Brazil’s largest aluminium co to set science-based target

By The We Mean Business coalition | August 21, 2020

Brazil’s largest aluminium producer Companhia Brasileira de Aluminio (CBA) has committed to setting a science-based target (SBT) aligned with the Business Ambition for 1.5ºC campaign.

CBA is the first Brazilian company to offer certified sustainable aluminium. The company has a total annual production of around 480,000 tons, which it produces from beginning to end – from mining bauxite through to producing aluminum ingots, sheets and coil. 

In addition to being self-sufficient in the extraction of bauxite, the company also produces all the energy it uses and is one of the leaders in industrial recycling in the sector.

As part of the Business Ambition for 1.5ºC campaign, CBA commits to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5ºC, in line with what’s required by the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement. 

The International Energy Agency (IEA) ranks the aluminium sub sector as the fourth-largest industrial energy consumer and CO2 emitter, representing 4% (6.2 exajoules) of final industrial energy demand and 3% of total direct CO2 emissions from industrial sources (261 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or MtCO2e/year). 

The number of metals companies committed to science-based targets is growing, including German steel company Klöckner & Co, the largest steel producer in Europe Outokumpu Oyj and Italian steel company Manni Group. India’s Mahindra Sanyo Special Steel became the first steel company to have an approved SBT in 2018. 

Most recently, Chilean steel mining company Aceros AZA S.A committed to an SBT, becoming the first Chilean metals company to do so. While aluminium producers Ball Corporation in the US and South Africa’s Hulamin are also committed. 

In the cement industry, two of the world’s largest cement producers LafargeHolcim and HeidelbergCement have approved SBTs, and India’s largest producer Ultratech Cement has committed to set one. 

Buildings and construction account for more than 35% of global final energy use and nearly 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions, according to the UN Global Status Report. While cement, steel and glass are the key inputs of the built environment, according to the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), the aluminium sector contributes more than 1 gigatonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (Gt CO2e) to annual global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), roughly 2% of total anthropogenic emissions globally. 

These bold climate commitments from construction materials companies, signal the direction of travel for the entire built environment – ultimately helping to lay the foundations for the zero-carbon economy by mid-century.  

Setting a science-based target: What companies need to know

The world’s leading climate scientists and governments agree that it is essential to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 1.5°C. Science-based targets allow companies to work toward this goal by aligning corporate GHG reductions with global emissions budgets generated by climate models.

Science-based target setting can spur ambition and generate the innovations needed to transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy. This type of innovation can redefine companies’ bottom lines by creating new business models and sources of value, and by disrupting currently unsustainable economic systems.

Setting these targets in advance of carbon-related regulations will allow companies to be well equipped to respond to regulatory and policy changes.

Companies can demonstrate their robust commitments to reduce emissions and help mitigate global warming to investors and clients.

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