Novelis’ recently released Fiscal Year 2014 sustainability report shows the aluminum rolling and recycling giant making significant investments and strides to advance the circular economy and increase the sustainability of its business, the aluminum industry and its broader value chain.
Adding More Aluminum, Creating Value details the company’s efforts to increase its recycling capacity and the recycled content of its products to 80 percent by 2020, which will require less dependence on higher-carbon primary aluminum and more focus on innovation and technology to accelerate the use of recycled aluminum.
Novelis' innovative business model, which is built on closed-loop recycling, comes at a time when aluminum demand is high and the industries that Novelis serves — automotive, beverage can and specialty markets — are increasingly calling for lighter-weight, low-carbon materials.
"We're leading the industry to harness the sustainability potential of aluminum as a lightweight, infinitely recyclable metal," said Phil Martens, Novelis’ president and CEO. "We're still early in our journey — and that includes Novelis shifting to more recycled aluminum, which avoids 95 percent of the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with primary production."
Since 2011, Novelis has invested approximately $2 billion to expand recycling and production, doubling its recycling capacity to 2.1 million metric tons per year. Novelis recently grew its recycling network when it opened the world's largest aluminum recycling center in Nachterstedt, Germany, which will process up to 400,000 metric tons of aluminum scrap annually.
At the end of Fiscal Year 2014, Novelis achieved 46 percent recycled content of its aluminum inputs, up 16 percentage points from the baseline years of 2007-2009, and is on track to hit 50 percent by the end of the year. This means the company is providing its customers with aluminum sheet with ever-lower embedded carbon, which in turn reduces its customers' carbon footprints. A core area of focus of the company's innovation efforts is the development of highly recyclable alloy compositions.
"Sustainability is core to our business strategy, and sustainability thinking is fully integrated into our brand," said John Gardner, Novelis’ Chief Sustainability Officer. "We are working with our customers and partners on life-cycle issues to improve sustainability performance, from design to post-consumer recycling. We often want to move faster and further than some of our stakeholders, so we continue to make the case for the shared benefit of a stronger circular economy."
Novelis works closely with its customers - not simply as a supplier of aluminum flat-rolled products, but also as a technical partner and catalyst for innovation, which was evident in the development of its evercan™ for the beverage industry and in new automotive applications that enhance performance while reducing CO2 emissions.
A key component of Novelis' transformation is a dramatic expansion of its ability to serve the automotive industry - the fastest-growing market for its products - as automakers increasingly turn to lightweight vehicles that are more fuel-efficient and create fewer emissions. Novelis invested $550 million to triple its automotive sheet capacity to serve growing demand and recently opened China's first plant dedicated to the production of advanced heat-treated aluminum automotive sheet. Novelis works with its automotive customers to implement closed-loop manufacturing processes, taking back production scrap from automakers then re-melting it, casting it and rolling it again.
Novelis' leadership in the low-carbon economy was recognized earlier this year by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which accepted Novelis to join its prestigious Climate Savers Program. Novelis is the first and only metals company to be part of this program, an exclusive initiative of WWF to encourage companies to reduce their operational carbon footprint and act as agents of change within their sphere of influence.
Other highlights from the report include: