Stakeholder Engagement & Material Issues
Our European locations use the Alcoa Community Framework to develop the most appropriate strategy to identify and engage with our community stakeholders. This tool guides our plants on how to develop a comprehensive approach to understanding community needs and concerns and proactively contributing to the development of a sustainable relationship with our local and regional stakeholder groups.
In 2013, many of our European sites organized stakeholder dialogue sessions and further improved their community interactions based on a comprehensive community assessment completed at the end of 2012.
Quite a few of our locations, particularly those in Spain and Italy, were facing significant business challenges in 2013. We maintained close connections with the community to help manage these challenges, which impacted various stakeholders.
We use a coordinated approach to add value to the communities in which we operate. Our activities include building the right networks, providing appropriate Alcoa Foundation support, and enabling our employees to lend a helping hand through company-sponsored volunteering programs.
Stakeholder feedback helped us identify the following sustainability issues material to our European operations and which are similar to Alcoa’s global issues:
Our efforts in each area and the progress we have achieved are covered in the specific report section.
2013 Major Stakeholder Issues
||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 continued to discuss the sale of the curtailed smelter to viable parties and maintained the plant through July 2014, an additional seven months from our previous commitment.
In August 2014, we announced the permanent closure of the smelter. Full decommissioning will start in January 2015.
Throughout this process, we offered social support programs to our employees.
|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 early 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.