2007 Jury Citation
The Jury is pleased to award the 2007 WEC Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development to Alcan for its comprehensive integration of sustainability into its business decision making and
operations. Alcan, headquartered in Montreal, Canada, is one of the world’s leading suppliers of bauxite, alumina and aluminum, and a top-ranked provider of engineered and packaging products.
Early on Alcan realized that to be successful as a business it needed to incorporate economic, environmental and social considerations into its long-term business strategy, daily activities and decisions. Alcan views leadership in this area as directly linked to profitability and the creation of long-term shareholder and stakeholder value. As a concrete expression of Alcan’s desire to further embed sustainability within its business model, Alcan re-organized its Community Investment Program in 2003, reorienting it towards sustainability as the Signature Contribution of the Company. The program is an exemplary model of strategic corporate philanthropy in that just as Alcan's operations contribute to the quality of life in its host communities, Alcan recognizes that the Company's long-term success depends on community support for its operations, products and services.
Alcan’s management system has consistently evolved to meet changing needs. Initially, the tradition of business conduct was taken a step further by outlining the fundamental operating principles in its guidance document. Life cycle analysis was introduced into the operations and decision making and in 1996, a sharper focus, Alcan’s Code of Conduct, was produced as a worldwide code.
Early in 2001, Alcan began to adopt a more rigorous and consistent management approach, a value-based management model that highlights its governing objective, Maximizing Value. As a result, the integrated policy EHS FIRST was launched and complemented by Alcan’s first sustainability report and its Continuous Improvement Program, which subsequently evolved to Alcan’s Integrated Management System (AIMS).
AIMS guides Alcan’s effort to generate maximum value and long-term growth, contains clear and quantifiable objectives and is based on three components—value based management, continuous improvement, and integrated EHS management. A program of Talent Management which provides employees with the tools required to realize their full potential and expands the gender and multi-cultural talent pool complements AIMS.
Implementation of sustainability is under the direction of Alcan’s Sustainability Steering Team which ensures that sustainability is integrated throughout the mainstream business strategy and culture.
Alcan is a leader in terms of innovative science and technology resulting in improvements in production process and performance. Commitment to product life cycle concerns enables Alcan to respond to social demands.
Cutting edge aluminum smelting technology permits Alcan to account for 80% of all new industry smelting capacity brought into production since 1990, in the western world. Pioneering automobile materials and technologies and vehicle design result in more efficient vehicles and emissions reduction. Utilizing new
technologies and materials offers promise of improved energy efficiency in air and rail transport and innovative packaging products.
Implementation of world-class processes enabled Alcan to reduce greenhouse gas and other air emissions- from 2001 to 2005. Alcan surpassed its original objective of 800,000 tons of CO2 reduction with a 3.5 million ton reduction. Objectives for the period 2006 to 2010, include a further reduction of specific direct smelting emissions by 10%. In 2004, implementation of EHS FIRST on a companywide basis resulted in a 33% improvement in the lost-time injury/illness rate and a 37% improvement in the recordable case rate.
Alcan feels it is incumbent upon the Company to contribute to sustainability challenges around the world through strategic partnerships. The partnerships include the UN Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum. In collaboration with these and numerous other industrial, government and NGO groups, Alcan applies its effort to addressing issues of human rights, business futures, sustainable development, combating corruption and bribery, and reporting guidelines.
Much of Alcan’s leadership initiatives focus on cooperation and supporting developing economies in countries where they operate. In Ghana, for example, providing sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation, enhancing primary education, reducing child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS are addressed.
Many Alcan executives play key roles in these and other organizations and efforts. Alcan is never satisfied with meeting expectations but exceeding them through the use of ground-breaking agreements.
Alcan’s Signature Contribution is its Community Investment Program (CIP) which is based on a platform of sustainability and reflects corporate priorities while generating positive impact for the recipient communities. Priority projects are identified and selected based on their ability to educate and contribute to the understanding of sustainability of young people and stakeholders while positioning Alcan as a sustainability leader.
The Community Investment Program emphasizes high profile signature projects that have significant leveraging capabilities and maximum opportunities for success. Three CIP Projects include: the Alcan Prize for Sustainability that is designed to recognize and reward sustainable contributions. Recipients of the prize are selected by an external and independent panel and to date the prize has been awarded to the Forest Stewardship Council and the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services Pakistan; the Plus Network Initiative to create networks of
cities sharing expertise on sustainable urban planning; and Alcan Builds on Recycling, a program for recycling aluminum cans in support of Habitat for Humanity activities.
In 2005, Alcan contributed US$ 11.2 million through CIP. Each of the chosen projects is characterized by its enduring qualities with highest priority given to projects that integrate the three pillars of sustainability.
Alcan recognizes that its corporate and ethical business responsibilities include investing in a sustainable fashion in the communities where it operates. Alcan’s governing objective of Maximizing Value expands the notion of value beyond economic considerations through the direct integration of sustainability into its business practices and world-class R&D culture throughout the entire value chain. Given its global reach, Alcan serves as a model for meeting global sustainability challenges. The Jury is proud to designate Alcan for the 2007 WEC Gold Medal Award for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development.