LONDON – Russian aluminium giant Rusal launched a low-carbon certification programme and new brand on Wednesday in an effort to get more value from the green footprint of its smelters.
Some customers are willing to pay $20 to $50 a tonne more for low-carbon metal, although no fixed premium will be attached to Rusal's "Allow" brand, Head of Sales Steve Hodgson told Reuters.
More than 90% of Rusal's output is made using hydropower, but only 100 000 tonnes this year were sold to customers who specified low-carbon metal, he said.
"That's only 3% of our total ... but if about 15% of global industry figures out that this is what they want that's about 10-million tonnes, that's not inconceivable."
The new Allow brand of Rusal, one of the world's biggest producers, will cover about 80% of its total output, which amounted to 3.7-million tonnes last year.
Rusal is following the lead of rivals such as Alcoa and Rio Tinto, which are already charging premium prices for aluminium made using renewable energy rather than fossil fuels.
Rio has said its green brand RenewAl added $6-million to core earnings (EBITDA) in its launch year of 2015 and sales were growing.
Companies including Apple and Toyota are working to reduce the carbon footprint of their products.
Rusal will certify that the production of its Allow green metal releases a maximum of four tonnes of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions, compared to around 18 tonnes for metal produced using coal-generated power.
Launching the brand has allowed Rusal to talk to companies it has never spoken to before, those who use aluminium rather than create products from it, Hodgson said.
"We're talking to people way down the value chain, the guys that fill the cans, not make the cans. It's giving us an appreciation of how organisations are trying to decarbonise their supply chains."