START: Road to sustainability

March 1, 2023

Paramita Das, Head of Metals & Minerals, Marketing and ESG at Rio Tinto shares how START is playing an important role in Rio Tinto’s sustainable aluminium journey in a recent AlCircle article. We share excerpts from her interview. Download the full article.

AlCircle: Could you share more about Rio Tinto’s sustainable aluminium journey?

Paramita Das: As an industry leader in responsible aluminium, we’re committed to bringing sustainable aluminium to market. We launched the industry’s first certified low carbon aluminium, called RenewAL and became the first company to receive certification from the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) as producing “responsible” aluminium”. We are also helping further develop ELYSIS™, a breakthrough smelting technology to produce aluminium with no direct greenhouse gas emissions, which is now being used in Apple products.

And in 2021, we launched START, another pioneering step in our on-going sustainability journey with our customers. Using blockchain technology, START works like a ‘nutrition label’ for aluminium – providing transparency and traceability across our supply chain, so end users can see environmental, social, and governance information across 14 areas including carbon footprint, water use, and recycled content.

AlCircle: Speaking of technologies (START), can you tell us how Rio Tinto’s first sustainability label is performing? How have customers responded?

Paramita Das: In a 2022 pilot with ABInBev, we launched a specially-marked Corona beverage can in Canada. The cans had the lowest CO2 footprint in the world – made from Rio Tinto aluminium, including ELYSIS™. In this pilot, the cans included a consumer QR code. Scanning the code took users to a web page to learn more about the cans’ low carbon footprint.

This ground breaking pilot is the next step towards putting a fully traceable beverage can in the hands of consumers.

Since START was launched in 2021, we have received overwhelmingly positive support from our customers. The high level of interest further corroborates the demand for traceability, provenance, and sustainability in the industry. Sustainability is a team sport, and we’ll need more like-minded partners to come and work together with us.

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