Rusal will plant over one million trees in Russia as part of its climate strategy that aims to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
The initiative represents Russia’s largest ever forest restoration project. The initiative will see half a million trees planted over an area of 120 hectares in the Krasnoyarsk region and a forest protection scheme for the Lower Yenisei forestry will be established. An Aerial Forest Protection Service will oversee an area of more than 500,000 hectares and will carry out extensive monitoring of the forests to minimize the risk of fires and illegal logging. An additional half a million trees will be planted by Rusal in other regions later this year.
Rusal’s forestry programme contributes to the UN’s target to restore 350 million hectares of forests around the world by 2030 in response to the damaging effects of climate change.
While the rate of global deforestation has slowed by more than half since the early 1990s, individual tree loss has increased by 50% in recent years. Newly planted trees need up to 13 years to reach maximum CO2 absorption levels, meaning that the ongoing protection of existing and new forests is essential to ensure that the world can benefit from the reduction in harmful greenhouse gases that forests provide.
Setting out Rusal’s commitment, CEO Evgenii Nikitin said: “The issue of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions is one of the most pressing challenges facing the modern world. The carbon footprint of our products is already one of the lowest in the industry, however, there is always more we can do and in the long term, we intend to offset the greenhouse gas emissions that make up the full carbon footprint of Rusal’s primary aluminium products. This ambitious initiative to restore and protect Russia’s forests, combined with our existing equipment modernization programmes, will help us achieve this goal, whilst giving more people the chance to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits that forests provide.”
Rusal is one of the global industry leaders in the production of low-carbon aluminium. More than 90% of the company’s metal is produced using environmentally friendly hydropower plants, which eliminates harmful emissions, and the company is focused on continually improving this statistic. Implementation of the carbon-free technology for the production of aluminium using inert anodes, which is a revolutionary project for the aluminium industry, is now at an advanced stage, says Rusal. In 2017, the company presented its innovative new low-carbon aluminium brand – Allow. All metal produced under the Allow brand is certified and independently verified as being within the declared carbon footprint level, which is lower than 4 tonnes CO2/t Al, while the world average is currently around 12 tonnes CO2/t Al (including direct and indirect energy emissions from aluminium smelters).
In addition, RUSAL is one of the founding members of the Climate Partnership of Russia and continues to be an active participant. The Climate Partnership of Russia brings together leading Russian companies that are interested in implementing projects focused on fighting the harmful effects of climate change and the development of low-carbon, eco-friendly technologies, as well as reducing the overall anthropogenic impact on our climate system.