From the CEO
Against the backdrop of one of the most challenging periods in our company’s history, we leveraged our deep experience in sustainability to help our employees, their families and our host communities navigate through the global coronavirus pandemic while ensuring the continuity of our operations.
It was because of our long-standing commitment to sustainability that we could quickly deploy the programs and processes needed to protect and support our employees and address rapidly emerging community needs.
Although the pandemic diverted significant resources in 2020, we still progressed against the three key value drivers under our Advance Sustainably strategic priority—create sustainable value for the communities where we operate, minimize our negative environmental impacts and enhance the value of our products through differentiation.
Create Sustainable Value for the Communities Where We Operate
To ensure that we create sustainable value for our communities and maintain our license to operate, we began developing a more comprehensive approach to social performance management, engaging external support to review our practices and establish corporate procedures to properly understand and control social risk. We will deploy the system throughout 2021 and 2022.
We placed particular emphasis on improving our engagement with Indigenous and Land-Connected Peoples in 2020. We have long-standing relationships in Australia and Brazil, but we wanted to formalize our approach through a stronger corporate policy and formal commitments. In Australia, we launched our inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in February 2020 to guide our evolving approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement in that country.
Within our own operations, we reinforced our commitment to inclusion and diversity during 2020. A key achievement was forming the Alcoa Global Inclusion & Diversity Council to support our efforts to create trusting workplaces that are safe, respectful and inclusive of all individuals and that reflect the diversity of the communities in which we operate.
Around the world, we continued to identify opportunities to support our communities through social investment and partnerships. Alcoa Foundation played an important role during the pandemic, focusing investment to support communities with medical equipment, food, mental health services and other pandemic-related needs.
Minimize Our Negative Environmental Impacts
We continued looking for opportunities to reduce our environmental footprint, improve our health and safety performance to protect environmental and employee well-being, and reduce our long-term risk exposure during the year.
We published a strong Climate Change Policy to further our commitment to understanding and managing climate- and carbon-related risks and opportunities within our operations. We also implemented a new long-term goal to align our direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets with the below 2º C decarbonization path defined in the Paris Climate Accord.
We published new policies on water stewardship and biodiversity, which direct our future activities to preserving precious resources in our communities and allowing future generations to enjoy those resources. We also implemented a mandated Global Impoundment Policy to ensure our impoundments comply with internal and external standards and the laws and regulations of the countries in which they are located.
Through Alcoa Foundation, we continued to support initiatives to preserve biodiversity and prevent climate change. In Australia, for example, the Foundation is funding a multi-year initiative to restore the Peel-Harvey Estuary and three connected rivers in Western Australia. These waterways are the environmental, economic and social lifeblood of the area.
In late 2020, we became a member of a four-year project that will work to transform bauxite residue into a reactive material suitable for new, low-carbon cement products. In parallel, we continued working with the International Aluminium Institute to identify potential pathways for the adoption of bauxite residue in cement production and use.
Enhance the Value of Our Products through Differentiation
Demand for sustainable products is increasing, and we are positioning Alcoa as the preferred leader in sustainable aluminum products.
In 2020, we introduced the industry’s first low-carbon, smelter-grade alumina brand as part of our Sustana™ line of environmentally friendly aluminum products. EcoSource™ alumina is produced with no more than 0.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) per metric ton of alumina, which is two times better than the industry average of 1.2 metric tons of CO2e.
By the end of 2020, the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) had certified 13 of our operating locations to its Performance Standard and 12 operating locations to its Chain of Custody Standard. This enabled us to start selling ASI-certified bauxite, alumina and metal to any customer around the world.
Despite the challenges from a tumultuous year, our employees held true to our values and our commitment to advance sustainably. I am thankful for their dedication, hard work and respect for the health and safety of their colleagues and communities. I encourage you to read this 2020 Sustainability Report to better understand the magnitude of their achievements.
Roy C. Harvey
President and Chief Executive Officer