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Rio Tinto and Marubeni partner to create stronger and more responsible aluminum supply chains

Rio Tinto and Japanese trader and business conglomerate Marubeni Corporation have agreed a first sale under a new strategic collaboration agreement to secure a sustainable and reliable supply of Rio Tinto’s Responsible aluminum products to Japanese downstream manufacturers. The first sale is a batch of Rio Tinto’s RenewAl high purity aluminum (earlier post), from the renewably powered New Zealand aluminum Smelters (NZAS), to a major Japanese motorcycle manufacturer committed to reducing carbon emissions throughout its supply chains and manufacturing process.

The agreement, the first of its kind in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, is focused on providing downstream industry with a simple, integrated way to achieve ESG-related goals and requirements, such as reducing carbon footprints, disclosing lifecycle assessment (LCA), and sourcing responsibly. It will also provide strong long-term security of supply at a time of growing supply-chain risks.

It combines Rio Tinto’s suite of Responsible aluminum products—which include RenewAl, the industry’s first certified low carbon aluminum, aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI) certified aluminum, and the digital traceability platform START—with Marubeni’s extensive trading network, commercial capability and carbon credit mechanism, Neutr-Al, which will be offered as part of the collaboration.

Neutr-Al is a carbon credit mechanism Marubeni offers to customers where it is applicable. It helps offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the aluminum supply chain including transportation activities. Such carbon credits are created by GHG reduction and/or absorption activities in Japan and abroad.

In 2016, Rio Tinto launched RenewAl, the world’s first certified low CO2 primary aluminum brand. It has helped to pioneer responsible production standards for the global industry as a founding member of the aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI), becoming the first producer to offer ASI aluminum in 2018.

In 2021, Rio Tinto launched START, a new standard in transparency, traceability and provenance. Using secure blockchain technology, START provides key environmental, social and governance (ESG) information about how Rio Tinto products were made. It covers fourteen criteria: global warming potential, water management, waste management, energy sources, air emissions, biodiversity, land management, recycled content, safety performance, community investment, third-party assessments, ethics & compliance training, diversity in leadership and Rio Tinto’s whistleblower program.


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