Environmental

Making aluminium for the benefit of all, including nature. It is with this in mind that, since our inception, we have made a genuine effort to positively impact society and the environment.

We make a positive
impact on the environment

One of the greatest testaments to CBA’s commitment to sustainability is its certification against the ASI Performance Standard and Chain of Custody Standard, which was first obtained in 2019 and renewed in 2020. This certification attests that CBA’s aluminium conforms to internationally recognized social, environmental and governance standards across the aluminium lifecycle.

CBA’s ASI certification currently covers:

  • CBA’s Corporate Offices, in São Paulo (SP)
  • Three bauxite mining operations in Minas Gerais — Poços de Caldas, Itamarati de Minas and Miraí
  • Processes at the aluminium plant in Alumínio (SP): Refinery, Smelters, Casthouses and Downstream
  • Processes at the Itapissuma mill (PE): Casthouse and Downstream
  • CBA’s complete product portfolio, from billets and ingots to sheet, rolled products and anodized and coated extruded profiles
Selo_CBA_ASI_site

The value of recycling

Recycling process scrap is one of the most important processes at CBA. Recycling provides an additional source of raw materials in the value chain by reusing scrap produced on- and off-site. This supports not only higher production volumes but also increased cost efficiency. It also provides savings on raw materials, inputs and electric power, generating higher value-added aluminium and reduced environmental impact.

Scrap recycling is carried out at Alumínio and Itapissuma and on a dedicated basis at Metalex.

As part of an effort to maximize consumption of recycled materials and reduce inventories, CBA blended slow-moving with fast-moving inventories to increase consumption of internal process scrap.

In 2020, Metalex reformulated its brand positioning to underline its commitment to sustainability and innovation.

INNOVATION IN RECYCLING

In 2020 CBA made an important breakthrough that will enable multilayer packaging containing aluminium to be fully recycled. Currently only the paper portion of multilayer cartons, for example, can be recycled back into the process. The plastic and aluminium are reprocessed together, creating new materials. This poses a major obstacle from a circular-economy perspective. Flexible packaging, another multilayered material, is non-recyclable with current technologies and is often disposed of in landfills.

The innovative physical and chemical process developed at CBA—dubbed ReAl—uses an alkaline solution that can isolate the plastic from any of these packaging materials, allowing the aluminium to be recycled. Unlike aluminium, plastic will not react in an alkaline solution, and can be cleanly removed from the process and then fully recycled. In addition to the benefit of recycling the aluminium and plastic layers, the process will generate hydrogen that can be used to produce clean energy on-site.

The proprietary process will create added value for the entire packaging supply chain and its different actors, at low operating costs.

CBA’s ReAl technology has now been patented and the recycling plant is due to begin operating in 2022, increasing packaging recycling rates in line with Brazil’s National Solid Waste Policy. Learn more about the initiative in the infographic opposite.

Helping the climate

Climate change is today one of society’s chief concerns. The aluminium industry is generally seen as carbon-intensive due to its consumption of fossil fuels and electricity in production. Because CBA produces low-carbon aluminium — with most of the Company’s electricity requirement sourced from clean hydroelectric dams owned by the Company — this provides a competitive advantage. In 2020, CBA incorporated climate change into its methodology for assessing strategic and operational risks.

CBA’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory was awarded Gold level reporting status in the Brazilian GHG Protocol Program.

The Company responded for the first time to the CDP’s climate change disclosures questionnaire, receiving a Leadership-level score of A-.

Greenhouse gas emissions
(in thousands of metric tons of CO2eq)

Biomass
to steam

In March 2020, a new wood-chip biomass boiler started operation at the Alumina Refinery, replacing natural gas- or oil-fueled boilers.

The boiler is now in steady-state operation, providing two important benefits:

• Significantly lower scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions compared to 2019 (from 0.55 to 0.31 tCO2e/t aluminium oxide).

• Cost savings, as biomass is cheaper compared to the previously used fossil fuels.

In total,
Alumina Refinery
emissions fell

46.2%

from 2019,
largely thanks to the
new boiler system.

Drier and safer dams

In 2020 CBA installed automated instruments that now provide monitoring data in real time. The Company also invested in topographic monitoring using unmanned aerial vehicles, which make surveying more accurate and versatile.

Progress was made on a dry staking project that will change the method of disposal of residue from the alumina refinery. Removing most of the water from the residue will allow the Company to switch from wet disposal (with a low concentration of solids) to dry disposal. The refinery currently produces approximately 1,600 metric tons per day of residue, with a 45% solids concentration. Once the filter presses have been commissioned, most of the water will return to the production process, and only dry residue — with a 75% concentration of solids — will be disposed of at the Palmital Dam. CBA is investing R$ 298.3 million in building the filter presses at Palmital. Construction began in 2019 and is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

Drills

In 2020 CBA conducted emergency drills involving the communities surrounding its dams, municipal and state civil defense departments, environmental authorities, fire departments, and municipal health departments.

The drill at the Palmital dam was supported by a newly developed Dam Warning app. The app shows users the dam’s flood footprint and the location of muster points in the city, and was developed so drill participants could check in using the app without having to go to the muster points. This avoided large gatherings at these locations.

A total of
467
app-based check-ins

were made,
representing 84%
of the number of
app downloads.

Producing biodiversity

CBA produces aluminium, but also forests and biodiversity. It is part of the Company’s management approach to identify, prevent, control and mitigate environmental impacts from its operations and promote continuous improvement in environmental quality. The Company achieves this both through direct actions — such as enrichment planting and monitoring — and by raising employee and community environmental awareness in the municipalities where it operates.

As part these practices, CBA:

  • Rehabilitates mined land, which embraces the processes of re-sloping, soil improvement, plantation and maintenance.

Invested
11.5 million
in the Legado das Águas and
Legado Verdes do Cerrado reserves in 2020.

  • Owns the Legado Verdes do Cerrado (“Cerrado Green Legacy”) reserve (32,000 hectares preserved in Goiás) and is a cofounder of the Legados das Águas (“Water Legacy”) reserve (31,000 hectares of Atlantic Forest in São Paulo), two private reserves managed by Reservas Votorantim.