Rio Tinto to supply ethical aluminium for Nespresso coffee pods

Rio Tinto will be the first mining company to supply responsibly-sourced aluminium that supports ethical standards for the production of coffee capsules after joining forces with Nespresso.

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see Nespresso fulfill a commitment of sourcing 100 per cent sustainable aluminium for the manufacture of its capsules by 2020.

Coffee companies are moving towards using responsibly-sourced aluminium under the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), standards that promote the protection of biodiversity, respect for Indigenous peoples’ rights, water management and low-carbon emissions during production.

The ASI creates a traceability mechanism so that Nespresso and other coffee companies can be sure that the aluminium they buy has been manufactured by ASI-certified producers at each stage of the process.

“This is an important step towards the use of responsibly sourced aluminium across manufacturing industries, which Rio Tinto is the first to supply,” Rio Tinto Aluminium chief executive officer Alf Barrios said.

“We expect the demand from consumers for sustainable products to continue growing and Nespresso drinkers can have confidence the aluminium we supply for their capsules meets the highest international standards.”

Nespresso CEO Jean-Marc Duvoisin said, with the ASI, responsibly-sourced aluminium had become a reality.

“The ASI traceability mechanism will enable us to meet our commitment to customers to reduce the impact of their consumption,” Duvoisin said.

This is the second cross-industry collaboration aimed at improving the sustainability of the sector that Rio Tinto’s aluminium division has formed this year .

Rio Tinto and Alcoa announced plans to expand the development of the world’s first carbon-free aluminium smelting process in May.

Tech company Apple emerged as a significant investor of the initiative with a $C13 million ($13.5 million) commitment.

Apple is providing technical support to the JV partners after helping to facilitate the collaboration on the carbon-free smelting process between the companies.

Rio Tinto and Alcoa launched the revolutionary process, which makes aluminium that produces oxygen and eliminates all direct greenhouses gas emissions from the traditional smelting process, in Canada.

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