Go Initiative of Alcan International Network aims at supporting business into the new Environmental era
3 November 2010
In May 2010, Alcan International Network, AIN, launched an environmental programme called the GO Initiative. Building on three years’ preparation work, GO encompasses a comprehensive range of expertise and solutions, services and products related to helping its customers, principals and potential partners for their environmental issues.
Alcan International Network, AIN, is a worldwide sales and services organisation of 27 offices, owned by Alcan’s Engineering Products Division and serves more than 300 manufacturing including those in the abrasives industry. Its mission is to create highly valuable business links between manufacturers and their worldwide customers in raw materials & equipment and chemicals & minerals (More at www.alcan-network.com).
In essence, the GO Initiative is a strategic methodology declined around 4 axes to propose customers and principals knowledge and expert resources to help them integrating sustainability (http://go.alcan-network.com).
According to Marie-Aude Paul, GO Initiative Global Co-ordinator “GO is a branding programme with a clear framework and building practical tools”.It is also based upon long term commitments and capitalizes on the approach developed through GO own Sustainability Foundation. Indeed, specific trainings to all employees, organizational best practices linked to environment as well as EHS policy are the 3 pillars of the AIN Sustainability foundation.
The programme, Marie Aude explains, is founded on four pillars. The first one concerns regulations and standards; the second is about operations and processes; the third one reaches the green market segments and the 4th and last one is a marketing approach on GO selected products.
To explain these, Marie-Aude Paul gives some practical examples.
In regards to regulations and standards, AIN works with its customers to ensure compliance and anticipate new stakes. AIN has a team dedicated to regulations and standards issues. As a practical example, the GO team has worked with Japanese experts on Chemical Substances Control Law (CSCL) issues. In Europe, technical expertise was given to a refractories and ceramics company whose business was impacted by REACh regulation.
In relation to operations and processes, this is best explained by AIN Chemical and Minerals Japan helping one of its customers with an eco-design programme aimed at reducing hazardous material in its production processes by substituting an existing product with a starch-based biopolymer. Within the GO network, participants have access to the latest reports and information on trends which guides such developments.
Identifying green niches is also part of the programme. AIN focuses on five areas: renewable energies, green building, green chemistry, water treatment and recycling. For example, there is a growing trend for natural products for many industrial applications and green chemistry is seen as a major market growth opportunity. Solar photovoltaic is one key growth renewable energy technology. “AIN has developed knowledge of the supply chain to be able to support customers in their product and services requirements,” says Marie-Aude Paul. AIN China, for example, supports the industry with material solutions for this industry.
Finally, promoting selected products that exhibit strong environmental benefits for the customers is the last (but not least) pillar of the GO Initiative. As Marie-Aude Paul notes, “we are launching marketing actions with principals to promote their products with our GO brand which is shared with different principals from a wide range of industrial sectors and countries” An example is the selection of products such as Dantherm air filters and Carbon Savoie cathodes as GO co-branded products.
AIN’s GO Initiative is an indication that environmental concerns are now part of corporate thinking in all areas of industry and that, by taking these issues to heart, can represent new opportunities for market growth.