Green Aluminium Can Power Europe’s Recovery, Says Lord Barker

Press releases


july, 2020

Green aluminium can help EU manufacturers win global markets. Tariffs in green aluminium should be eliminated.

1 July 2020 - En+ Group Executive Chairman Lord Barker today called for low-carbon ‘green’ aluminium to help power Europe’s COVID-19 recovery package and the European Union (EU) climate transition strategy, warning against the widespread but hidden use of dangerously polluting, high-carbon metals.

The EU must invest an additional €470 billion every year if it is to meet its climate and energy goals. This investment – an important part of Europe’s COVID-19 recovery plan – will help manufacture electric cars, install renewable energy as well as build more energy efficient buildings. Aluminium is a vital component of these products because it is super-lightweight, durable and recyclable.

 The En+ Group is calling for the elimination of tariffs on low-carbon imports of this climate-friendly raw metal as an urgent measure that can help European manufacturers grow a global market lead in the production of green goods and products.
The EU can be proud of its record in cutting emissions and excited about its ambitious Green Deal. Political leadership can boost jobs and prosperity in Europe at a time when COVID-19 has caused economic misery.

Lord Barker

En+ Group Executive Chairman

 “With the EU needing to invest nearly €500 billion a year in its low-carbon transition, there’s a huge opportunity for this to be made far more effective by embracing green aluminium.

“Europe still relies on too many imported high-carbon metals.  These pollution-heavy imports impact EU manufacturers making everything from small electric cars to aeroplanes. However, growing consumer demand for climate-friendly products is sending shockwaves right the way through the industrial supply chain. Why turn off Europe’s coal-fired power plants if the finished goods we buy or manufacture are sucking in high-carbon, coal-produced aluminium from the other side of the world? High quality, low carbon aluminium has come of age and is ready now at massive scale.

“The answer is to eliminate import tariffs for low-carbon primary aluminium, giving Europe a helping hand when it needs it most. This would send a clear signal that the EU means business when it comes to the green transition.”

En+ Group today published its ‘Green Aluminium Vision, setting out its commitments to lead the industry into the low-carbon economy by developing a new asset class of ‘Green Aluminium’. The vision recommends a separate custom code for low-carbon raw aluminium. A recent study estimated the total cost of import tariffs on Europe’s downstream industry was as much as €20 billion over the past 20 years. Eliminating tariffs for low-carbon raw aluminium would save industry across Europe tens of millions of euros a year and help the industry reduce the carbon content of its products. The EU aluminium processing industry employs more than 200,000 people across the continent with 75% of primary raw aluminium being imported.

Lord Barker added:

“The ‘Green Aluminium Vision’ is a positive and practical low carbon action plan for our industry. It puts transparency at the heart of the debate. Without it we risk a stimulus package that is unfocused and unproductive for the climate. From using hydropower to produce aluminium, to investing in cutting edge technology to transform an energy intensive process into a carbon-free one, En+ Group has the credibility to lead the way.

“We are launching this vision as the German government takes on the presidency of the EU. Germany are proven climate leaders. They have put Europe’s economic recovery as well as an ambitious and sustainable industrial strategy front and centre; this is where green aluminium has a crucial role to play.”

En+ Group ‘Green Aluminum Vision’ sets out nine principles that should shape the future of green aluminium:

  1. Determination to reduce emissions across the production process: including a 15% cut by 2025 in direct greenhouse gas emissions from electrolysis compared to 2014, 7% reduction in energy consumption, as well as close to 100% hydropower to be used for smelting operations. RUSAL has also started testing the breakthrough technology of inert anode that will sharply reduce energy consumption and eliminate carbon emissions in the smelting process.
  2. Low-carbon aluminium branding: En+ Group/RUSAL’s ‘ALLOW’ brand provides low-carbon aluminium with an independently verified carbon footprint. It is produced at smelters with less than 4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per tonne of aluminium (smelter emissions, IAI level 1), helping customers achieve their emissions reduction targets.
  3. Carbon footprint transparency: En+ Group has consistently called on the London Metal Exchange (LME) to introduce emissions disclosure rules to promote more transparent and sustainability-based trading and welcomes their plans to launch a platform to trade low-carbon aluminium.
  4. Circularity: Recycling can boost resource efficiency and emissions reductions and should go hand in hand with low-carbon primary aluminium. The industry should focus on reducing the amount of waste, ensuring growth is decoupled from expanded resource use.
  5. Sustainability labelling: En+ Group/RUSAL will advocate for a “Green Aluminium Label” that would enable customers to buy low-carbon primary aluminium manufactured with an independently verified carbon footprint.
  6. Liberalisation of trade for low-carbon primary aluminium: En+ Group/RUSAL calls for the creation of separate customs codes for low-carbon primary aluminium which would foster greater competitiveness and sustainability of the whole industry.
  7. Elimination of excess capacities to ensure fair and green trade: En+ Group calls for the creation of a Global Forum on Sustainable Industrial Development focused on improving global governance, strengthening free and fair trade, and shielding green products and services from distortive practices.
  8. Facilitation of research and development: Industry-wide incentives for collaboration in research and development could accelerate the progress of emission reducing technologies such as inert anode or innovations that could improve the recovery of useful scrap.
  9. Support to a renewed multilateralism: En+ Group/RUSAL supports a rules-based world, the reform of the WTO, and a new multilateralism characterised by deeper cooperation between and among states and non-state actors. The Group delivers on 8 of the Sustainable Development Goals with a strong focus on goal 17 on global partnerships. It also participates in the UNFCCC Conferences of Parties (UN Climate Conferences).

The average emissions for all En+ Group aluminium are 2.6 tCO2/tAl for all sources related to producing aluminium from alumina at smelters. Average equivalent carbon emissions for Chinese aluminium are 16.2 tCO2/tAl; average carbon emissions for world aluminium are 12.6 tCO2/tAl.

Note to editors:

  1. RUSAL employs more than 1,000 people at its three production facilities in Europe: KUBAL smelter in Sweden, Aughinish Alumina in Ireland and Eurallumina in Italy. 
  2. Figures for world aluminium emissions are drawn from 2018 data collated by the IAI. Figures for Chinese aluminium emissions are based on calculations by RUSAL.
  3. Source for investment figure for EU climate and energy transition: 
  4. Study on the cost of tariffs was conducted by the LUISS University in Rome, Italy concluded that: “it can be estimated that up to 17.8 billion euros was the extra cost of the tariff for unwrought aluminium for EU downstream producers over the period 2000-2017”. URL: 

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