WASHINGTON, DC – April 20, 2023 – Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) and all its aluminum beverage can manufacturer and can sheet producer members endorsed Mission Possible Partnership’s (MPP) transition strategy for a net-zero, 1.5°C-aligned aluminum industry. These endorsements reflect the aluminum beverage can industry’s aim to reduce the carbon footprint of the relatively small amount of primary aluminum in beverage cans, thereby contributing toward the needed progress in the fight against climate change.
Since the 1990s, the carbon footprint of aluminum beverage cans made in North America has dropped by nearly half. Endorsing and acting on the MPP strategy will result in even further reductions in the carbon footprint of the aluminum beverage can since the primary aluminum incorporated into aluminum beverage cans would have a reduced carbon profile.
Transitioning the aluminum industry to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while complying with a target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C from preindustrial levels will require a variety of actions including deploying new technologies, decarbonizing power supply and increasing material and product efficiency. The MPP aluminum transition strategy provides an actionable, achievable plan. Through their endorsements, CMI aluminum beverage can sector members are agreeing on the importance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and recognizing that actions to support the transition to achieve a 1.5°C-aligned scenario should be pursued expeditiously.
One of the other ways to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminum beverage cans is increasing the recycled content used in new cans. Today, aluminum beverage cans manufactured in the United States average 73 percent recycled content, the highest average of any beverage container. That number will increase, decreasing the need for primary aluminum, if the industry is successful in reaching stated aluminum beverage can recycling rate targets. These targets, as set by CMI and its members, entail going from a 45 percent recycling rate in 2020, which makes it the most recycled beverage container in the United States, to a 70 percent rate in 2030, 80 percent rate in 2040 and 90 percent rate in 2050. CMI’s Aluminum Beverage Can Recycling Primer and Roadmap details how these targets can be achieved. Recycling more aluminum beverage cans means a greater environmental and economic impact, as well as more cans exemplifying the circular economy as they go from recycling bin back to store shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days.
“Our strategy has two parallel paths to further reduce the carbon footprint of the aluminum beverage can— lower the carbon footprint of any primary aluminum incorporated into beverage cans and increase the recovery of used beverage cans so the recycled content in new cans increases,” said Scott Breen, CMI’s vice president of sustainability. “Our members have shown leadership in both of these areas by endorsing Mission Possible Partnership’s strategy to foster a net-zero, 1.5°C-aligned aluminum industry and by committing to ambitious U.S. aluminum beverage can recycling rate targets.”
These endorsements follow a gathering of more than 100 leaders across the aluminum beverage can value chain for the Global Aluminium Can Sustainability Summit in September 2022. CMI and the International Aluminium Institute co-organized the event with funding from Ardagh Metal Packaging and Crown Holdings. One of the two focus areas of this Summit was aluminum decarbonization. A representative from MPP unveiled the aluminum sector transition strategy for the first time as part of the Summit.
Enacting the sector transition strategy will take time and large investments. MPP believes cumulative investment of approximately $1 trillion across the primary production value chain will be needed to deliver a net-zero sector, or a 1.5°C pathway. CMI, its aluminum beverage can manufacturer members (Ardagh Metal Packaging, CANPACK, Crown Holdings and Envases), its aluminum beverage can sheet producer members (Constellium, Kaiser Aluminum, Novelis and Tri-Arrows Aluminum), as well as its partner and fellow endorser The Aluminum Association, will be working with a variety of stakeholders inside and outside of the industry to catalyze the necessary actions and investments to pursue this transition strategy.
About Can Manufacturers Institute
The Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) is the national trade association of the metal can manufacturing industry and its suppliers in the United States. The can industry accounts for the annual domestic production of approximately 130.7 billion food, beverage and general line cans; employs more than 28,000 people with plants in 33 states, Puerto Rico and American Samoa; and generates about $15.7 billion in direct economic activity. CMI members are committed to providing safe, nutritious and refreshing canned food and beverages to consumers in the most sustainable packaging.