Chief Sustainability Officer and Alcoa Vice President
Chief Sustainability Officer Statement
Our strategic sustainability targets continued to keep our businesses focused on the full integration of sustainability into their day-to-day operations amidst the distractions of an uncertain global economy.
Progress in achieving our targets was mixed in 2012. For some targets, such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water use, we are confident that we will achieve goals on—or even ahead of—the 2020 deadline. Other goals, such as reducing landfilled waste and the intensity of our mercury emissions, are proving to be more challenging. This is to be expected, however, because we set very aggressive targets to stretch us to think and act differently.
As mentioned in the Chairman and CEO Statement, we reduced the GHG intensity in our Global Primary Products business by 23% between 2005 and 2012 against a 2020 target of 30%. Company-wide, total direct and indirect GHG emissions decreased 24% to 46.5 million metric tons during the same period.
Because we exceeded our 2020 intensity target for freshwater use in 2011, we brought our 2030 target forward to 2020 and set a new 2030 goal. The revised targets, which went into effect in early 2012, are a 25% improvement in freshwater-use intensity by 2020 and 30% by 2030 versus 2005 levels. Through 2012, we achieved a 24% reduction—one percentage point shy of our revised 2020 goal.
We reduced our landfilled waste by 25% between 2005 and 2012 against a target of a 75% reduction by 2020. To drive additional progress, we have deployed pilot programs focused on reducing landfilled waste at several of our operations worldwide. In Hungary, for example, we achieved a 94% reduction in landfilled waste through comprehensive, site-wide employee engagement on waste management.
We need to leverage these programs to reduce the amount of waste we generate; identify other waste streams from our processes that can be used as inputs in the processes of other industries; and convert more waste into energy sources, similar to what we are doing with our spent pot lining.
Achieving our target of an 80% reduction in mercury emission intensity by 2020 and 90% by 2030 from a 2005 baseline has been one of the most challenging targets. In 2012, our intensity decreased 15% from prior year but was 27% above our 2005 baseline. The variation in the amount of mercury contained in the bauxite we refine makes finding a viable solution extremely difficult, but we continue to research technologies and other solutions that will help us meet this goal.
While we are pleased that the U.S. beverage can recycling rate rose to 65% in 2011 (the most current year for which data are available), we also recognize that the increase was driven mainly by the import of around 11 billion used beverage cans to meet industry demand. We still have much work to do to achieve our target of 75% by 2015, and we continue to collaborate across the supply chain and partner with Alcoa Foundation to invest in community-based recycling programs.
Outside of the environmental area, we met our 2012 goals of women comprising 19% of our global leadership and 16% of U.S. minorities holding leadership positions. We raised these targets for 2013 to ensure we continue our progress. In recognition for our progress on recruiting, developing, and advancing women in the workplace, we earned the prestigious Catalyst Award in early 2013.
In 2012, we shifted our focus to the days away, restricted, or transferred (DART) rate as our primary safety metric to place additional attention on eliminating the more serious incidents first. Our 2012 DART rate of 0.50 was 79% lower than the most recent U.S. manufacturing average.
Our employees continued to volunteer in the community through one of our employee volunteer programs. For our Month of Service program alone, we had a record 60% participation rate.
During the year, our forged aluminum truck wheels were the latest of our products to receive Cradle to Cradle® Certification—Silver. Our other Cradle to Cradle certifications are for primary aluminum, lithographic sheet, can sheet, three product lines from our Kawneer business, and the aluminum bottle.
In 2012, we released the results of a comparative life cycle assessment that highlighted the benefits of our existing forged aluminum truck wheels over their high-strength steel counterparts. The study found that converting one commercial truck from high-strength steel wheels to aluminum wheels can reduce the vehicle’s carbon footprint by 16.3 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) in North America and 13.3 metric tons of CO2e in Europe over the vehicle’s lifetime.
We continued to develop new products that help our customers’ products become more sustainable. For example, we introduced a new line of forged truck wheels in Europe in 2012 to improve the fuel efficiency of commercial fleets. These wheels are up to 44% lighter than steel equivalents and support the move to higher-load-capacity tires.
Alcoans throughout the world remain steadfastly committed to deliver on our sustainability promises each and every day. We understand and appreciate the deep trust that has been placed in us by our community neighbors in the Amazon rainforest near our Juruti mining operations in Brazil, in the pristine countryside in Iceland near our smelter, and in and around all of our locations throughout the world.
We will continue to work hard to earn and deserve that trust and respect. While we still have much to do, I am very confident in saying that Alcoa is advancing the next generation of sustainability.
Chief Sustainability Officer and Alcoa Vice President