Embracing the concept of sustainability for a business first of all means showing responsibility.
For our owners, we have a responsibility to deliver value. For our employees, we aim to offer reliable employment, fair working conditions, and a safe work environment. For our customers, we are responsible for the quality of our products and services – classically, this is meeting the customers’ specifications related to alloy type, quantity, time of delivery etc. Beyond that we recognize our responsibility to prevent wasting natural resources and energy as well as to carefully manage our emissions and releases into the environment. These are mere starting points for a long journey. But we see our entire industry transform from cost-orientation to sustainability-orientation - a transformation which is demanded from both society and customers. At REAL ALLOY, our mission is to capture the inherent economic value of recycled Aluminium by offering environmentally responsible processing solutions.
We understand today’s imperative for sustainable resources and are proud to supply our customers with high-quality recycled Aluminium and Magnesium. In comparison to primary Aluminium the production of our alloys requires much less energy and results in far lower CO2 emissions. This process-based advantage is complemented by continual improvement of our operations, efficient and intelligent sourcing, development alongside the entire recycling value chain, and the employment of digital solutions. This all will help us to futher reduce our ecological footprint and to successfully work towards sustainability.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
AND MANAGING DIRECTOR EUROPE
REAL ALLOY is the European and global market leader in third-party Aluminium recycling and specification alloy production. We convert Aluminium scrap and by-products into reusable Aluminium metal for a growing number of applications across various industries.
Our customers can choose from an extensive range of cast and wrought alloys made from Aluminium scrap and metal, delivered to their door in the form of molten metal, Recycled Secondary Ingots (RSI), small ingots, or cones. Additionally, we also produce various magnesium alloys based on Magnesium scrap and metal, delivered as solid ingot form. With six facilities in three countries in Europe, REAL ALLOY is ideally positioned to respond to the needs of an increasingly recycling-conscious world.
Advanced technologies enable us to process a large variety of scrap types and skimmings. Therefore, our products are widely based on low CO2 footprints. This report summarises the efforts towards sustainability at REAL ALLOY with our German sites Grevenbroich, Deizisau, and Töging, our Norwegian sites Eidsvåg and Raudsand, and our site in Swansea, UK.
REAL ALLOY's employees are spread across six production sites in Europe, yet they are all united by the REAL ALLOY mission. We share a passion for excellence and are committed to integrity and accountability. At each site, our teams foster an environment of trust and empowerment, where good ideas are encouraged and setbacks are viewed as learning opportunities. Always tuned in to the bigger picture, we are motivated by a strong sense of responsibility towards our colleagues, customers, suppliers, other business partners, and our communities.
Our values define what we stand for. In addition, our policies provide a framework and directions and set clear expectations on an ethical and responsible approach to business not only for all our managers and employees, but also for our suppliers. They describe how our business partners and all our stakeholders may expect us to operate. Among these REAL ALLOY policies are:
Respect for Human Rights, including Women's Rights, and Labour Rights are foundations of our corporate culture. We have a clear commitment to legal compliance and strictly oppose any form of discrimination and harassment, child labour or forced labour or any other un-ethical behaviour. By joining the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative in November 2019 we have made a clear commitment towards sustainability:
To this end we have also strengthened our organization by allocating additional resources to both sustainability and health & safety.
With Aluminium recycling at the core of our business, Aluminium stewardship is an inherent part of our corporate “fabric”. Thus, becoming a member of ASI seems a natural step for us to make. We are looking forward to becoming a part of the ASI community and to benefit from as much as contribute to the sharing and learning offered by their members.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND
MANAGING DIRECTOR EUROPE
We seek to outperform our competition fairly and honestly. We seek competitive advantages through superior performance and our processes, never through unethical or illegal business practices.
Dr. Claudia Schiffer.
All employees are invited and expected to actively contribute to an environmentally compliant and safe workplace by following health & safety rules and practices and reporting accidents, injuries and unsafe equipment, practices or conditions. This requires them to understand the hazards and risks and to know about safe work practices. It also includes, if necessary, the authority to stop or refuse unsafe work.
REAL ALLOY’s Code of Conduct references Human Rights, including Women’s Rights, and Labour Rights. We are committed to provide a work environment that is free of unlawful discrimination and harassment. REAL ALLOY expects all employees to treat one another with respect, dignity and professionalism. The company will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any form directed toward employees, applicants, contractors, customers, vendors or others on the basis of an individual’s race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability or any other characteristic protected under applicable law.
REAL ALLOY wants it clearly understood that all its directors, officers, employees and agents are expected to adhere to the company’s Code of Conduct. Those who violate the standards of the code are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
We continually look to improve the way we work, and our employees are always committed to delivering the right result. Sharing best practices among teams and different sites around our organization, performing structured process analyses, and applying Six Sigma tools helps REAL ALLOY capture and inspire creativity and innovation.
By complying with the various management system standards, we have decided not only to comply with all corresponding legal obligations, but also to improve our operational performance and efficiency continuously and systematically. These certifications are therefore one more important step on our way to sustainable business practices. The introduction of ISO-based certified management systems in our two Norwegian plants is already included in the strategic planning for the further development of our system, just like including more sites into the ASI certification after now starting with Deizisau.
The effectiveness and appropriateness of the management system is reviewed and monitored through structured and regular meetings involving all levels of the company. Regular business and operations reviews, dedicated HSEQ and project management reviews are complemented by regular team, functional, and cross functional meetings. These follow standardised reporting formats and are, where necessary, amended by ad hoc reports and information to senior management and all responsible managers of operational and functional units.
Based on our ability to influence business partners and suppliers we support and encourage efforts towards a more sustainable supply chain of our goods and services by
- identifying the key suppliers of the goods and services;
- assessing the environmental, social and governance risks associated with our key suppliers;
- using the outcomes of the risk assessment to inform the selection of our suppliers and attempt to influence positive and sustainable changes in our supply chain.
- Suppliers are expected to comply with all locally applicable laws and regulations.
Respect for Human and Labour Rights is essential to REAL ALLOY. Our suppliers are expected to respect these values, including
- Prevention of forced labour, child labour and human trafficking;
- Compliance with legal requirements on working hours, wages and benefits;
- Respecting the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining.
- Suppliers shall offer a safe and healthy work environment that complies with applicable laws and regulation and takes into account recognized standards in their respective industry.
- Suppliers are expected to avoid pollution, to reduce emissions, including greenhouse gas emissions, and other releases to the environment, and to enhance resource and energy efficiency with all reasonable effort. They should carefully manage the use of hazardous chemicals and comply with all applicable requirements like CLP regulations, REACh, RoHS, etc.
- Suppliers are encouraged to implement appropriate management systems, for example based on ISO 14001 (environment), ISO 50001 (energy), ISO 45001 (occupational health & safety).
- Within their scope of activities, suppliers are expected to take adequate preventive measures to protect privacy of personal data of employees, customers, and other business partners.
For the Grevenbroich, Töging, and Eidsvåg sites, which fall under the (lower tier) requirements of the Seveso Directive, corresponding information is offered via our website.
REAL ALLOY’s corporate culture embodies the principles of transparency and respect for others. Our ability to operate efficiently and sustainably in the European market requires consistent and professional communication. We adhere, therefore, to the principles of transparency, honesty and accountability when interacting with our stakeholders.
This 2020 Sustainability Report marks a new level of transparency as REAL ALLOY refers to the reporting structure and comprehensiveness as formulated by the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative. Those guide us in our ambition to demonstrate responsibility and provide transparency about our performance.
Via this hotline, hosted by external ethics and compliance experts, employees can anonymously raise their concern – either per web or per tollfree phone call in their language (English, German, Norwegian). Grievance or complaint mechanisms are important to understand the impact of REAL ALLOY’s operations in its surrounding communities. Grievances may be of any kind, including social and environmental issues.
Each entry from the community is forwarded to the appropriate internal function and reviewed, if necessary, with additional expertise from other functions. The complainant receives an immediate confirmation of receipt and a timely response on the matter raised.
Special information for the local communities, which are required by national law (§ 8a Störfall-Verordnung in Germany, § 12 Storulykkeforskriften in Norway) are published on the corporate website.
Aluminium and Magnesium are light materials, which demonstrate a high degree of strength. They are corrosion-resistant, excellent conductors of heat, and can be easily molded and processed. These qualities make Aluminium and Magnesium suitable for intelligent product solutions and commercial applications.
Best of all: The recycling process for these metals is hugely more energy and CO2 efficient than their primary production: Recycling Aluminium requires only about 5 percent of the energy needed for primary Aluminium production. This makes recycling of these metals a must-do in terms of sustainability!
REAL ALLOY’s recycling of Aluminium and Magnesium into new input materials for industrial production is an important contribution towards a circular economy. It helps preserve natural resources and minerals as well as energy while maintaining highest quality of the recycled products.
REAL ALLOY has the knowledge, experience, and technical equipment to recycle a large variety of different raw materials, whether generated from production processes, or available as post-consumer scrap. These include, for example, turnings, cuttings, foils, shredded scrap, incinerator scrap, skimmings, and drosses. They can be converted into different shapes and quality grades to meet the needs of customers in a broad variety of industry segments.
Solid Aluminium or Magnesium is produced according to customer demands in line with quality and chemical specifications and also presenting low CO2 footprints.
REAL ALLOY is member of various trade associations within the Aluminium and Magnesium industry, both at European and at national level. This includes memberships with European Aluminium (EA), Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), Gesamtverband der Aluminiumindustrie (GDA), Wirtschaftsvereinigung Metalle (WVM) and Aluminium Federation (ALFED). Members of the management and corporate experts participate in committees and task forces, engage in relevant discussions and contribute to sharing and learning efforts. We report data and information to these associations to support industry wide efforts towards improved transparency and sustainability. In 2019 we joined the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) – an important step for REAL ALLOY in developing a consistent and coherent corporate sustainability strategy.
Remelting consumes only about 5 percent of the energy needed for primary production. In addition, both materials lose none of their properties through recycling. This has two advantages; the metal retains its value and can be reprocessed as often as is desired. Recycled alloys are therefore the logical choice for environmentally conscious customers who want greater efficiency in their metal supply. With decades of experience, state-of-the-art technologies, and the constant development of new and environmentally friendly processes, REAL ALLOY can provide the best possible Aluminium and Magnesium recycling solutions, while consuming as little energy and as few additives as possible.
For Aluminium, typical end-of-life (EOL) scrap types are used beverage cans (UBC), window profiles, incinerator scrap or market scrap. REAL ALLOY offers long-standing experience, the required know-how and state-of-the-art technology for sourcing and processing these scrap types. We are familiar with the main challenges around processing such scrap, for example due to contaminations with other materials or varying alloy compositions in scraps from different uses. Our sampling and testing routines are designed to control the remelting process and the product quality levels closely.
As an international recycler of Aluminium and Magnesium scrap and skimmings, our business model revolves around resource efficiency, environmental protection, and energy management. The focus of our operations is reclaiming valuable metal from waste and returning it back into the cycle of valuable products.
The environmental impact of our business activities is regularly and comprehensively monitored and documented. Waste reduction, the prevention of emissions to air and water, and decreasing the noise and odor emissions are given high priority. Nevertheless, substantial positive environmental impact results from the resource and energy savings through the recycling of more than 330,000 tonnes of valuable Aluminium and Magnesium from a large variety of production and post-consumer scrap in the reporting period 2020.
Compared to the average carbon footprint of primary Aluminium used in Europe (8.6 kg CO2/kg Al according to European Aluminium, Environmental Profile Report 2018), the amount of Aluminium recycled by REAL ALLOY in 2020 saved more than 2,690,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Additional energy savings result from the shipment of liquid Aluminium: With every kilogramm of liquid Aluminium delivered, the customer saves approximately 0.3 kWh of energy that would otherwise have to be spent on heating up and melting down the Aluminium.
Taking into account that modern melting furnaces have an efficiency of about 60 percent, the savings from liquid instead of solid metal delivery increases to over 80,000 MWh or almost 18,700 tonnes of CO2.
But the supply of liquid metal also promotes resource and energy efficiency in another important aspect: When solid metal is melted down, about 1 percent of the metal used is usually lost through re-oxidation to Aluminium oxide. So, our supply of liquid metal also saves the material, the energy, and the CO2 emissions which would have been consumed or generated when replacing this lost 1 percent by primary metal production. In 2020, approximately 1,600 tonnes of metal were thus obtained through our liquid deliveries. In the EU, the production of 1 tonne of primary metal requires about 18.7 MWh of energy corresponding to about 6.7 tons of CO2 emissions. For our 1,600 tonnes, this corresponds to almost 30,000 MWh of energy and more than 10,000 tons of CO2 emissions saved in 2020.
For us at REAL ALLOY, CO2 emissions are dominated by the emissions resulting from the natural gas we use in our furnaces, heating stations, etc. This again represents the overwhelming part of our energy cost. In addition, we – either directly or indirectly – pay a price for all our CO2 emissions, for example through the cost associated with the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). Reducing our specific CO2 emissions is equivalent to reducing the energy consumption which again is an important driver for the financial success of our company.
Compared against our emission levels in 2010, our emission levels in 2019 were approximately 12 percent lower. We certainly need to continue our efforts to further improve. In November 2020, we therefore decided to set ourselves a mid-term target:
We expect that – among other projects to be started in year 2021 – new crucible heating stations in Grevenbroich and Töging will help us make the next steps towards improved energy and carbon efficiency.
In addition, we assess all options for improving the efficiency of our consumption of all relevant energies, i.e. electric power, natural gas, and transportation fuels. This includes all natural gas powered furnace and burner operations, electrical drives (especially bag house fans or compressors), combined heat and power generation (CHP) and the use of industrial waste heat, optimized transportation routing of vehicles, both onsite and offsite, or optimized just-in-time and just-in-sequence material flows. Where possible, switching to green electricity and biogas will also be considered.
Our greenhouse gas emissions are given as CO2 emissions, covering scope 1 (direct emissions from the use of fossil fuels in own installations and equipment) and scope 2 (emissions from externally sourced electricity), as defined in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
Scope 1 covers emissions from the use of natural gas (and Propane in Norway) as well as from Diesel consumption by our forklifts, wheel loaders, and internal mobile equipment. Scope 2 covers purchased electricity, but without taking account of the fact that we have purchased green power certificates for the electricity consumption of our Deizisau and Töging sites. The data are based on information from REAL ALLOY’s accounting systems. In addition, the data from the German sites are reviewed and checked via our ISO 50001 energy management audits and also externally validated in the course of the reporting into the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). The emission factors are also taken from the ETS.
- Dust from handling dusty input and output materials and from our melting processes;
- Nitrous oxides (NOx) from the natural gas based combustion processes;
- Hydrogen chloride (HCl) and Hydrogen fluoride (HF), from the flux (Chloride and Fluoride salts) in our furnaces and also from organic contaminants in some scraps;
- Chlorine (Cl2), used to refine our metal according to customer specifications;
- Traces of Dioxins and Furanes (PCDD/PCDF) from the thermal treatment of scrap which is contaminated with organics.
- Production scrap – like drosses, skimmings, turnings, foil and sheet scrap, casting scraps, etc.;
- Post-consumer scrap – like used beverage cans (UBC), scrap from construction applications, incinerator scrap (the Aluminium fraction collected from waste incinerator ashes), etc.
The next important waste type is filter dust, generated in our filter systems designed to reduce the emissions from our processes to legally permissible levels according to our permits. Again, the majority of this filter dust is being recycled.
None of our operations involve new land use. With most of our scraps sourced from local or regional sources also the introduction or spreading of alien species represent a negligible risk. Overall, our impact on biodiversity is defined and minimized by our operation within the given permits and regulatory framework.
Our Deizisau plant is the first to be certfied against the ASI Performance Standard. The plant was built as a greenfield plant in 2004 in a designated industrial area. It is designed to deliver molten recycled Aluminium directly to the cast houses of our customers. By delivering molten metal we help our customers save substantial amounts of energy and also CO2 emissions, since they do not have to re-melt solid metal themselves.
The plant is currently operating five melting/casting furnaces. The metal input consists of clean or only lightly contaminated scrap. The emissions from the furnaces are captured and treated in a modern filter system compliant with the most recent EU-based environmental requirements.
The main waste fraction, dross from the salt free melting process, is recycled in one of the other European REAL ALLOY plants. Only approximately 3 percent of the plant's waste was not recycled in 2020, most of this being filter dust from the filter system.
Apart from metal scrap and energy (natural gas, electricity, and Diesel fuel), the plant also uses adsorbent in its filter system to increase scrubbing efficiency for inorganic and organic pollutants.
In addition, Nitrogen gas and Chlorine are used to refine the molten metal according to our customers' specifications.
The plant receives water from the municipality and the main use is for sanitary purposes. In addition, water is needed to compensate for the evaporation losses and very small water discharge from the closed cooling systems of the plant. Cooling water and sanitary water are discharged to the municipal sewer system. Surface and stormwater are discharged directly to the adjacent river Neckar.
REAL ALLOY's employees are spread across six production sites in Europe, yet they are all united by the REAL ALLOY mission. We share a passion for excellence and are committed to integrity and accountability. At each site, our teams foster an environment of trust and empowerment, where good ideas are encouraged and setbacks are viewed as learning opportunities. Always tuned in to the bigger picture, we are motivated by a strong sense of responsibility towards our colleagues and our communities.
All our plants are located in the EU, Great Britain and Norway. All these countries maintain highest Human Rights standards in their legal frameworks and are signatories to the relevant Human Rights related declarations of the United Nations. Society and the general public also show strong engagement in all human rights related matters and questions. Within that framework and based on our own Code of Conduct, compliance with Human Rights is a must-have for our organization.
Each entry from the community is handled jointly by Communications, with additional expertise from special branches. The complainant receives an immediate confirmation of receipt and notice of a timely solution.
Special information for the local communities, which are required by national law (§ 8a Störfall-Verordnung in Germany, § 12 Storulykkeforskriften in Norway) are published on the corporate website.
Our goal is to continually increase the share of female representation at all levels of the organization. We support the career development of women at all levels. In 2020 the proportion of women in management team was 20 percent.
Cultural diversity is a part of everyday working life at Real Alloy. Awareness of different value systems and their influence on our daily behavior helps to meet the challenges of mixed teams.
We encourage learning across all generations. We promote knowledge transfer and a change of perspective between experienced and less experienced employees. The aging population in industrialized countries is a challenge for the companies. Regular demographic analysis helps us to understand the challenges we may be facing in the future and plan early enough the activities to prevent any workforce shortage.
At REAL ALLOY, we want all our employees, guests, visitors, and subcontractors to be safe! That is why every REAL ALLOY facility has a comprehensive health & safety program designed to prevent injuries and work-related illnesses. Many of our sites in Europe are certified according to recognised health & safety management standards, such as ISO 45001 or BS OHSAS 18001.
Even the plants that are not yet certified work in accordance with the individual standards. The aim is to harmonise processes across plants, with project teams working on the specific topics in accordance with the action plans.
This report is an update and advancement to our first sustainability brochure published in 2018. It is our first sustainability report by the means of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI). We became a so-called production & transformation member of the initiative in November 2019 and now aim for a first certification at our German site Deizisau. The report uses the ASI Performance Standard with its three overall chapters Governance, Environment, and Social as a reference point and covers REAL ALLOY’s operations in Europe with our German sites Grevenbroich, Deizisau, and Töging, our Norwegian sites Eidsvåg and Raudsand, and our site in Swansea, UK. Our European headquarter is also located in Grevenbroich. Data provided in this report are for the calendar year 2020, unless stated otherwise.
In most cases, this report is a reference measurement for further development and improvements which we will assess with further reports in the following years. Deizisau, as our first site to be ASI-certified, is covered in special comprehensiveness. Besides any efforts that might already have improved REAL ALLOY’s environmental performance, the year 2020 is naturally overshadowed by effects due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A decrease in demand and resulting decreases in energy consumption, emissions, and utilization is mainly caused by the temporary slow-down of the entire industry. REAL ALLOY as a global company is headquartered in Beachwood, Ohio. In this report, the appellation “REAL ALLOY” only refers to the REAL ALLOY Europe business unit, as defined above, unless stated otherwise.