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Aluminium
Social Aspects
Foreword
Economy, ecology and social aspects are the Socio-politically important activities like three pillars that support the globally recog- these not only improve an industry’s image, nised guiding principle of sustainable devel- such as that of the mining and metals in- opment. This comprehensive presentation by dustry, but also take into account the demand the aluminium industry on social aspects at for compensation for unavoidable external product and plant level, including inter- effects so that sustainable development can national involvements, is a good contribution to the implementation and further develop- ment of the concept of sustainability.
play a leading role in such pioneering methods This is a field where the mining and metals of social commitment and are among the most industry can look back on a long tradition of establishing social facilities, particularly in examples from Australia, Jamaica, Brazil and regions where there is little infrastructure.
Mines and metal smelters tend to be found in somewhat isolated locations in most count- ries. A very long time ago, mining and metals companies were among the first to introduce the practice, now common, of building and maintaining schools, clinics and sports fa- cilities. Such social facilities benefit not only the workers directly employed by the com- pany. It is not uncommon for them to be made available to other people living in the vicinity of the company location, too. In recent years, such social services for the local population companies have seized on the modern stake- Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. rer. pol. Werner Gocht
holder concept. They give consideration to Professor of the Research Institute for International Technical and Economic everyone involved who has a genuine interest and have applied this concept not only to the Consultant to various mining and infrastructure projects in twelve developing ecological rights of the public at large but 1990 - 2000 Member and chairman of the UNCTAD Common Fund for Commodities since 1985 Member and chairman of the Scientific Council of the Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development since 1986 Trustee of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources. Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Social aspects at plant level . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Labour costs and “hidden” social contributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Human resources management: from traininig to exchange of ideas . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Modern approaches to working hours: with an element of sovereignty over time . . 7 Safety at work: statistics show marked fall in accidents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 EKD award – for exemplary aluminium plants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Example of social involvement of plants and workforces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Sozial aspects at product level . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Aluminium in transport – an integral part of modern-day mobility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Aluminium in packaging – not just for healthy eating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Aluminium and health – from fitness equipment to noise barriers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Aluminium offers safety and security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Aluminium and living – more than just a roof over one’s head . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Sozial aspects at an international level . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Commitment at plant level worldwide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Solar cooker – helping people to help themselves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Introduction
Is corporate citizenship now going to be the follow-up to lean management and shareholder value? The signals coming from the World Economic Forum in Davos or the Global Reporting Initiative indicate that the social dimension of how a company does business is not only gaining importance when it comes to the discussion about sustainable development. Ever since the United Nations’ conference scribe benefits that are outside the narrow in Rio in 1992, the guiding principle of sus- confines of self-interest. It is related to the ful- tainable development has gained general rec- filment of needs, to improving the standard ognition. There is no controversy regarding of living, to a life that is “worth living”.
the equal importance of economical, ecologi- There is undoubtedly still a lot that needs to cal and social objectives, which is the main be done in this field, but even so, a lot has al- idea behind this guiding principle; likewise, ready been achieved. Using the aluminium in- the need to ensure that resources are fairly dustry as an example, this report will show so- emblem – made of aluminium, in the cial aspects associated with this industry, its successive generations is now recognised.
factories and the products it creates.
acknowledged the principles of sustainable 90/Die Grünen (United Left/The Greens) par- liamentary party in 1997, the then German Of course, in the past this discussion was dominated by ecological considerations in played an important role from a social point the highly developed countries. By contrast, the social dimension of the above-mentioned three-pronged target tended to be ignored.
“Aluminium makes a significant contribution to sat- This now appears to be changing. One indica- tion of this is that under the banner of “cor- isfying basic needs, like mobility, housing, safety and porate citizenship” consideration is now being given to a company’s social responsibility security, healthy eating and medical care, in an eco- and to concepts of socially correct business nomic and environmentally acceptable manner.”2 dealings, while at the same time bearing the The term “social” is used here in the generally accepted sense, meaning “relating to society 1 GDA: Aluminium – A Sustainable Material, Düsseldorf or the public at large” or “beneficial to the 2 German Federal Parliament, 13th Legislative Period. Bundestags- community”. The term is thus used to de- Drucksache 13/6833 dated 28.01.1997 (non-authorised translation) Social aspects at plant level
The German aluminium industry is an important economic factor with good growth prospects. Directly, it provides work and income for about 75,000 However, it is not only workers and their ■ the plants of customers and equipment strength of this industry, but also lots of In addition, there are a lot of social factors at plant level that often go unnoticed by the The above-mentioned figure for the number ■ payments related to a company’s own of people directly employed represents a total wage bill of approximately four billion ■ additional contributions made by the euros. For the individual plants these are labour costs, but for the economy it means, training and further education, facilities for the workforce, events to celebrate long bill contains markedly different remunera- ■ direct payments to workers for the time these additional labour costs are equivalent to about 79 percent of the direct wage pay- ■ payments for days not worked, such as ments, or 58 percent of the gross total cost for wages and salaries. The figures for the ■ special payments, such as bonuses, Christ- aluminium industry will be of the same order of magnitude, too. This is equivalent to sev- linked to schemes to encourage savings.
eral billion euros that the companies make In addition, the plants are faced with other Furthermore, the taxes paid by the alumin- ium industry at communal, regional and na- tional level make additional government and social benefits possible, of course.
Human resources management: from traininig to exchange of ideas A qualified and motivated team of workers In addition, companies strive to utilise the is an important prerequisite for companies experience and creativity of their employees to be successful in the marketplace. This in everyday working situations. Each com- applies to the aluminium industry just as pany tries to tap the expert knowledge of its much as it does to any other industry. The Nowadays, one is not only interested in im- Particularly important from a social point of proving processes and work procedures and view is the fact that the companies offer thus improving productivity. Lots of com- young people apprenticeships, and with it panies in the aluminium industry encourage the chance to make something of their lives.
workers to extend their suggestions to cover without qualified personnel. This also based trade association representing the alu- every year demonstrate the large potential exchange for young people seeking practi- they are to contribute to the success of the Modern approaches to working hours: with an elementof sovereignty over time Whereas the eighties were characterised by called “savings accounts” for working hours.
the unions’ demands for a shorter working counts” for extra hours worked, free days introduction of flexible working hours. This accumulated by flexitime or unused annual leave, and then take them off in large blocks fluctuations in demand and operate capital- at a later date or even use them to bring for- ward the date of their retirement. These longer periods. For the plants, it helps ensure their future against increasingly harder offer more and more employees in the alu- to work – he can arrange his working life minium industry the possibility to open so- Safety at work: statistics show marked fall in accidents one plant, for example, a draw is made at the recordable accident rate - numerical value only end of the year. Anyone who did not have a Restricted work/medical treatment accident rate reportable accident during the preceding year is eligible to participate. The main prize is a compact car and there are also several Today, safety at work is an integral part of the tal protection, in all companies that operate globally, the rules for safety at work usually apply on a company-wide basis. Systematic auditing, clearly defined standards and bind- ing guidelines define the main requirements in the plants for safety at work from an qualification measures aimed at identifying organisational and technical point of view.
risks that have contributed to this positive Lots of companies have specifically stated development. This is consistent with the ex- that it is their intention to reduce work-re- perience that most accidents at work are be- lated injuries and sickness to zero, and have increasingly met this target in recent years. To ensure that this remains so, many companies measures for worker protection with awards are also planning to check their safety stan- for the plant with the best safety record and with internal competitions and incentives. In EKD award – for exemplary aluminium plants ium industry was honoured for being above- average and exemplary in maintaining jobs and creating new ones, for taking on long- and employment has distinguished them from term unemployed, for its relatively large num- others and established social benchmarks.
ber of apprenticeships, for encouragement The winning companies are presented with its given to female employees and for the co- EKD “Arbeit Plus” (Work Plus) seal. As the first step in the evaluation, the independent Institute for Commercial and Social Ethic at In 2000, the EKD “Arbeit Plus” seal was the University of Marburg prepares an ex- pert opinion on the company in question. A This time emphasis was placed on the com- pany’s involvement in the training of young resentatives from the plant administration and trade unions then makes the final decision.
handicapped persons, the low level of sick- ness, the working-hours schemes in opera- tion and the external co-operation with cham- bers of commerce and organisations repre- been awarded the EKD’s “Arbeit dustry in 1999, a company from the alumin- Examples of social involvement of plants and workforces When it comes to the social aspects at plant level, one should mention above all the efforts of employees that go above and beyond everyday industry, and the people who work there, offer their support in cash or in kind to pro- jects from “neighbourhood schemes” through ■ Another example is the support that has to projects in developing countries. The con- tributions are used in sport, culture, envi- ronment, health and church projects, or to support UNICEF, the United Nations’ chil- recycling furnace was installed there for tion schemes to support social facilities; School projects: Today’s schoolchildren ■ “Electricity and magnetism” in physics are tomorrow’s trainees. At an early age, ■ “Environmental protection in the pro- A case containing numerous teaching work experience so that they can check out ■ “Creative approach to aluminium” in arts aids and illustrative material related where their interests really lie and get to know what sort of training is available. This is achieved in part by project weeks, in which schoolchildren complete a practical course Together with teachers from the School/In- and in part by companies arranging guided tours of their plants, so that the various teaching material some years ago. This in- cluded texts, overheads and a teaching case It is important to extend and intensify these full of illustrative material on the subject of contacts between schools and plants. Good aluminium. Project sheets suitable for school- examples here are the projects involving alu- children are currently being developed in co- minium companies and schools in which both operation with the Chair of Didactics at the sides develop topics to be covered in the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. The whole classroom. These topics cover various as- range of teaching materials was presented pects of aluminium and are dealt with in dif- to a broader public at Education Fair 2001 in ■ “Geographical factors and deposits of raw Social aspects at product level
The purpose of all economic activity is to satisfy human and social needs.
The areas of need are wide ranging and only a selection can be dealt with briefly here. Aluminium products play an important role when it comes to modern day mobility, the protection and encouragement of good health, modern living standards, safety and more.
Aluminium in transport – an integral part ofmodern-day mobility Nowadays, mobility is a basic need like eat- This is all inconceivable without efficient ing, sleeping and living. Where labour is very transport systems. And they all contain alu- specialised, passenger transport and the minium: whether it is a car, lorry, bus, train, ship or aeroplane – lightweight construction if people are to reap the benefits of living in is needed to consume as little energy as an advanced industrial society. Goods come possible and thus conserve finite resources for from all over the globe. The low-priced super- future generations and minimise emissions market is usually to be found at an out-of- of greenhouse gases and pollutants that are a town location. Workplaces are rarely within risk to health. On top of all this, the materials walking distance. Relatives and friends often have to be such that they afford a high degree live several hundred kilometres away. People of safety. Aluminium is the material that ful- want to live an active and eventful life. This includes holidays in foreign countries, visit- Transport without aluminium? It’s wouldn’t be any aircraft. Whether lorry, bus, train or ship – lightweight When one thinks of flying one usually has “small” purses: A reduction in a vehicle’s the best time of the year in mind – a holiday.
weight benefits both active and passive safety Whether it be a seaside holiday in southern because the lighter the vehicle, the shorter is Europe or looking for traces of foreign cul- its breaking distance. A few metres can de- tures in far-away places – once a year one cide whether or not an accident occurs and wants to get away from the stress of work and relax, gain new impressions, enjoy the In addition, crash tests show that aluminium countryside and culture, recharge the bat- structures absorb at least as much energy as teries. Without aluminium it would be diffi- steel structures. Thus, flexible aluminium tubes cult to satisfy this desire. Since the early days are increasingly being used for the side-on of flying the key question has been how to re- crash protection in cars. Aluminium crash- duce the weight of aircraft. When it comes to boxes between the bumper and the front of the selecting materials, aircraft designers think vehicle serve to dissipate energy in the event first and foremost in terms of aluminium.
of a head-on collision. The aluminium in- New processes help to further reduce manu- dustry is working together with car-makers to facturing and operating costs and thus also put develop new materials, especially for lighter flying within the reach of those on a limited is a new material that is lighter than water for an Airbus wing can be milled from a single but nevertheless has an extremely high stiff- piece whereas 164 rivets and 15 components ness – a combination of properties which used to be required. This has reduced the makes it possible to improve the design of the manufacturing costs by about a quarter and collapsible zone and offer greater protection the weight by about a fifth, and the life of the component has been increased tenfold.
Mobility – a basic characteristic of our society. Active and passive safety are of paramount importance Mobility has many faces: One travels long walking aids or transport aids for the disabled, destination safely. Aluminium plays distances using the most appropriate means the infirm or senior citizens. Aluminium is of transport but one travels short journeys used here, too – for example in wheelchairs, under one’s own steam, with or without any walking frames and stair-lifts. The alumin- aids. Whether it be a scooter, cycle, escala- ium used here enables these citizens to also tor or pull-along shopping trolley – every have an active social life without having to day we use products that contain aluminium.
This is especially the case when it comes to Aluminium in packaging – not just for healthy eating Packaging is indispensable if products are to are continually developing new methods to avoid squandering economic resources. In make product manipulation easy to spot.
a society where products are transported Thus, for example, a tablet foil was devel- over long distances and are frequently han- oped that is characterised by a special colour dled before they reach the consumer, one can- spectrum that cannot be copied. By taking a not imagine what it would be like without quick look at the blister pack, doctors, phar- macists and customers can tell whether it is benefits. It provides unique barrier proper- In view of changing socio-demographic de- ties, which ensure that food and medicines are protected against potentially damaging ex- packaging is also beneficial. In small house- ternal influences. Even an extremely thin layer holds and those in which both partners work, of foil maintains the freshness of foodstuffs ready meals in aluminium foil dishes pro- that quickly deteriorate, such as milk; alu- vide a warm meal without any time-consum- protection for the goods and security minium also enables medicines to be trans- ing preparation and cooking. In social facili- for the consumer. From medication ties, such as hospitals, canteens or when nurs- to foodstuffs – aluminium packaging Aluminium packaging is a guarantee for the ing the aged, they also ensure that the neces- helps conserve economic resources. consumer that the goods he purchases have sary standards of hygiene are adhered to.
not been tampered with. This is of great im- portance when it comes to sensitive products.
Aluminium and health – from fitness equipment tonoise barriers light running shoes are fitted with aluminium exhibits a healing effect. There is a range of spikes that give them optimum grip on the tar- tan track. Such “wonder shoes” are restricted remedies that act as astringents (i.e. they to a small elite group of athletes but there is have power to draw soft organic tissues to- lots of sports equipment made of aluminium gether), disinfectants or as a means of pre- to which the general public has access: for pain-killers such as Aspirin bearable. It is framed cycles. Or one can think of alumin- used for heartburn and gastric ulcers. As alu- ium high-tech scooters, which became the minium acetate it encourages grazes to heal.
sales hit and dragged children and adoles- In gargles it acts as an astringent and allevi- the streets in droves. This, too, is a benefit to It is generally well known that sporting ac- health. The same applies to aluminium studs tivities are good for the heart and circulatory for football boots. It only needs the goalposts system. In one way or another, aluminium is to also be made of the light metal, just as It strengthens the heart and improves present in many sporting and fitness activi- they are in professional matches, and the the circulation. One feels fit and ties: especially where lightweight materials Aluminium helps – with sports and around when 100-metre sprinters like Mau- ways. As a noise barrier along the side of fitness equipment that is rigidly rice Greene and Marion Jones set new world motorways or railways it protects local resi- records or win Olympic medals. Their super- dents from the sound of vehicles rushing by.
were recently introduced for people who have There is no denying the need for safety and aluminium: primarily, to keep the injured security. These are often closely related to warm. We should also not forget to mention questions of health. But being safe from crimi- aluminium stretchers. They make things eas- nals and accidents is also important.
ier for rescuers – regardless of whether they Security when it comes to break-ins and theft, are having to go to the fifth floor of a block of flats or to the scene of an avalanche in the stands the need for government buildings to be given special protection. At the chancel- lor’s office in Berlin, a special steel and alu- saving when it comes to the worst on a pre- minium façade means that break-in attempts cipitous rock face. This can lead to sudden, are doomed to failure from the start. How- extremely high tensile forces of up to 5,000 ever, given the growing number of burglaries, kilograms, which the aluminium hook has to protection of one’s own four walls is becom- ing increasingly important. In many cases, In discotheques, cinemas and other places burglars go about their business using a simple that host events, aluminium can ensure that screwdriver and force windows or doors open stairways and emergency exits remain visi- in broad daylight. Greater wall thicknesses ble even when it is pitch-dark – and practi- and hidden aluminium profiles can be effec- cally without consuming energy. The secret reliability, and enables rescuers tive in thwarting burglaries in such cases.
lies in an enamel with an aluminium coating With windows and doors, an aluminium con- on the steel. This material only needs to be struction combined with fireproof glazing exposed to light for a few minutes and it will will also prevent flames and smoke spread- ing to adjacent rooms and corridors, for ex- There are lots of other examples that can be ample in office buildings, hospitals and added to those mentioned here. There are Because it is heat resistant and does not burn, “safety-relevant”. One only has to think about aluminium is also suitable for protective cloth- protective systems used to prevent flooding, ing. Fire brigades and emergency services bulkheads on ferries, fire-escapes on multi- can get close to sources of heat or fire if they storey buildings, but also items like household are wearing aluminium-coated full-body pro- ladders etc. These are all examples of alu- tection. The so-called space blankets that every German motorist now has to carry in his first-aid kit are vapour deposited with Aluminium and living – more than just a roofover one’s head People spend the major part of their life in- Aluminium fulfils both demands – function- doors: at home, at work, when shopping, and ality and aesthetics. The use of aluminium in the course of a lot of leisure activities. Build- is not restricted to doors and windows. The de- ings affect our lives - as dwellings, office signers of consumer products have discovered buildings and factories. Living is more than the silver-coloured metal for furniture and just having a roof over one’s head. The de- parts of the interior design: for example, for the fronts of cupboards, bed frames, tables, with increasing prosperity. Today, living chairs and shelving systems. Besides this, comfortably means more than just having in- there are a lot of household or designer items tact sanitary facilities, heated rooms or run- made from aluminium, such as wall or hang- ning hot water. In addition to physical com- ing lamps, which not only provide light but fort there is also mental well-being. Thus, also create a pleasant ambience. Aluminium the quality of life, aesthetics and design are becoming more important. People don’t just monplace items as stepladders and rubbish want to live comfortably, they also want to For example, this dining table made aspects, too. As a material for roofs, walls architecture of buildings and the materials and façades, aluminium improves the appear- used epitomise the image of a town and the ance of lots of buildings and the adjoining countryside just as the interior decoration of open spaces: power stations, office blocks, a house or flat reflects the personality of the opera houses, clinics or shopping arcades. As person living in it. One only has to think about a large, shiny profile sheet it prevents people the drab high-rise buildings from the East looking right into the building; as a support- German era or the dreary factories of the past.
ing structure in combination with glass it cre- Modern buildings don’t only have to fulfil ates bright rooms, flooded with light. One functional and economic criteria, they also even comes across the material in Alpine huts have to satisfy socio-cultural demands. From and shelters – such as the Meilerhütte, which an architectural, town-planning and aesthe- is rich in tradition and located in the Wetter- tic point of view, one should use materials stein mountain region, at a height of 2400 that are modern and which make people feel metres. Here, where the wind can reach speeds comfortable. This is also expressed in the up to 240 kilometres an hour and there are guide to sustainable building issued by the extreme temperature fluctuations, one turned German Federal Ministry of Transport, Build- to aluminium as the material for the windows and the façade structure a few years ago when Aluminium can look back on a long tradition the shelter was refurbished. And following a as a building material. Architects used to fire, aluminium was also chosen for the re- choose the light metal because it was weather construction of Europe’s highest railway sta- resistant, required little maintenance and was tion, on the Jungfraujoch mountain in Swit- long-lasting; nowadays there are aesthetic aluminium is an important material create areas for living and working Social aspects at international level
The globalisation of trade means that a company‘s social responsibility does not cease once the company is operating across the border. This is particularly true for a business like countries that are of particular importance to the global aluminium industry will be used terised by its internationality. Some of the as examples to illustrate the social aspects Jamaica: The Caribbean island is not only communities in these fields (for example, one of the world’s largest bauxite and alu- providing equipment for hospitals, build- mina producers. The aluminium industry is ing schools or providing grants for school an important economic and social factor in fees, text books or places for further edu- ■ It accounts for about 50 percent of Ja- maica’s exports and is thus the country’s If people from mining areas have to be re- second largest source of foreign currency.
settled temporarily while bauxite is being ■ It provides direct employment, with well- extracted, this is carried out under fully ac- paid jobs, for over 4,000 people. For ex- ceptable social conditions. After it has been ample, the least qualified workers earn up mined, the land is returned to its original own- adjoining areas during the intervening period.
■ Farming on land that is not yet being - or The farmers receive compensation for lost is no longer being - mined, results in the production and are then given the necessary aluminium industry also being the island’s basic quantities of seeds and seedlings free of charge for three years after they return. In ad- dition, the social and technical infrastructure of the villages is upgraded significantly when ■ safety-at-work programmes and safety training to reduce accident rates in the Wirtz, A. / Schäfer, J. H. 1999: Jamaica's Bauxite Industry – A Methodological Approach to the Identification of External Effects. In Braunkohle / Surface Mining 6/99 (only summary in English) ■ medical care and teaching for workers and Gocht, W. / Martens, P. N. / Röhrlich, M. 2001: Quantification of external effects of bauxite their families and co-operation with local mining and alumina production. In Erzmetall Vol 54 No 5 (only summary in English) Australia: Australia is the largest producer of of bauxite mines. This applies, for example, bauxite and alumina and the fifth largest pro- to the landscaping, road-building projects and ducer of primary aluminium in the world. The medical care. Among other things, the alu- minium industry has awarded the Aborigines far as social aspects are concerned, one should long-term contracts for the transport of bauxite mention above all the close partnership that or the provision of seeds for land recultivation.
This ensures that the native inhabitants have panies and the Aborigines. The native inhabi- a reliable source of income for decades.5 tants are closely involved in the recultivation Brazil: There are about 50,000 people di- of relocation but also regulations that result rectly employed in the country’s aluminium from the setting up of nature reserves and industry. Of special importance is bauxite mining, three quarters of which is carried out MRN is actively engaged in a number of so- in the Amazon basin at Porto Trombetas. The cial projects that help the quilombolas to help facility is operated by Mineraçao Rio do Norte themselves, including projects in the follow- (MRN). In the Trombetas region, one fore- went the establishment of further industries in ■ poultry and fish farming, fruit and vege- favour of nature reserves and biological pro- Around the bauxite mining area there are a number of small villages, so-called quilombos, which were set up about 200 years ago by es- in São Paulo for this measure in 1999.) caped slaves (quilombolas). The quilombolas Apart from measures to rehabilitate use the rain forest in a traditional manner.
Therefore, with the participation of the Bra- ■ helping the villages make claims for the part of the social measures is devoted zilian environmental authorities, one is trying land rights in their local areas with the to children, such as the setting up to balance out the interests of the quilombo- las and MRN. This covers not only questions versity education. So far, 190 scholarships have been awarded. For the younger children Trade and the United Nations’ Environmental of employees, summer camps are held every Programme for its contributions to environ- year and these offer the children the chance mental protection. The company is also ac- to participate in a number of leisure activities tively engaged from a social point of view. It and sports. Older children are offered courses regularly awards scholarships to the children of its employees to enable them to have a uni- Martens, P. N. et al 1999: Aspects of Bauxite Winning at Weipa Opencast Mine in Australia, with Special Emphasis on Recultivation. In Braunkohle / Surface Mining Vol 51 No 2 (only summary in English) Sliwka, P. / Bauer, C. 2000: Bauxite Mining at Porto Trombetas. A discussion of sustainable development in mining. In Braunkohle / Surface Mining Vol. 52 No 4 the country since it gained its independence from Portugal in 1975 and has been operat- contributed to the development of poor coun- ing since 2000. It employs 750 people and tries. One will be mentioned briefly here, the nine out of every ten workers are Mozambi- cans. At a stroke the plant increased Mo- Mozambique, one of the poorest countries in Africa. The plant is the largest investment in Solar cookers – helping people to help themselves bright-polished aluminium sheet and they fo- where aluminium can provide useful support cus the suns rays. The cooking area is at the is the widespread use of solar cookers in Third focal point and can reach temperatures of 700 World countries. According to the charity Deutsche Welthungerhilfe, there are about The aluminium industry promotes the wider two billion people in the world today who use of solar cookers. For example, the Ger- rely on firewood for cooking. In some regions, the local forestry can no longer satisfy people’s is supporting a joint project between the Ger- needs. In addition, chopping down trees leads man Federal Ministry for Economic Co-opera- to heavy soil erosion, the ground becomes tion and Development and the German Society impoverished, the water table is lowered and for Technical Co-operation, GTZ. This covers the manufacture and distribution of solar The use of solar cookers helps counteract this development. The collectors, which are simi- lar to a satellite dish, are made of anodised essential for a lot of people in Third World countries. However, there is recent years by supplying the material for often not enough to go round. This is supported various solar cooker projects in high-grade aluminium mirrors free of charge.
Conclusion
It has been shown here that aluminium has lots to offer – also from a so- cial point of view. The industry and its manufacturing plants are actively par- ticipating locally and globally in the discussion on the social responsibility of companies towards their employees and society. This applies to both the process level and the product level. When it comes to materials competing to offer the best solution for a given product, aluminium plays an important role, not only from a func- tional but also from a social point of view. It provides benefits for today’s generation and for future generations, too.7 As a reusable material that demonstrates its recyclability every day, aluminium enters into a social “agreement between generations”, which also extends far into the future. Glimm, St. / Schäfer, J. H. 2001: Aluminium – a contract between generations. In Aluminium 1/2001 Publisher:
Concept /design by:
Printed and produced by:
Deutscher Bundestag; photographer: Achim Melde Gesamtverband der Aluminiumindustrie e.V.
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