In a letter penned by President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg, mandatory curtailment at Alunorte and a spike in raw material costs conspired to damage Norwegian aluminium smelter Norsk Hydro ASA’s bottom line last year.
Noting that Extruded Solutions was fully integrated in the firm last year and operations at Karmøy technology pilot, Brandtzæg explained that these high points came amid serious challenges for the firm.
“At the same time, 2018 stands out as the most demanding year for me as president and CEO of Hydro. We have learned from the Alunorte situation – both with regards to our operational activities inside the fence of Alunorte, as well as how local communities surrounding our operations regard us as a neighbor. Through dialog with our local communities, we realize that we had not lived up to their expectations or our own ambitions. Hydro can only succeed as a company if the societies around us are viable.”
Brandtzæg continued by noting the detrimental effect of stoppages at Alunorte and the imposition of various tariffs and other government charges as impediments to both the continued technological projects the firm is working on and its overall bottom line.
However, he opined that, as long as Hydro continues making inroads in the entire aluminium value chain, it can continue to responsibly weather the market’s ups and downs.
“Being engaged in the entire aluminium value chain provides advantages that are unmatched by our global peers. By tracking each step along the way, we are able to document and be transparent about our sustainability practices. As part of taking responsibility, and to contribute to sustainable development, we have taken part in developing the standards of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative. The first Hydro plants have already received certification, and we are on track with our plan to achieve certification along the entire aluminium value chain from mine to recycling in the coming months.”
In addition, Brandtzæg says the specter of climate change produces a unique opportunity for the company. Technological and scientific breakthroughs will not only battle creeping environmental change, it will also give Hydro one-of-a-kind opportunities to leverage that technology to enhance its bottom line.
“In short, by bringing to life the unique qualities of aluminium, we address both the greatest threat and opportunity of our time,” Brandtzæg opined.