The future of chain of custody certification


AUDI AG is the first automobile manufacturer to be awarded the “Chain of Custody” certificate from the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI). It certifies that Audi can adhere to the material flow chain for sustainably produced aluminum in accordance with the ASI standard and transfer the appropriately certified material into the "aluminum closed loop" with its suppliers. The sustainability level certified by ASI is therefore fully retained not only for the vehicle components, but also for the process blanks from the Audi press shops that are routed in a cycle.

The Aluminum Stewardship Initiative considers ethical, ecological and social aspects along the entire aluminum value chain in order to achieve continuous improvements. The focus is on efficient and economical use of the recyclable material in order to save valuable resources and limit the need for primary aluminum. Furthermore, the environmental impacts caused by the mining of bauxite and the further refinement of the material are to be reduced. ASI also focuses on the people who are part of the aluminum supply chain. Among other things, the members ensure that human rights are respected along the value chain and work together to develop solutions and measures to ensure compliance. For example, representatives of indigenous peoples who live near bauxite mines are an integral part of the organizational structure of the ASI. Exchanges with union representatives also play an important role.

The aluminum supply chain comprises several sub-supplier levels. The processes for implementing the ASI standards at all levels and for monitoring compliance with them are correspondingly complex. Dirk Groß-Loheide, Board Member for Procurement and IT at AUDI AG, says: “We are responsible for everyone who is part of our supply chain. We owe future generations a respectful use of natural resources. Membership in the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative helps us enormously to meet this responsibility. Resource efficiency is the key to a sustainable industry. "

The importance of aluminum for Audi

Aluminum has been used as a key material in the body and chassis at Audi since the 1990s. As part of the "Aluminum Closed Loop", the company contributes to the most efficient possible use of the energy-intensive material aluminum. The offcuts that arise in the press shops are returned to the suppliers sorted by type. These can use the high-quality secondary material for the production of new aluminum sheets and thus require less primary aluminum. The ASI Chain of Custody certificate confirms that the Audi press shops process and track the certified material according to type - as a result, the seal of approval is also retained for the offcuts. This "aluminum closed loop" started at the Neckarsulm site in 2017, followed by the press shop in Ingolstadt in 2020. The Audi site in Győr will use the procedure from 2021. As a result, around 150,000 t of CO2 emissions were avoided in 2019 alone.

Audi and the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative: cooperation since 2013

Audi has been involved in the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative since 2013, which now has 143 members from the aluminum industry. The common goal of the stakeholders is to make aluminum production as sustainable as possible and to ensure more transparency in the aluminum sector. In 2018, Audi was the first automobile manufacturer worldwide to be awarded the "Performance Standard" certificate by ASI. The initiative thus certified that Audi manufactures and installs the aluminum components of the battery housing for the Audi e-tron series in accordance with ASI requirements. For this purpose, independent experts carried out audits at the locations in Győr, Neckarsulm and Brussels. The rule-compliant handover of the material between the process partners involved is now the next step. At the end of 2020, Audi received the ASI seal of approval for the aluminum processing chain at the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm locations, with further locations to follow in 2021.

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