Integrating Sustainability into Business Strategies


At Alcoa, we define sustainability as using our Values to build financial success, environmental excellence, and social responsibility in partnership with all stakeholders.

We integrate sustainability into our core business strategy using a multi-layered structure:

  • The Executive Council is accountable for setting annual targets and measuring progress against those targets, as well as longer-term goals;
  • The chief sustainability officer is responsible for developing a comprehensive strategy that integrates all of the businesses’ sustainability efforts;
  • Business leaders are responsible for the integration of sustainability into their respective business practices; and
  • Internal sustainability experts in each global region and business implement the strategy and processes.

In 2009, we developed a new set of long-term goals and objectives to drive progress in our businesses by 2020 and, for some areas, by 2030. We use these strategic sustainability targets to monitor our progress against key focus areas, such as energy efficiency, emissions, and waste. 

We also use sustainability scorecards to measure progress against our near-term sustainability metrics and seamlessly integrate sustainability concepts into our business processes. The scorecards allow the businesses to focus on key sustainability targets that align with their overall business strategy and facilitate dialogue between business and corporate leadership on progress against those targets.

In addition to the scorecards, each business has developed a roadmap to achieve longer-term (2020) sustainability goals. The Roadmap to 2020 clearly lays out the process steps, business decisions, and technical improvements necessary year-by-year for a business to achieve its longer-term objectives. 

Each roadmap identifies the known opportunities for progress and areas that need strategic planning in order to progress against the 2020 sustainability targets. In many cases, specific actions, investments, and other items were known and could be specifically articulated in the roadmap. In other cases, ideas or action plans to achieve the ultimate target were unknown.

To ensure the integration of sustainability into our core business strategies, our chief executive officer has championed pay for performance to achieve specific sustainability objectives. During 2013, up to 20% of our variable compensation was tied to achieving significant aspects of our sustainability targets. Across the entire workforce, the targets focused on safety and carbon dioxide emission reductions. Our management-level employees had an additional target to improve the diversity of our workforce. See the Compensation section for additional details and 2013 results.

Additional information on how we are pursuing sustainability at the local level can be found in various regional sustainability reports.

We are committed to regularly reviewing our sustainability performance, and we have been setting goals and publicly reporting our results against them since 1993. Our objective is to be transparent with respect to our sustainability issues and progress and to provide significant information to all of our stakeholders.

We were recognized in 2013 for our sustainability efforts through inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for the twelfth consecutive time and again in the World Index. (See other awards.)