Novelis Sustainability Report 2013

In 2011, Novelis decided to strengthen their company by increasing their business’ sustainability and innovation. The most important component of their new vision is to use 80% recycled aluminum in all their products by 2020. Once they reach this goal, they will then halve their products’ embedded carbon.

In 2011, when Novelis set their intended goals, they used the average of fiscal years 2007-2009 as their standard. Some of their 2020 goals include:

  • Increase recycled metal content from the current 43% to 80%
  • Reduce energy usage by 39%, from the current 10 GJ/mt to 7.6
  • Reduce water usage by 25%, from the current 3.1 m3/mt to 2.7
  • Halve the absolute amount of GHG emissions, from the current 18 M mt to 11
  • Have zero landfill waste from the current 55.6 K mt

While the company is headquartered in Atlanta, George, there are also facilities in Sao Paulo, Zurich and Seoul, serving the beverage can, automotive and high-end specialty markets. There is a rising demand for aluminum in these markets, especially the automobile industry, since 2010 when Obama obligated car manufacturers to double their new-car average fuel economy by 2025. In 2013, the aluminum industry grew 25%, as aluminum allows for lightweighting vehicles, a crucial enabler in increasing fuel efficiency.

As mentioned before, another huge element of Novelis’ move to increase sustainability is to reduce the embedded carbon in their products, which can be done by boosting recycled content. By using more recycled materials and by creating fewer new materials, Novelis reduces their carbon footprint. They’ve recently invested almost $500 million in doubling their recycling space by opening two new recycling plants, one in South Korea and the other in Germany.

Novelis is directly addressing the global issue of climate change, particularly the current concern of the maximum safe limit for concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. The company’s method to decrease their GHG emissions can best be described as a life cycle approach, with a goal of reducing their emissions by 50% by 2020. This idea, coupled with increasing their recycled metal content to 80%, will help them reach their target.

Novelis has also incorporated supporting recycling education into their new vision, as well as advocating awareness and policy initiatives, which will escalate recycling rates and increase the company’s supply of post-consumer aluminum scrap. We at Phinix are huge proponents of all of the above, especially recycling education.

Take a look at Novelis’ website and the full report.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

January 28, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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“US Sees Boom in Global Energy Use” – Wall Street Journal, 26 July 2013

A recent report by the Department of Energy (DOE) states that, in the future, the world’s use of every kind of energy will escalate, including renewable energy. The report also indicates that China and India’s growing economies will be large factors in increased consumption.

By 2040, global use of energy — mainly for electricity and transportation needs — will skyrocket by 56%, half of that energy being used by India and China. At the same time, global economic growth will boost demand for renewable energies, such as wind and solar power; however, fossil fuels — oil, coal and natural gas — will reign supreme, and remain the world’s preferred energy sources. By the end of 2040, these fossil fuels will constitute 80% of world energy use.

The DOE’s report also projects that worldwide use of renewable energy will accelerate, becoming the fastest flourishing source of global electricity production, spurred by a large growth in hydroelectric dams and wind farms.

New technologies for fracking have allowed consumption of natural gas to surge, surpassing the use of oil and coal, while also allowing for more energy efficiency and energy independence in the US. Yet, burning more fossil fuels will release more carbon dioxide – the most common greenhouse gas that has been connected to climate change – emissions into the atmosphere. By 2040, emissions are predicted to increase by 46%.

Development of new energy sources with cost, environmental and abundance efficiency will be the greatest innovation that world is anxiously waiting for, and needs.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

August 1, 2013

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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“China Weighs Environmental Costs” – Wall Street Journal, 23 July 2013

China’s growing economy has had a severely negative impact on its environment. As a tactic to reverse the threats of climate change, the Chinese Government announced it would “name and shame” China’s worst cities and factories into publicly revealing their environmental standards. The government has also set a goal of curbing emissions in major industries by 30% by the end of 2017.

China’s pollution has taken its toll on its citizens: this month, a new study revealed that air pollution from coal combustion has decreased life expectancy by over five years in various areas of the country. Previously in 2013, a harsh smog over China and stocks of rice — contaminated with the toxin cadmium — produced public outrage.

The Chinese government has been met with much opposition, namely from local governments, which will make it even that more difficult to implement and carry out new environmental policy; many local governments work on a system that remunerates officials solely based on economic performance. Beijing will be the first city to promote local officials on both economic and environmental accomplishments.

China has pledged to control its energy intensity — energy used per unit of economic output — there is little chance that we will see a direct descent in emissions. Just recently, China and the US both decided to scale back on a particular type of greenhouse gas; but China retorted that developed countries must set an example by successfully limiting carbon emissions.

For the last few years, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has calculated the country’s “green GDP”, as a means to estimate the unseen costs of its environmental indifference. The ministry’s study discovered that in 2010, the cost of pollution was almost 1.5 trillion yuan, or $250 billion, or 3.5% of 2010′s GDP; in 2004, the cost was 511.8 billion yuan, 3.1% of China’s GDP that year.

Climate change is a global issue. China is now the second-largest global economy and the largest emitter of GHG. Fortunately, China is slowing down, and steadily examining and balancing conflicting goals and resultant policies between short-term economic pressures and long-term environmental considerations.

With global economic slowdown, it will be politically and economically difficult, if not impossible, for developed countries to act unilaterally, unless developing countries — such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and newly added South Africa (BRICS) — do their part.

To compound and complicate this situation even further, an education program must be initiated to “convert” a large population of “climate change deniers” in many countries, including the US.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

July 31, 2013

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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“Climate Change Will Cause More Energy Breakdowns, U.S. Warns” – New York Times, 11 July 2013

The US’s energy system — oil wells, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants — is becoming more and more defenseless to the effects of climate change; a prime example were the blackouts experienced during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The condition of our energy system will only worsen, as the world endures harsher storms, climbing temperatures and drier seasons.

At the beginning of this year, the NOAA reported that 2012 was the hottest year on record for the lower 48 states. The effects are seen from power plants, which are either shutting down or downsizing, to barges transporting oil and coal, which can’t make it through waterways due to low water levels.

Last year’s record-high temperatures led way to a record-setting drought, affecting large portions of the Southwest and Midwest, and leaving litter water available to cool fossil fuel plants and generate hydroelectric power. Almost 60% of the nation’s coal plants can be found in parts of the US with possible water deficiencies spurred by climate change.

The US Department of Energy predicts that air conditioning demand on the west coast will necessitate an additional 34 gigawatts of electricity production by 2050 — equal to building 100 new power plants — and will come with a hefty price tag of over $40 billion.

Steps towards reducing the emissions that have greatly reshaped our climate are much needed, but won’t be felt for a long time. The increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have shifted our climate into total disarray, the last 150 years of rising emissions built into our energy system.

In the meantime, states and the federal government should begin efforts to reinforce their cities against the increasingly relentless weather.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

July 18, 2013

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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