The AFFG Programme
The European aluminium industry is conscious that the wellbeing of future generations depends on how we preserve our resources. Having in mind the numerous and challenging economic, environmental and social issues raised by the pursuit of sustainability, the European aluminium industry created and has run since 1998 an ambitious initiative called the Aluminium For Future Generations (AFFG) programme.
The programme builds on broad-based stakeholder dialogue to understand and address public expectations, and to develop suitable response by the industry.
Through partnerships with academia and research institutes, the industry commissions and conducts scientific studies feeding into publications on timely issues, positioning aluminium at the forefront of the major trends of sustainable development.
Going beyond research and knowledge sharing, the AFFG programme is also the premium framework for the industry to develop new initiatives on sustainability, leading it to endorse new commitments. Notably the definition and implementation of sustainable development indicators for aluminium has been a pioneering effort into analysing and improving the environmental, social and economic footprint of the aluminium industry, taking into account the life-cycle of the material as it is extracted, manufactured, processed, used in products and eventually recycled into valuable metal again.
Meanwhile, the industry has also made extensive use of the resources of the AFFG programme to support campaigns and activities at European and local levels aiming to promote sustainable uses of aluminium in everyday life solutions. Design competitions in the field of mobility, renovation awards in buildings, public exhibitions about aluminium’s contribution to sustainability or media workshops about food safety and aluminium cookware are only a few of the numerous AFFG projects conducted in Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and many other countries to illustrate the positive role of aluminium in making today’s and tomorrow’s everyday life easier, safer and more sustainable.
The bottom line conclusion of ten years of efforts is that aluminium contributes to sustainable development and is part of the answer to the global challenge of climate change. Having reached this stage, the industry undertook an ambitious pan-European opinion survey in January 2009 to assess the overall image of aluminium and of its industry with public decision makers and opinion formers. The conclusions of the survey are straightforward and pave the way for the AFFG programme in the years to come:
As a generally well appreciated industry with an already impressive track record in addressing the challenges of sustainability, aluminium must pursue its efforts to contribute further to sustainable production and consumption, and must sustain dialogue with all stakeholders in politics, science, academia, media and the civil society.