Fortune to List Green Giants, Aluminum Assoc. Takes Charge to Avoid Legislation  :  Published March 2007 All Rights Reserved


Fortune to List 'Green Giants,' Aluminum Assoc. Takes Charge to Avoid Legislation

It seems as though not a week passes now that some company, local municipality, or industry group lays out plans to address emissions control in the United States. During the week ending 24 March 2007 The Aluminum Association made public the group's “Position on Climate Change Policies” with the idea that under self-regulation Washington DC would keep its distance. On a wider scale, in the upcoming week Fortune magazine will release its top "Green Giant" companies for the magazine's first "Green Issue."

The Aluminum Association

Patrick Franc who is chairman of The Aluminum Association and president of ARCO Aluminum/BP said of self-regulation that, “We believe that it is important for the United States' aluminum industry to assume a leadership position in this cause for environmental sustainability of our industry and products, on a market-wide and global basis.”

The Aluminum Association recognizes that climate change presents a challenge that requires cooperative action and promotes international participation.

While the aluminum industry has made considerable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, according to Steve Larkin, president of the association, he said that contributions through recycling and downstream emissions reductions through better, less emitting automobiles, would help the United States and other countries protect the environment.

The Aluminum Association currently reduced overall energy consumption in total aluminum production by approximately 46 percent, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 38 percent. The industry sees opportunity for further reduction and supports policy that provides incentives for recycling.

Automotive applications show that replacing two pounds of traditional material with one pound of aluminum to lightweight a vehicle can save on a typical mid-size sedan 20 pounds of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of that vehicle. The use of automotive aluminum has doubled since 1991 and is expected to double again in the next decade.

The aluminum industry’s Voluntary Aluminum Industrial Partnership reduced PFC emissions 45 percent from 1990 to year 2000. "It supports an economy-wide, fair market-driven approach that may include a cap and trade program that limits greenhouse gas emissions. The approach should result in market incentives that stimulate investment and innovation in technologies necessary to grow while achieving environmental reduction targets," the group stated.

The aluminum industry operates about 200 plants in 30 states, employs about 100,000 people with approximately $3.5 billion on total payroll, and accounts for 16 percent of world supply or some 8 billion pounds of metal.

In 2003 the primary aluminum sector joined the United States' Climate Vision program to further reduce PFC emissions. This goal of 53 percent reduction on direct CO2 emissions (a combined direct carbon emission from 1990 to 2010 based upon PFC reductions and reduced anode carbon consumption) equates to an additional reduction of 25 percent since year 2000. This goal was surpassed in 2005 with a 56 percent reduction from 1990.

Fortune's Picks Turn Green

Some companies the association suggested would benefit from aluminum use made it onto the upcoming 2 April 2007 issue of Fortune magazine.

Fortune named Honda, Continental Airlines, Goldman Sachs, and Hewlett-Packard among the leading companies featured in the magazine's first special report showing those who have gone green for the sake of the environment.

Fortune chose 10 companies it determined reaches past what the law requires to operate in an environmentally responsible way. The companies cited by Fortune also included Suncor, Tesco, Alcan, PG&E, S.C. Johnson, and Swiss RE.  In separate stories, Fortune also noted the environmental efforts of Patagonia, DuPont, and California's governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The “10 Green Giants” and related stories appear on newsstands 26 March.

Magazine senior writer Marc Gunther reported in the upcoming issue that “big business and environmentalists used to be sworn enemies -- and for good reason. General Electric dumped toxins into the Hudson River. Wal-Mart bulldozed its way across [the United States.] DuPont was named the nation’s worst polluter. The response from the environmental movement: Mandate, regulate, and litigate. Those days are mostly over.

"Today big companies and activists are at least as apt to hammer out a partnership over a cup of sustainable grown coffee as to confront one another in court. No, they do not always see eye to eye, but the areas of common ground are getting broader. Why? For one thing, because there is money to be made,” Gunther wrote.

Fortune chose the companies recommended by environmentalists and consultants who have worked in the trenches of corporate United States. Fortune kept to larger companies because their environmental footprint is more important and left GE and Wal-Mart off the list citing those two polluters have already been covered extensively.

In “California Dreamin”  Nina Easton interviews Schwarzenegger for Fortune regarding his mission to make California and Republicans environmentally friendly. Schwarzenegger said that some politicians in the two party system do not understand the issues. "But I would say I have a tougher time selling those things to the Republicans,” Schwarzenegger was quoted. The governor said that with the issue of climate change, whether it is hype or not, the issue boils down to: "We know that is a phenomenon that is happening. We know that the water is rising. We know that we are polluting the world. All of this is reality.”


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