Aluminium producer Rusal has published its annual sustainability report for 2020.
Highlights of the report include:
One of RUSAL’S most significant projects in 2020 was the large-scale construction of medical centers to combat COVID-19, which had a total cost of about 4 billion rubles in Russia and abroad. The new medical centers were built in Achinsk, Boguchany, Bratsk, Krasnoturinsk, Sayanogorsk, Taishet and Shelekhov and have been stocked with state-of-the-art level equipment.
At the same time, the Company’s long-term social program called “RUSAL Territory” reached another momentum. Since 2010, the program has consistently improved the quality of life in territories where the Company holds a presence. In the jubilee year of 2020, when RUSAL marked it’s 20th anniversary, the “RUSAL Territory” grant competition collected an impressive portfolio of applications, including those from local self-government bodies of municipalities, for projects for the development of the urban environment, the creation of new public and cultural spaces, the modernization of social infrastructure facilities and the holding of cultural, developmental and sports events, and the total amount of the program budget exceeded 350 million rubles.
Having committed to voluntary disclosure of information on greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, RUSAL became one of the world’s leading companies of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) rating’s in 2020. In 2020, RUSAL was awarded a medal in the prestigious EcoVadis sustainable development rating; highlighting that the company has significantly improved its performance in comparison to the results of the previous audit.
The next step in the journey to reduce the carbon footprint in the production of aluminium was the 2020 launch of a pilot site with inert anodes cells at the Krasnoyarsk Aluminium Smelter. The first batches of aluminium with the lowest carbon footprint in the world were produced at this site. This new technology provides for the replacement of classic carbon anodes with inert, non-consumable materials – ceramics or alloys. Thus, during the electrolysis, not only are the emissions of greenhouse gases, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, benz(a)pyrene and sulfur eliminated, but oxygen is also produced as a by-product. A single cell with an inert anode can produce as much oxygen as 70 hectares of forest. In April 2021, RUSAL offered prospective partners and market leaders the opportunity to test a pilot batch of aluminium produced by the Company using inert anode technology.
In 2020, sales of low-carbon aluminium under the ALLOW brand, which RUSAL has been promoting since 2017, increased by more than 1.7 times. Due to the electricity generated from hydropower, the carbon footprint of ALLOW products is less than 4 tons of CO2 equivalent per ton of aluminium (taking into account direct and indirect energy emissions), while the global average is 12 tons.
At the beginning of 2021, RUSAL announced an ambitious strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 as part of the Net Zero initiative. Thus, RUSAL reaffirmed its intention to become the world’s largest producer of aluminium with a low carbon footprint. The implementation of these plans will contribute to the full disclosure of the Company’s potential in the field of sustainable development, which includes the introduction of innovative inert anode technology that reduces the carbon footprint of aluminium production to zero.
Evgenii Nikitin, General Director of RUSAL, noted: “The world is moving towards integrating ESG principles into a number of determining factors of business, so the basis of our strategic vision is social responsibility, the transition to a “green” aluminium industry and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The desire for real sustainability is especially relevant at a time of global challenges and accelerated climate change. We believe that our work makes a real contribution to the global sustainable development”.
Evgeny Shvarts, an independent non-executive Director of the RUSAL’s Board of Directors, Head of the Center for Responsible Use of Natural Resources, Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, commented on the Company’s Sustainability Report 2020: “In the conditions of production growth, industry around the world has a significant impact on the planet. Therefore, sustainable development and environmental responsibility play a crucial role in maintaining public confidence in business. In this regard, the RUSAL Sustainability Report clearly demonstrates what practical steps the Company has taken to reduce the anthropogenic load on ecosystems. The transparency of the information provided to society, the authorities, investors, and the media should constantly increase. It is only in this way that businesses will be able to earn trust and recognition”.
RUSAL has been preparing and publishing sustainability reports in accordance with the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative, the principles of the Global Compact and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative Association since 2006. The report on RUSAL’s sustainable development for 2020 has been independently certified by the international audit and consulting company EY.