Bringing Transparency to Stakeholder Engagement
We believe it is important to have transparent and regular dialogue with all of our stakeholders to ensure a mutual understanding of issues, concerns, and opportunities. Stakeholder engagement is also an important element in the process we use to determine our material sustainability aspects.
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. (View a partial list of our stakeholders.)
Our stakeholder relationships are both formal and informal. With customers, suppliers, government agencies, employees, lenders, and shareholders, we typically have formalized, contractual, or even legally mandated channels for engagement. Our engagement with other stakeholders is typically much less formalized and requires attention to ensure that it is maintained on a regular basis.
Stakeholder Engagement Process
The Alcoa Community Framework is the principal way we manage and measure our engagement with stakeholders at the community level. In 2014, 100% of our manufacturing locations were using the framework.
The framework helps each of our locations define the stakeholder groups with which to engage and identifies tools and approaches to ensure that engagement with these stakeholders is robust, effective, and transparent.
We redesigned the framework in 2014 to accommodate the differing sizes and stakeholder engagement needs of our facilities and accurately measure and compare their efforts. Each year, a location completes a dashboard that evaluates its progress on five key engagement levers (public strategy plan, communications, stakeholder engagement, community partnerships, and employee engagement), taking into consideration its activities around environment, infrastructure, policy, and community relationships.
As part of the framework, many of our locations 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.
Although the intent is for issues and concerns to be resolved at the location level, occasionally they are discussed at the regional or global level within the company depending upon the issue or the identified risk or opportunity. We also develop relationships with appropriate stakeholders at the regional and global levels.
The following key issues were raised by, or discussed with, stakeholders in 2014.
2014 Stakeholder Issues—Regional and Global
|Employees and community members
||The Ebola outbreak in Guinea could potentially impact our employees working in that country, as well as other stakeholders with whom we are engaging with partner Rio Tinto Alcan.
||In collaboration with local health resources and development partners, we provided education and training on the virus to our employees, their family members, and the communities surrounding our operations. We also accepted a leadership role to co-lead the Guinea-specific Ebola Private Sector Mobilization Group, signed on to the United Nations' Business Action Pledge for Ebola Elimination, and provided a US$80,000 grant via Alcoa Foundation to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support communications and contact tracing in Guinea.
|European Environmental Bureau (EEB)
||EEB expressed concerns about the environmental and social impacts of our Juruti mine in Brazil, including the displacement of local citizens.
||We responded directly to EEB, indicating that no people were displaced for the project. We also indicated that royalties from the mining concessions are shared between the government and the communities of the Juruti Velho region, which collectively determine how to administer the royalties in a manner that maximizes benefits to the communities.
|State of North Carolina, USA
||The state of North Carolina filed a lawsuit against Alcoa Power Generating, Inc., claiming ownership of the original Yadkin River riverbed. The state used this claim to deny the approval of a new 401 Water Quality Certificate (WQC) that is needed for our continued operation of a series of hydroelectric dams along the river.
||In the riverbed lawsuit, our motions for summary judgment were denied, and a trial began on April 21, 2015 in U.S. Federal Court. On April 22, the court ruled that the relevant segment of the Yadkin River was not navigable at the time of statehood. The court directed that the parties submit summary judgment motions on the remaining issue of title to the riverbed and to do so within 30 days.Our motion for summary judgment on our 401 WQC appeal was denied.
2014 Stakeholder Issues—Local
||Following the closure of the Point Henry smelter, the Surf Coast Air Action Group mounted a campaign to have the Anglesea coal mine and power station shut down.
||When we announced the closure of Point Henry, we actively sought a buyer for the Anglesea power station and coal mine. We continue to work through the sale process and anticipate making a decision on the future of our Anglesea operations once that process is complete.
||Two residential developments have been proposed less than 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) from the Kwinana refinery’s residue storage area. The majority of these developments fall within the extended Kwinana air-quality buffer adopted by the Western Australian Planning Commission in September 2010.
||We opposed the developments and were successful in proceedings before the State Administrative Tribunal, which recommended to the Western Australia Minister for Planning that the subdivision proposals be refused.
|We announced in February 2014 that the Point Henry smelter and adjacent rolling mill, plus a rolling mill in Yennora, Australia, would be permanently closed. The smelter closed in August, and the rolling mills followed in December 2014.
||As part of the transition and support for the local community, Alcoa Foundation granted a total of US$559,000 to six Geelong-based organizations. Alcoa also made a US$8.175 million contribution to the Geelong and Yennora communities to help stimulate new jobs and fund training programs in the regions.
||Alcoa of Australia was fined US$59,160 plus costs in November 2014 after an earlier guilty plea to an offense under the Mines Safety and Inspections Act at our Wagerup refinery.
||The charge of failing to provide and maintain a working environment in which contractor employees were not exposed to a hazard was related to the tragic death of a Transpacific Industries employee in September 2009.
The offense to which we pleaded guilty did not allege that we caused the death of the contractor employee. At the time of the accident, hazard identification was, and remains, an important component of our safety management system. We have since further improved our safety procedures to require barriers to be installed across inspection portholes where the width of the opening is greater than 300 millimeters (12 inches).
||We sought government approval to allow the emission of noise to exceed or vary from the prescribed standard.
||We were granted approval by the Minister for Environment under Regulation 17 of the Noise Regulations in June 2012. This approval, which was announced in December 2013, does not allow us to increase noise emissions from the refinery but rather brings current noise levels within the regulations.
The amended noise approval requires us to establish a noise-monitoring program to monitor compliance and implement a plan to provide noise insulation for dwellings on noise-affected land. In 2014, we submitted a noise amelioration plan that included a land management plan setting out the procedures for our purchase of noise-affected dwellings and for the noise insulation program.
|Western Australia Mining Operations
||Exploration drilling near the Dwellingup township has the potential to cause concern among landowners.
||We invited all 388 nearby landholders to attend a Community Information Day in November 2014, with 100 community members attending the event. An additional five consultations were held during that year. We provided community members with information on how and when the drilling program would be conducted and gave a commitment to further consultation throughout the drilling program, due to commence in 2015.
and Utinga, Brazil
|We restructured our Brazilian extrusion business, resulting in employee layoffs at our facilities in Itapissuma, Tubarão, and Utinga and the idling of a press at the Tubarão facility.
||Prior to the official announcement, we met with union representatives at all three plants and the mayor of Tubarão to discuss the restructuring.
||Landowners requested payment related to land leases that we entered into with them to store timber from the construction of our Juruti mine on their property.
||We are renewing the leasing contracts with landowners and have made payments that were past due.
||Community members questioned and also staged a protest about the partial operation of the 9 de Abril Hospital that we built in Juruti as part of our agreement to mine in the area. They requested the immediate full operation of the hospital.
||We replied to all questions posed by community members in a formal letter to the protesters’ representative. We indicated that the Associação Lar de São Francisco will take over management of the hospital in February 2015, guaranteeing its full operation. The hospital reopened on April 9, 2015.
We also expressed our intent to support the refurbishment of the Santa Casa de Misericordia Hospital in nearby Óbidos to strengthen and integrate health services at the regional level. We previously helped refurbish and expand the Franscisco Barros City Hospital, built two primary care clinics in the Tabatinga and Juruti Velho communities, and refurbished the health care units in two neighborhoods in downtown Juruti.
||Communities in southern Juruti, where we plan to explore for bauxite reserves, requested that we reach an agreement on land use with the Gleba Lago Grande Communities Federation and the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform before entering the area.
||We initiated dialogue with the organizations to negotiate permission for our research staff to enter the region.
||Grupo de Soluções em Alimentação, which buys fish farmed through our Family Agriculture Support Program for use in the Juruti cafeteria, required that the fish meet production regulations established by the local sanitary authority.
||In partnership with the Sustainable Juruti Fund, the fish farmers are working to obtain certification from the sanitary authority.
|Poços de Caldas, Brazil
||We curtailed 159,000 metric tons of smelting capacity at our Poços de Caldas and São Luís (Alumar) smelters.
||In Poços de Caldas, we held meetings with union representatives, the mayors of Poços de Caldas, Andradas, and Divinolandia, and the secretary of economic development for Pouso Alegra to inform them of the decision. Alumar engaged with union representatives and the Ministry of Labor to finalize the benefits package for curtailed employees.
We also engaged with employees impacted by the curtailment, providing career counseling and training, retirement and financial advice, and mental health support.
|The Aguada community lodged complaints that dust from the bauxite residue storage area at our Alumar facility was entering nearby homes.
||Our representatives visited the community to fully understand the details and plan actions to eliminate any concerns. We also increased our spraying of the storage area to minimize dusting and asked the community representative to contact us should the situation occur again.
||We submitted our environmental impact study and proposed remediation for the Anse du Moulin bay, which has sediment containing PCBs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
||Under Québec regulation, the project’s environmental impact study went through a required public consultation period.
Since 2011, we have worked with expert consultants and gathered views and recommendations from key stakeholders, primarily through an exchange and information committee, to define the best remediation scenario (dredging and capping of the contaminated sediments) from both the environmental and social standpoints.
|Baie-Comeau, Deschambault, and Bécancour, Canada
||On Jan. 1, 2015, our three Canadian smelters would have faced significantly higher electricity rates when the electricity tariff known as the L-Rate went into effect. The higher costs would have made the smelters uncompetitive.
||Following negotiations with the Québec government and Hydro-Québec, we secured new power agreements for the three smelters in late 2014.
||We wanted to set up the Alcoa Asia Pacific Management Co. Ltd. in Shanghai to better lead and support Alcoa businesses in China while keeping Alcoa (China) Investment Company Limited in Beijing.
||Our ongoing stakeholder engagement and community relations efforts within Beijing and Shanghai demonstrated our commitment to contribute to social and economic development in both cities. As such, Shanghai’s government approved the establishment of the new company.
We also engaged with our headquarters employees and hired a labor consulting company to help with the transition.
||We are in the process of planning an expansion at the fastening system facility.
||The expansion includes an automatic raw material handling area to improve efficiencies and further increase worker safety.
Due to our ongoing engagement with local authorities, the City of Hildesheim is supporting our request to expedite the permitting process.
|We sought to invest US$13 million to expand our Köfem wheel manufacturing plant.
||Following close stakeholder engagement with various levels of Hungarian authorities, we received support to expand the plant. The expansion, which was completed in early 2015, created 35 permanent jobs and 215 temporary construction jobs.
We continue to update high-level government officials on our operations and invited government representatives to the opening ceremony.
|A local landowners group and individual farmers expressed concerns about high fluoride emissions from the smelter.
||We continued to focus on understanding the root cause of increased fluoride levels from the smelter, which first arose in 2012. We also implemented an even more stringent and focused production management plan and launched a public-awareness campaign to educate stakeholders on the impact of fluoride on animals and the environment. The Food Agency of Iceland has indicated that fluoride levels in the area do not pose any danger to human health.
Fluoride levels remained below established guidelines in 2014.
||We announced the permanent closure of the smelter.
||Following the smelter’s curtailment in 2012, we kept the plant in restart condition and undertook efforts to transfer the facility to a responsible owner per our commitments. In August 2014, we formally announced the full closure of the facility, and we intend to move forward with decommissioning in 2015.
Throughout this process, we offered social support programs to our employees.
||Local media requested detailed information regarding an injury to an employee on July 6, 2014.
||In our response to news portal 63.ru, we explained that our investigation into the accident uncovered process inefficiencies that led to the injury. We also indicated that we implemented process changes and are exploring further options to improve both employee safety and our response time to external inquiries.
|Avilés and La
|Our right to provide interruptibility services in 2015 is sufficient to keep the Avilés and La Coruña plants operating during 2015 in the current market environment but in a weaker condition than in previous years.
||We began negotiations with our Spanish smelters’ works councils to agree on measures to improve the facilities’ cost positions and gain competitiveness. We will continue to work with our stakeholders on a stable, long-term, competitive energy framework and to reduce costs, which are necessary to ensure the ongoing viability of the plants.
||The boards of various communities expressed concerns about the impact of our mining and refining activities on the development of their communities. Specific issues included the Adjoemakondre community’s housing project, the recreational facilities of the Onoribo community, and cemetery access for the Topibo community.
||We are engaging with the boards on a regular basis to improve communication and collaborate on various development proposals.
||Informal, small-scale gold mining by community members in our Afobaka mining concession has the potential to impact our hydroelectric dam and embankments. Potential impacts include cracks in the embankments, landslides, and redirection of the lake’s water flow.
||According to the traditions of the Maroon community, we organized a “grand meeting” to inform community members about the potential impacts. We also conducted one-on-one sessions with key people and groups within the communities to ensure the information is understood and disseminated.
|We halted most third-party activities in our mining concession area.
||We allowed the Para and Brokopondo communities to have small agricultural plots in our mining concession area. In recent years, many people claiming to be members of the community entered the concession for the purposes of fuel and heavy equipment transportation, logging, and other non-agricultural activities. We halted most of these activities due to oil spills, significant amounts of dumped waste, and theft.
|Massena, New York,
|In January 2014, we announced the permanent closure of the Söderberg potlines at Massena East.
||We met with the plant’s power supplier and negotiated an agreement to ensure the competitiveness of the remaining Massena West smelter. In addition, we pledged to launch the plant’s largest-ever apprenticeship program to train our employees for high-demand technical jobs and minimize the impact on the workforce.
We permanently shut down the Massena East potlines in March 2014 without any layoffs.
Non-governmental Organization Engagement
NGOs provide significant value to society. We partner with these institutions to support and advance their work in the areas of environment and education in the communities in which we operate.
Here are some examples of active partnerships during 2014.
Alcoa Foundation entered into a new partnership with NatureBridge to send 24 young adults from 18 countries to Yosemite National Park in the United States to help them gain knowledge and tools on how to be environmental advocates and leaders in their communities.
Center for Automotive Research
An Alcoa Foundation grant to the Center for Automotive Research is being used to develop a cost/benefit analysis of effective lightweighting technologies. The results will be shared publicly via college curriculum, industry events, and seminars.
Pillars of Sustainable Education
Under a three-year partnership between seven global universities and Alcoa Foundation, architecture and design departments are incorporating classroom curriculum about the use of sustainable materials in community design. The Pillars of Sustainable Education program had reached nearly 1,000 students and more than 4,000 community members in Brazil, China, Europe, and the United States by the end of 2014.
Conservation for Arctic Flora and Fauna, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Working with multiple NGOs, Alcoa Foundation launched the Eco-A program in 2014 to protect ecosystems where Alcoa operates around the world. The program’s various projects, which employ a multi-stakeholder approach, will restore or protect plants, wildlife, and nearly 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) of land.
Junior Achievement Worldwide
Alcoa Foundation’s partnership with Junior Achievement Worldwide resulted in the Assembling Your Career program for teachers, parents, and volunteers to teach more than 100,000 students in grades six through 12 about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
American Association of University Women
Alcoa Foundation is supporting the American Association of University Women’s effort to increase the number of women in engineering at Budapest Technical University, College of Dunaújváros, and Óbudai University in Hungary. (Read a research report on STEM education for women in Hungary’s Székesfehérvár region.)
Hope Street Group
Supported by Alcoa Foundation, Hope Street Group completed the report, "Missing Makers: How to Rebuild America’s Manufacturing Workforce," detailing the issues and challenges in exposing youth to manufacturing careers. A companion guide provides young people with information resources and connects them to local manufacturing jobs.
Alcoa Foundation and Conservation International established a formal working group with government representatives and local citizens to identify strategies for conservation in the Juruti region. The partners gained unanimous approval on the preservation of Lago Mole via a public vote. This is the first legal preservation project in the Juruti area. In addition, the partners have outlined production chains for growing acai and Brazil nuts that will help boost production of these two valuable resources in the region.
Establishing open and transparent dialogue with individuals and organizations that could be impacted by a proposed new, expanded, or upgraded facility is critical to the success of the project and our ongoing relationship with these stakeholders.
Usually conducted over extended periods of time, project consultation sometimes is not easy. For example, strongly differing views within respective stakeholder groups or circumstances that may require schedule changes or adjustments in local planning require a mutually respectful relationship to work through the issues.
We conduct an environmental and social impact assessment for every proposed project, and this involves extensive stakeholder engagement. The results of these assessments, as well as any ongoing monitoring they may require, are available to the public.
Environmental Improvement Plans
Many of our Australian operations engage with local communities to develop an environmental improvement plan, which is a public commitment to continuously improve environmental performance, reduce environmental impacts, and develop more sustainable practices.
The draft plan undergoes collaborative external review, with adjustments incorporated based upon that review. The final plan, which sets clear targets for improvement, is signed by participating stakeholders. These stakeholders also monitor our progress in achieving the targets and annually review the plan.
Examples of our environmental improvement plans can be found on our Australian operations website.
Community Health and Safety Programs