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2019 Media Releases
ASI – Frequently Asked Questions
What does ASI do?
The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) is a standards setting and certification organisation that recognises and fosters the responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of aluminium. As a member-based, global initiative, ASI is the result of producers, users and stakeholders in the aluminium value chain coming together to build consensus on ‘responsible aluminium’. ASI continues to seek engagement with commercial entities and stakeholders in the aluminium value chain from across the world.
How does it deliver this?
ASI has launched an independent third party certification program to ensure sustainability and human rights principles are increasingly embedded in aluminium production, use and recycling.
ASI’s Performance Standard covers a wide range of key issues for the entire aluminium value chain including greenhouse gas emissions, waste management, material stewardship, biodiversity management in mining, human rights, labour rights and indigenous people’s rights.
A separate Chain of Custody Standard then links responsible production with responsible sourcing and support increased emphasis on sustainability in procurement practices. ASI members seek Certification against these Standards to provide assurance to customers, suppliers and stakeholders about their practices.
What are the benefits?
ASI is now implementing an independent third party certification program to ensure sustainability and human rights principles are increasingly embedded in aluminium production, use and recycling. In doing so, ASI continues to seek engagement with commercial entities and stakeholders in the aluminium value chain from across the world.
ASI’s Performance Standard covers critical issues for the entire aluminium value chain including biodiversity management in mining, indigenous peoples’ rights, greenhouse gas emissions, waste management and material stewardship. A Chain of Custody standard is also in development, to link responsible production with responsible sourcing and support increased emphasis on sustainability in procurement practices.
What have been the timeframes for ASI’s development?
In 2015-2016, ASI developed and implement its new governance model as an incorporated entity. In 2016-2017, it carried out public consultations for both the ASI Performance Standard and Chain of Custody Standard, plus supporting documents, and developed and testes its assurance model via an online platform ‘elementAl’. Finally, after many years of collaborative efforts, ASI officially launched its certification program in December 2017.
Since January 2018, following the launch of its certification program, ASI has shifted its activities fully toward implementation of the program and oversight of the certification of ASI Members. As part of its support to members seeking certification, ASI has translated ASI materials into other languages, launched its training program ‘educationAl’, developed and launched its online assurance platform elementAl, grown the list of ASI Accredited Auditors and ASI Registered Specialists, and continues to improve all these elements.
In 2018, ASI applied for membership of the ISEAL Alliance and is on course for achieving full ISEAL membership status in 2020. The ISEAL Alliance is an association of leading voluntary international standard-setting and certification organisations that focus on social and environmental issues and collaborate to build good practice and international recognition for their programs.
What are the intended impacts?
ASI’s certification program aims to achieve these impacts:
- Sustainability and human rights principles increasingly embedded in aluminium production, use and recycling
- Companies increasingly investing and rewarding improved practices and responsible sourcing for aluminium
- Aluminium continuing to improve its sustainability credentials with stakeholders.
Why is ASI’s work needed?
There is a growing market for transparency and assurance in supply chains of raw materials, including metals. ASI’s robust and credible certification system addresses this need.
ASI’s program can help promote and support:
- global action on greenhouse gas/climate change.
- improved mining practices, particularly in a rapidly evolving bauxite mining sector
- improve waste management in alumina refining and aluminum smelting
- business’ responsibility to respect human rights.
Why should companies meet voluntary standards and aspire to certification?
Certification is good for social and environmental reasons, but more importantly, it makes good commercial sense.
The ISEAL Alliance recently examined why companies were choosing certification as a way to meet their sustainable sourcing goals and what the business benefits are for those that do (see link). They interviewed businesses (retailers, manufacturers, traders and others) on what they saw as the value of working with credible sustainability standards or certification systems.
- Market differentiation and increased sales.
- Making complex supply chains more understandable, simplifying what is asked of suppliers by using agreed standards and generating better relations with producers.
- Mitigating risk. Rigorous auditing, transparency of origin, and outsourcing assurance of responsible practices to local experts helped companies mitigate risks of sourcing from complex supply chains.
- Ensuring sustainable supply for the whole industry, strengthening the reputation and ensuring a sustainable future for the whole sector.
- Meeting consumer expectations. By communicating compliance with sustainability standards, companies said they were increasing consumer awareness of sustainable sourcing and creating market differentiation for their products.
- Reflecting a company’s values and heritage. As well as aligning companies’ goals with their values and maintaining trust, certification also provided a way to engage more deeply with employees.
Will there be a premium for ASI Aluminium?
ASI has a strong commitment to competition law compliance, and will play no role in commercial arrangements between suppliers and customers or in setting prices or premiums. It is likely that when there is sufficient volume and market interest, price reporting agencies will seek to gather data on this, as is done for other regional premiums in the metals sector.