Alliance partners join forces for sustainable aluminium industry future in Saxony-Anhalt

Image: Aluminium Deutschland

The alliance partners Aluminium Deutschland, IG Metall, IG BCE and the Ministry of Science, Energy, Climate Protection and the Environment as well as the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Tourism, Agriculture and Forestry of the State of Saxony-Anhalt have signed a joint declaration for a sustainable future of the aluminium industry in Saxony-Anhalt at a joint meeting at the Novelis site in Nachterstedt.

The declaration signed today is a strong commitment of the alliance partners to Saxony-Anhalt and Germany as an aluminium location. It is the prelude to a partnership between industry, social partners and politicians, with the aim of successfully mastering the transformation to a sustainable industry and consolidating and strengthening the competitiveness of the aluminium industry.

Aluminium is an important building block for the success of the European Green Deal and indispensable for the expansion of renewable energies and the ramp-up of electromobility on the way to climate neutrality. The material also makes a significant contribution to industrial value creation throughout Europe. In particular, the recycling of aluminium is a powerful lever for the decarbonisation of industry and society. Saxony-Anhalt is an enormously important production location: Novelis AG operates the most modern and largest aluminium recycling plant in the world in Nachterstedt.

Saxony-Anhalt is the second federal state after North Rhine-Westphalia to join the alliance. The Aluminium Alliance North Rhine-Westphalia was launched in November 2021 on the initiative of the two primary smelter operators Speira and Trimet as well as the trade unions IG Metall and IGBCE and has been continuously developed since then. The Aluminium Alliance Saxony-Anhalt focuses primarily on the key topics of recycling and circular economy.

At the same time, the rapid expansion of renewable energies at competitive conditions, access to research funding, but also free and fair competition on the markets are at the heart of the joint considerations. In addition, the current geopolitical situation shows the risks posed by a strong dependence on the supply of energy and raw materials. This dependency must be reduced, and all parties involved agree that the industry and its employees will continue to need a stable energy supply at internationally competitive prices in the future.

Sven Schulze, Minister of Economic Affairs of Saxony-Anhalt, commented: “The aluminium industry is an important economic sector and an important employer in Saxony-Anhalt. The energy demand in this sector is high – as is the case for companies in the chemical, glass, copper and paper industries. In order to achieve the country’s ambitious climate targets, investments in these energy-intensive industries are required. The Ministry of Economic Affairs expressly endorses the objectives of the Aluminium Alliance and will support investments to transform the industry within the scope of its possibilities.”

Saxony-Anhalt’s Minister of Energy and Climate Protection, Professor Dr Armin Willingmann: “The close cooperation between business, politics and trade unions is a strong signal for the future. Together we want to set the course to secure Saxony-Anhalt as an aluminium location. For me, the focus is on further increasing the recycling rate, the rapid expansion of renewable energies and the transformation to climate-neutral production. Let’s do it!”

Roland Leder, vice president Novelis Europe and vice president of Aluminium Deutschland, underlined: “The decarbonisation of the aluminium industry is a must to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Novelis, a leader in aluminium recycling, and the entire industry are increasingly relying on the use of recycled aluminium. Compared to primary aluminium production, the production of aluminium products from recycled material saves around 95 per cent of energy and up to 95 per cent of CO2 emissions. On the way to low-carbon, circular aluminium products, we need political support, on the one hand for competitive framework conditions for a low-CO2 and stable energy supply, and on the other hand for the promotion of the circular economy. For example, by promoting products that have a high recycling rate and a high recyclate content, and by creating a more effective collection and sorting infrastructure.”

Marius Baader, managing director of Aluminium Deutschland, emphasised: “At the latest since the current energy crisis and the uncertainty surrounding gas supply, we know how important a consistent raw materials policy is and that we in Germany and Europe must become more independent in the supply of important raw materials and raw materials. To achieve this, we need a modern and efficient recycling industry and a reliable supply of primary aluminium that is as low in CO2 as possible and globally competitive in order to meet the increasing demand.”

IG Metall executive committee member Manuel Bloemers said: “The transformation towards a climate-neutral industry must be pursued resolutely by politicians and companies. This is best done with the employees. As IG Metall, we stand by the climate goals. However, the conversion must take place under predictable framework conditions and the employees need perspectives. These perspectives must be given by both companies and politicians.”

IG BCE representative Manuel Rendla added: “IG BCE stands by the climate protection goals and will actively accompany the transformation towards a climate-neutral industry. But it is clear that this can only succeed if the necessary investments in transformation and the expansion of renewable energies are made. To this end, employees and companies need reliable political framework conditions so that Germany remains an industrial location with industrial jobs. With the alliance founded today, we want to further expand location security in Saxony-Anhalt and nationwide.”

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