The convenient coffee pods, which are widely used by a variety of manufacturers, have come under fire for their single-use functionality and lack of recyclable materials.
In a rather unusual partnership, mining major Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO,NYSE:RIO) has teamed up with Swiss coffee producer Nespresso (SWX:NESN) to create the first coffee pod using responsibly sourced aluminum.
The companies, which entered into a memorandum of understanding, will work with Nespresso’s coffee capsule manufacturer to design the unique pod. The goal for the two is to use 100-percent sustainable aluminum by 2020.
The convenient coffee pods, which are widely used by a variety of manufactures, had come under fire by environmentalist groups and watchdogs for their single use function and lack of recyclable materials.
“This as an important step towards the use of responsibly sourced aluminum across manufacturing industries, which Rio Tinto is the first to supply,” Rio Tinto Aluminium Chief Executive Alf Barrios said in the press release.
“We expect the demand from consumers for sustainable products to continue growing and Nespresso drinkers can have confidence the aluminum we supply for their capsules meets the highest international standards.”
The specially crafted Nespresso capsule will be the first to use ethically sourced aluminum, in compliance with the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI). Materials sealed with the Certified Aluminum standard adhere to an international rule designed to reduce the global impact of popular metal.
Part of the ASI guidelines mandate the protection of biodiversity, respect for indigenous peoples’ rights, water management and low-carbon emissions during the production of aluminum.
The standards set out by the ASI are a milestone and are the first of its kind for any industrial metal.
“Nespresso is proud to have been a driving force in creating and implementing the ASI,” Nespresso Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Duvoisin said.
“Together we have made responsibly-sourced aluminum a reality, and the ASI traceability mechanism will enable us to meet our commitment to customers to reduce the impact of their consumption.”
Both Rio Tinto and Nespresso are founding members of the newly formed ASI, which boasts a transparent ‘chain of custody’ starting in the company’s Australian Gove bauxite mine all the way to its alumina refinery, aluminum smelters and casthouses in Quebec, Canada.
Rio Tinto is also working to develop the world’s first carbon free aluminum-smelting process.
Shares of Rio Tinto were up slightly on Monday (November 19), trading at AU$79.44.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.