Beverage can producers endorse net-zero strategy


Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) and all its aluminium beverage can manufacturer and can sheet producer members endorsed Mission Possible Partnership’s (MPP) transition strategy for a net-zero, 1.5°C-aligned aluminium industry. 

These endorsements reflect the aluminium beverage can industry’s aim to reduce the carbon footprint of the relatively small amount of primary aluminium in beverage cans, thereby contributing toward the needed progress in the fight against climate change.

Since the 1990s, the carbon footprint of aluminium beverage cans made in North America has dropped by nearly half. Endorsing and acting on the MPP strategy will result in even further reductions in the carbon footprint of the aluminium beverage can since the primary aluminium incorporated into aluminium beverage cans would have a reduced carbon profile.

Transitioning the aluminium industry to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while complying with a target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C from preindustrial levels will require a variety of actions including deploying new technologies, decarbonising power supply and increasing material and product efficiency.

The MPP aluminium transition strategy provides an actionable, achievable plan. 

Through their endorsements, CMI aluminium beverage can sector members are agreeing on the importance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and recognising that actions to support the transition to achieve a 1.5°C-aligned scenario should be pursued expeditiously.

One of the other ways to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium beverage cans is increasing the recycled content used in new cans.

Today, aluminium beverage cans manufactured in the United States average 73% recycled content, the highest average of any beverage container. 

That number will increase, decreasing the need for primary aluminium, if the industry is successful in reaching stated aluminium beverage can recycling rate targets. 

These targets, as set by CMI and its members, entail going from a 45% recycling rate in 2020, which makes it the most recycled beverage container in the United States, to a 70% rate in 2030, 80% rate in 2040 and 90% rate in 2050. 

CMI’s Aluminium Beverage Can Recycling Primer and Roadmap details how these targets can be achieved. Recycling more aluminium beverage cans means a greater environmental and economic impact, as well as more cans exemplifying the circular economy as they go from recycling bin back to store shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days.

“Our strategy has two parallel paths to further reduce the carbon footprint of the aluminium beverage can— lower the carbon footprint of any primary aluminium incorporated into beverage cans and increase the recovery of used beverage cans so the recycled content in new cans increases,” said Scott Breen, CMI’s vice president of sustainability.

“Our members have shown leadership in both of these areas by endorsing Mission Possible Partnership’s strategy to foster a net-zero, 1.5°C-aligned aluminium industry and by committing to ambitious U.S. aluminium beverage can recycling rate targets.”

These endorsements follow a gathering of more than 100 leaders across the aluminium beverage can value chain for the Global Aluminium Can Sustainability Summit in September 2022. 

CMI and the International Aluminium Institute co-organised the event with funding from Ardagh Metal Packaging and Crown Holdings. 

One of the two focus areas of this Summit was aluminium decarbonisation. A representative from MPP unveiled the aluminium sector transition strategy for the first time as part of the Summit.

Enacting the sector transition strategy will take time and large investments. MPP believes cumulative investment of approximately $1 trillion across the primary production value chain will be needed to deliver a net-zero sector, or a 1.5°C pathway. CMI, its aluminium beverage can manufacturer members (Ardagh Metal Packaging, CANPACK, Crown Holdings and Envases), its aluminium beverage can sheet producer members (Constellium, Kaiser Aluminum, Novelis and Tri-Arrows Aluminum), as well as its partner and fellow endorser The Aluminum Association, will be working with a variety of stakeholders inside and outside of the industry to catalyse the necessary actions and investments to pursue this transition strategy.

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