LME launches digital sustainability passport, begins with aluminum

The LMEpassport is a key component of the exchange sustainability strategy. (Image courtesy of LME.)

The London Metal Exchange (LME), the world’s biggest industrial metals market, has launched a register to digitally store sustainability credentials and other characteristics of metals trading on its platform, beginning with aluminum. 

The digital credential, known as the LMEpassport, stores electronic Certificates of Analysis (CoAs) or quality assurance documents based on a metal’s size, shape, purity and other characteristics. 

It also allows users to disclose information on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) credentials, including carbon footprint, water use and social impact. 

Aluminum, which requires huge amounts of power to smelt, is one of the most carbon-intensive metals, emitting an average of 16.5 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of production

The exchange said existing paper and PDF format documents can be easily scanned and integrated into the platform, transforming previously unstructured data into information that can be queried and reported on. 

Aluminum, which requires huge amounts of power to smelt, is one of the most carbon-intensive metals, emitting an average of 16.5 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of production. In contrast, steel processing, while a much bigger polluter overall, emits just 2.3 tonnes per tonne.

About 60% of aluminum emissions are from electricity used to smelt raw materials into the lightweight metal, according to a report released by the industry group in March that detailed ways to reduce emissions. 

Demand for the metal is due to grow by 80% to around 180 million tonnes of semi-fabricated products by 2050, mainly because it is needed to help other sectors cut emissions, as well as in electric vehicles, “green buildings” and power cabling, the study from the International Aluminium Institute shows. 

The sector must find ways to slash its CO2 emissions from the current levels of 1.1 billion tonnes to 250 million tonnes by 2050, according to the study. If nothing is done, emissions are projected to grow to 1.6 billion tonnes by then. 

Staged adoption

The LME is also launching a spot trading platform for lower carbon aluminum, made using renewable power. 

Disclosure of sustainability data will at first be voluntary, but the exchange will work with liaise with the market to “monitor take-up and decide next steps as appropriate.” 

Aluminum producers will be able to use the register from October 1, and other metal producers will follow from January 1, LME said. 

By 2023, all LME metals requiring a CoA will have to use a LMEpassport. And by January 1, 2024, producers of all LME-listed brands will be required to directly register new metal production details into the register. 

More News