found that an overwhelming majority of girls identified the environment as a priority issue.
The program saved more than 600 million kilowatts of energy, conserved in excess of 225 million gallons of water, and eliminated 450,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide and 50,000 metric tons of waste over a two-year period. Other environmental impacts included more than 400,000 aluminum cans recycled, in excess of 120,000 native trees planted, and nearly 2,500 wildlife fed and sheltered.
The Alcoa Foundation grant also sponsored 700 girls to “twin” with girls from another country and learn about the environmental concerns and cultures of different geographies. More than 200 Alcoa employees volunteered alongside the girls to help their environmental projects come to fruition.
Alcoa Foundation was the title sponsor of Net Impact’s Small Steps, Big Wins Campus Challenge. Launched in early 2013, the program encouraged thousands of undergraduate students from around the world to take small environmental or social actions that, when combined or evolved into habit, create a significant impact.
In the first year, more than 5,000 students at 71 campuses worldwide took 45,000 actions, including organizing tailgate recycling programs, riding bikes to school in lieu of driving, and using reusable water bottles. In total, more than 90 metric tons of carbon dioxide were avoided. In addition, 93% of participants indicated they would likely continue taking actions they started as a result of the challenge, and 85% reported a greater interest in making a positive impact in their community.
Times Square Alliance and BigBelly Solar
Together with the Times Square Alliance, BigBelly Solar, and the mayor of New York City (New York, USA), Alcoa Foundation debuted the largest public-space recycling initiative in the city in 2013. The foundation funded a pilot project that placed 30 BigBelly solar-powered waste and recycling stations in Times Square, where visitors generate approximately seven metric tons, or 900 bags, of garbage a day.
Big Belly units hold five times the capacity of traditional sidewalk trash receptacles and use solar energy to compact cans, bottles, garbage, and paper. The units cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% and reduced waste pickups from four times a day to four times per week.
In 2014, Alcoa Foundation and BigBelly Solar will expand this program to the U.S. cities of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; and Cleveland, Ohio.
Through Alcoa Foundation’s support of the Earthwatch Institute, Alcoa employees have the opportunity to participate in Earthwatch expeditions around the world. While adding to the collective knowledge needed to build a sustainable future, this hands-on support for scientific research offers a rich opportunity for personal development, nurtures relationships between environmental and business organizations, and helps raise awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s ecosystems.
Between 2003 and 2013, more than 175 Alcoa employees from 21 countries embarked on Earthwatch expeditions, contributing more than 15,000 research hours to help solve some of the biggest sustainability challenges. In 2013, 26 employees worked alongside scientists on critical environmental research projects in Brazil, Canada, and China. They shared their unique experiences through stories and photographs posted on their individual blogs.
We encourage these Alcoa Earthwatch fellows to implement a sustainability project at their workplace or local community on their return home, applying the knowledge they gained about sustainability during their Earthwatch expedition.
The partnership between Alcoa Foundation and the Manufacturing Institute began in 2011 and has expanded into several initiatives. In 2013, the institute supported the establishment of manufacturing skills certification programs at 44 community colleges in 15 U.S. states. An estimated 3,800 students pursuing careers in manufacturing benefited from the programs, with 7,248 certifications being awarded.
The Manufacturing Institute also manages the Get Skills to Work coalition to help veterans make the transition to the civilian workforce and become interested in manufacturing careers. In addition, it is partnering with educational institutions to align mechatronics curriculum with the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute’s standards. Ten community colleges across Pennsylvania will issue the certifications, with more than 500 certifications expected through 2014.
FIRST Tech Challenge
Starting in 2011, Alcoa Foundation and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) reached out to 84 student teams in Canada, China, Russia, and the United States. At the 2013 world competition held in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, a video on careers in science, technology, education, and math featured Dr. Angelique Adams, director of technology development for Alcoa’s Global Primary Products business. The video is now part of FTC resource materials for 3,400 registered North American FTC teams, and it was also made available to non-U.S. FTC teams.
Engineers Without Borders
Alcoa Foundation and Engineers Without Borders began their partnership in 2011 and have supported 27 university campus teams located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The teams have completed community-based projects in 28 communities for 11,300 residents, including a school outreach program for Aboriginals in Australia, solar water heaters in Brazil, rainwater harvesting in Cambodia, and a water distribution system in Kenya.
In-depth community consultation is an important component for any new project we undertake anywhere in the world, as well as for expansions and upgrades at existing facilities.
Project consultation requires open and transparent dialogue, often over extended periods of time. This sometimes is not easy, especially when there are strongly differing views within respective stakeholder groups or when circumstances require project schedule changes or adjustments in local planning.
For every proposed expansion or new project, we conduct an environmental and social impact assessment that includes extensive stakeholder engagement. The results of these assessments and any ongoing monitoring are made available to the public. (See the Suriname example.)
We continued working with Rio Tinto Alcan to assess the feasibility of constructing a state-of-the-art alumina refinery in the Boké prefecture in Guinea. We focused our stakeholder engagement with the communities that will be affected in the event this Kabata Project proceeds on the selected site. By proactively targeting our engagement efforts, the project will be able to have a long-term impact on some of the most important issues facing these communities—capacity building of civil society processes, education, public health, safety, and hygiene.
These communities include those that will require physical or economic displacement, as well as ones that may be directly or indirectly affected by the following:
- A potential influx of a large number of people from outside areas who are seeking future employment or improved living standards;
- Future skilled and unskilled employment opportunities; and
- Cultural and environmental impacts on local plant and animal species.
We conducted several meetings with local stakeholder groups. Formal agreements are being mutually pursued with such groups to support improvements in local capacity and living conditions. Topics of the agreements include:
- Improving local literacy;
- Supporting rural electrification pilot programs to enable self-sustaining electricity supplies;
- Support of rural road repairs; and
- Miscellaneous community development initiatives as agreed upon by local community and project representatives, such as installing drinking water wells, improving sanitation, and enabling preventive health.
The project also partnered with NGOs and other experts to increase capacity in civil society and ensure we learn from those who have the right experience to deliver successfully and efficiently.
We are a partner with the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (also known as Ma’aden) in the development and construction of a fully integrated, world-class aluminum complex in Saudi Arabia.
The Ma’aden-Alcoa joint venture focused its 2013 engagement with key stakeholders on local employment and procurement, as well as social investment. Approximately 160 representatives from more than 100 local suppliers and 30 local industry leaders attended three town hall meetings held in the towns near the project’s two sites. The joint venture also sponsored training programs in areas surrounding the facilities to attract and employ residents and develop their skills.
Environmental Improvement Plans
Many of our Australian operations work with the local communities to develop environmental improvement plans for each location.
An environmental improvement plan is a public commitment by an operation to continuously improve environmental performance, reduce environmental impacts, and develop more sustainable practices. The plan sets clear targets for improvement and details progress against those targets. It also outlines the methods, processes, and initiatives to achieve agreed upon targets, while providing an overview of operations and improvements accomplished in the past.
Typically, the draft plan is offered by the company for collaborative external review, adjusted in light of that review and finalized. The final plan is then signed by participating stakeholders, published, and deployed by the company. The stakeholders monitor our progress in achieving the targets and annually review the plan.
Examples of these plans can be found on our Australian operations website.
Helping Military Veterans Transition to the Civilian Workforce
Literacy Program Brings Economic Opportunities to Guinean Villagers
Community Health and Safety Programs