The curtains draw on the 29th CRU World Aluminium Conference

The 29th CRU World Aluminium Conference, held between May 14th and 16th, was co-hosted by the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) and the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI).

Renowned for its market updates, outlooks, forecasts, and economic analyses, this year’s CRU conference notably shifted its focus towards sustainability. This thematic pivot resonates with the actions of the aluminium industry and underscores its commitment to fostering a greener future.

IAI participation

Women in Aluminium:

Preceding the main conference, an IAI-led Women in Aluminium roundtable addressed the significance of women’s networks in bridging the gender gap within the sector. Pernelle Nunez, IAI Deputy Secretary General / Director – Sustainability, highlighted that many aluminium companies have established informal support networks for underrepresented groups. The Women in Aluminium initiative seeks to leverage and expand upon these models by creating an informal network specifically for women in the industry. Sandrine Duquerroy-Delesalle, Crown Holdings’ Sustainability & External Affairs Director EMEA and Rania Tayeh, Senior Manager – Corporate Social Responsibility at Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), shared their experiences of women networks and how important they are to encouraging women from across the aluminium value chain to connect and support women to advance into leadership roles in the sector.

Keynote Session:

On the first day of the main conference, IAI Secretary General Miles Prosser moderated a panel exploring how aluminium can demonstrate its competitive advantage over alternative materials. Industry leaders discussed current efforts and future strategies to showcase aluminium’s advantages, particularly from a sustainability standpoint. The panel included Ramon Arratia (Chief Sustainability Officer, Ball Corporation), Alok Ranjan (Chief Marketing Officer, Aluminium Business, Vedanta), Renato Bacchi (Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Alcoa), John Thuestad (Executive Vice President, Hydro Bauxite & Alumina), Abdulnasser Bin Kalban (CEO, Emirates Global Aluminium – EGA), and Amy Abraham (Vice President Sales Aluminium, Rio Tinto).

In the afternoon session, Pernelle and other sustainability experts explored avenues for driving industry-wide change towards a 1.5-degree future, discussing topics such as global decarbonisation, emerging regulations, and emissions data verification.

Pernelle was joined by Chris Bayliss, Climate Change and Decarbonisation Director, Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), Wenjuan Liu, Manager, RMI and Sandro Starita, Director Sustainability, European Aluminium.

Circularity Panel:

Day two of the conference focused on circularity, with a panel hosted by IAI’s Marlen Bertram. Panellists examined current technologies in scrap sorting and alloy segregation to improve recycling efficiency. They also discussed transitioning from traditional recycling methods to a more holistic approach to circularity, emphasizing the design of recyclable, repairable, and upgradable products. Marlen’s panel included Rachel Wiffen, Senior Process Engineer, Innoval Technology; Claudia Trampitsch, CFO, AMAG Austria Metall AG; Rolf Lindbäck, CFO, Speira; Gabriel Carmona Aparicio, Circularity Research Manager, Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI); Michael Boyle, President, Owl’s Head Alloys and Gunther Schober, Sales Manager, PSI Metals Non-Ferrous GmbH.

To conclude the day, IAI’s Carl Firman led a panel discussion on updates in the bauxite and alumina market and the sector’s decarbonisation efforts. He was joined on the panel by Anthony Everiss, Senior Consultant at CRU; Peter Rayers, Head of Decarbonisation at Klaveness Combination Carriers; and Vincent Rouget, Director of Global Risk Analysis at Control Risks.

Interactive Session:

The final day featured an interactive session where attendees explored recently developed tools and guidance for a 1.5-degree aligned aluminium sector. Experts from IAI, ASI, and RMI provided insights on GHG accounting methodologies, barriers to alignment, and existing initiatives and standards interplay.

Pernelle Nunez, Chris Bayliss, Wenjuan Liu, and Hylla Barbosa (Associate—Climate Intelligence Program at RMI) were among the panellists.