Aluminium is an abundant material in industry. It is used for airplane manufacturing, electronics and cars. In fact, aluminium is becoming more and more important for the automotive industry, because it is strong, rigid and still very light. Audi has just become the first automobile manufacturer worldwide to receive a certificate from the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative, which shows that its aluminium production is sustainable.
Aluminium is a great material, but it has its disadvantages. For example, it very energy intensive in production, which makes it expensive for manufacturers and harmful for the environment. Aluminium Stewardship Initiative is setting standards for aluminium production and certifies organizations. The goals of ASI are to encourage sustainable aluminium production and recycling and continual improvements in the key environmental, social and governance impacts of aluminium production. ASI has never certified an automotive manufacturer before, even though this industry uses a lot of aluminium. For example, Audi uses this metal for the battery housing of the Audi e-tron SUV.
The battery housing of the Audi e-tron is aluminium to save weight and improve safety. It is the first component to meet ASI requirements for industrial users of aluminium and sustainably, but in the future Audi wants all of its aluminium production to be ASI-certified. Audi has been involved with this organization since early 2013, but only recently ASI has launched its global sustainability standards. They encompass environmental, social and governance criteria, which manufacturers have to meet in all stages in production – from the extraction of the raw material, bauxite, to processing and production and to recycling. Only then ASI will certify the organization.
These requirements are going to make aluminium production more sustainable. Companies have to take into consideration environmentally friendly extraction techniques, material-preserving manufacturing process, repair of the parts and recycling once the lifecycle of the manufactured object is over. Bernd Martens, Member of the Board of Management for Procurement and IT in Audi, said: “Audi stands for sustainability along the entire supply chain. The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative has created transparency with its new certification program”.
Now Audi is looking to ensure ASI standards in its supply chain as well. This step will require Audi to work with partners that are also certified by the ASI. Ultimately, this will benefit nature and allow conserving some of the wasted aluminium.