Teamwork strengthens aluminum value chain
SIG Combibloc and Amcor collaborate to reach goal of responsible aluminum sourcing across the value chain.
September 28, 2018
Teamwork goes a long way in the pursuit of packaging sustainability, which is why a new partnership between German aseptic packaging products supplier SIG Combibloc and global packaging group Amcor looks like a promising start to reaching the goal of responsible aluminum sourcing across the value chain.
With SIG committed to sourcing direct packaging materials from only certified sources, the producer of Combibloc paperboard beverage cartons has hooked up with Amcor, one of its main aluminum suppliers in Europe and Asia, to ensure that all the aluminum used in SIG’s cartons meets the international ASI (Aluminum Stewardship Initiative) standards.
These standards insist on adopting key principles that must be met along the supply chain of aluminum and address the main sustainability risks and potential impacts, including:
- Significant energy use and the release of greenhouse gases in the process of converting bauxite ore into aluminum;
- Impacts on local communities and natural habitats from mining.
- The potential for water pollution from production waste.
ASI has recently launched a new certification program for the aluminum value chain, which focuses on responsible production, sourcing, and stewardship of this important industrial metal.
While the lion’s share of SIG’s drink cartons is produced with recyclable paperboard, most of them use a razor-thin aluminum layer to protect the contents from light, oxygen, and external odors. Both SIG and Amcor have expressed support strong support for ASI’s initiative as very effective move to in create long-term consensus.
Because such initiatives often take time to be adopted throughout the industry, the two partners engaged an authoritative third party verification body DNV GL to conduct pilot assessments. The pilot looks at the value chain of aluminum foil all the way to the bauxite mines and is intended to provide a snapshot of performance against the ASI Performance Standard.
“Engaging suppliers on improving sustainability performance from mine to manufacturing is a challenging task,” says DNV GL’s principal consultant Colin Morgan.
“We are proud to work together with SIG and Amcor to bring visibility over their supply chains, build capacity, and help all stakeholders to get ready for ASI through our pilot audits.
“This is a pioneering approach to multi-tier engagement that delivers value and benefits for all involved,” Morgan states.
Adds Christian Bauer, SIG’s manager of environmental affairs: “Our aim is clear. This is not a pass/fail exercise, but a collaborative approach to share industry best practices and ensure we are at the forefront of sourcing aluminum foil that will meet or surpass the ASI performance standards,ensuring continuous environmental improvement as well as best in class ethical practices.”
Says Amcor’s sustainability director Gerald Rebitzer: “What we found was that the performance of the assessed sites generally aligns very well with the requirements of the ASI performance standard, and we are already working with the suppliers to close any gaps. The results are very encouraging.”