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Global Aluminium Can Sustainability Summit: Industry Leaders Endorse Transition Strategy for Net-Zero Sector


The Mission Possible Partnership's (MPP) transition strategy for the aluminum industry, aimed at achieving a net-zero and 1.5°C-aligned sector, has received the endorsement of the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) and its members, including aluminum beverage can manufacturers and can sheet producers. By endorsing this strategy, the aluminum beverage can industry intends to reduce the carbon footprint associated with the primary aluminum used in beverage cans. This commitment contributes to the collective efforts against climate change.
Over the years, the carbon footprint of aluminum beverage cans manufactured in North America has significantly decreased by almost 50%. Supporting and implementing the MPP strategy will lead to further reductions in the carbon footprint of aluminum beverage cans, thanks to the adoption of primary aluminum with a lower carbon profile.
To achieve the goal of transitioning the aluminum industry to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to preindustrial levels, various actions are necessary. These actions include the adoption of new technologies, decarbonizing power supply, and enhancing material and product efficiency. The MPP aluminum transition strategy provides a feasible and practical plan. By endorsing this strategy, members of the CMI aluminum beverage can sector emphasize the importance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and acknowledge the need for prompt actions to support the transition.
Increasing the recycled content used in new aluminum beverage cans is another effective way to reduce their carbon footprint. Currently, aluminum beverage cans manufactured in the United States have an average recycled content of 73%, the highest among all beverage containers. If the industry successfully achieves the stated aluminum beverage can recycling rate targets set by CMI and its members, the reliance on primary aluminum will decrease further. These targets include reaching a 70% recycling rate by 2030, an 80% rate by 2040, and a 90% rate by 2050, building upon the industry's position as the most recycled beverage container in the United States with a 45% recycling rate in 2020. CMI's Aluminum Beverage Can Recycling Primer and Roadmap outline the necessary steps to achieve these targets. Increasing the recycling of aluminum beverage cans will have positive environmental and economic impacts, while exemplifying the principles of the circular economy as these cans return to store shelves in as little as 60 days after being recycled.
“Our strategy has two parallel paths to further reduce the carbon footprint of the aluminum beverage can— lower the carbon footprint of any primary aluminum incorporated into beverage cans and increase the recovery of used beverage cans so the recycled content in new cans increases,” said Scott Breen, CMI’s vice president of sustainability.
“Our members have shown leadership in both of these areas by endorsing Mission Possible Partnership’s strategy to foster a net-zero, 1.5°C-aligned aluminum industry and by committing to ambitious U.S. aluminum beverage can recycling rate targets.”
These endorsements were the result of the Global Aluminium Can Sustainability Summit held in September 2022, which brought together over 100 leaders from the aluminum beverage can value chain. The event was co-organized by CMI and the International Aluminium Institute, with funding from Ardagh Metal Packaging and Crown Holdings. One of the key areas of focus during the summit was aluminum decarbonization. As part of the summit, a representative from MPP unveiled the transition strategy for the aluminum sector, marking its first public presentation.
Implementing the transition strategy for the sector will require significant time and investment. MPP estimates that a cumulative investment of approximately $1 trillion across the primary production value chain will be necessary to achieve a net-zero sector or align with the 1.5°C pathway. CMI, along with its aluminum beverage can manufacturer members (Ardagh Metal Packaging, CANPACK, Crown Holdings, and Envases), aluminum beverage can sheet producer members (Constellium, Kaiser Aluminum, Novelis, and Tri-Arrows Aluminum), and its partner and fellow endorser, The Aluminum Association, will collaborate with various stakeholders both within and outside the industry to facilitate the required actions and investments for this transition strategy.