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Alcoa reaffirmed its commitment to the pursuit of a sustainable future on October 11, drawing a clear connection between environmental sustainability, through efficiency and conservation, and economic sustainability in the current climate.
Speaking at the Alcoa Foundation’s worldwide Advancing Sustainability conference in Barcelona, Spain, Alcoa president and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said that, for Alcoa, operating in a sustainable way was as much about ensuring a solid economic future as a secure environmental future and that it was false to suggest business could have either economic security or sustainability – but not both.
“For Alcoa, sustainability has always been an integral part of our company culture and today more than ever it is critical that we continue to integrate sustainability into all corporate decision making – both inside our business through the products we make and how we manufacture, to our interaction with our external environment through a core focus on energy efficiency and resource conservation. Sustainability is about more than just ‘doing good’. It is also about smart business, and at times like these when the economy is down, it is important to make that point very clearly,” said Kleinfeld.
Kleinfeld’s comments were made before more than 160 sustainability thought leaders and practitioners, as well as Alcoa’s senior global leadership, at the Foundation’s second biennial Advancing Sustainability Conference, convened to not only share research results from its flagship Conservation and Sustainability Fellowship Program, but facilitate global cross-sector partnerships and networks to move to the next level of unlocking our collective potential to address global sustainability challenges.
In addressing the convention, Kleinfeld furthermore announced a renewed commitment by Alcoa Foundation to the advancement of a sustainable future, confirming a six-year extension of the Foundation’s flagship Conservation and Sustainability Fellowship Program.
The Fellowship program, which commenced in late 2005, is delivering fresh insight into the opportunities and challenges facing the field of conservation and sustainability – environmentally, socially and economically – and linking academia, business, government, and non-governmental organizations around sustainable solutions for joint action.
In making the announcement, Kleinfeld said the extension of the Conservation and Sustainability Fellowship Program would unlock answers to the most challenging sustainability issues facing the world today - climate change, energy use, water management, accelerated growth and development in emerging countries by ensuring continued support for the work of over 90 research fellows in all corners of the globe.
“From Australia to Zambia, the program’s fellows are tackling issues that have local impact and global implications - with a goal of providing government and business leaders with usable information they can apply to meet specific sustainability and conservation challenges,” said Kleinfeld. “The fellows of this program today are the leaders of tomorrow, and their work is not only defining the challenges we face as a global community, but giving decision makers usable information in the creation of appropriate policy responses to ensure a sustainable future for us all.”