In the year 2000 the project idea "to develop a sustainability indicator set for the European aluminium industry" was the starting point of a four-year collaboration between the Gesamtverband der Aluminiumindustrie, the European Aluminium Association, the Wuppertal Institute and triple innova.
The project idea is based on the increasing need for transparency and accountability for sustainable industrial development, both at company and sectoral level. Recently, it has become more significant for consumers, shareholders and the political actors how different products are being produced. Shareholders of companies, NGOs, media, public institutions and local communities also play an increasing role in raising awareness in this field, especially with respect to corporate scandals. Hence, the reputation of corporations has become a key managerial concern in many sectors as the public valuation of corporations can drastically change the economic success of their particular products.
The project developed a set of sustainability indicators for the European aluminium industry and encouraged a dialogue on sustainable development with the European aluminium industry using the COMPASS methodology, developed at the Wuppertal Institute (Kuhndt and Liedkte, 1999). The project analysed initiatives and indicators for sustainable development (e.g. United Nations' Global Compact, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, SA 8000, ISO 14031, GRI Guidelines) regarding their relevance for the European aluminium industry. Based on a survey of internal and external stakeholders, the project identified relevant focus areas and developed a sustainability indicator set. The results have provided the basis for an ongoing discussion with internal and external stakeholders. In October 2004, the European Aluminium Association released a sector-wide sustainability report, covering 34 indicators for the whole sector at the European level.
An executive project summary prepared by the Wuppertal Institute and triple innova describes the applied research collaboration as a journey of dialogues, available at www.sustainability-compass.net.