Really George, it's ASI certified coffee capsules

The very first sustainably certified aluminium products will soon be on the market. Nespresso and Rio Tinto, are collaborating to provide a complete supply chain for coffee capsules made from aluminium certified to the ASI (Aluminium Stewardship Initiative) standard for responsible production and sourcing. Consumers will be able to buy sustainable coffee capsules from 2020.

The ASI scheme was launched just over a year ago so it is encouraging that the market debut of the first ASI certified product is already in sight. That a package should be the first certified product is perhaps not surprising given the current focus on the sustainability of single use items. ASI promotes both responsible production of primary aluminium and the increasing use of recycled aluminium, which aligns with Nespresso’s commitment to recycling.

Other ASI members have promised sustainable aluminium products. Audi announced that it will be working with its supply chain to achieve ASI certification for the aluminium components of the battery housing of the Audi e-tron.  SIG Combi bloc is also looking to use sustainable aluminium in multilayer packaging. But these promises depend on all members of the respective supply chains becoming ASI certified to both the Performance and Chain of Custody Standards. The longer the supply chain the more companies must gain certification to both Standards, which means going beyond the minimum requirements of the Scheme.

Industry members of the ASI commit to certifying a site or a product line to the Performance Standard within two years of joining. However the commitment doesn't extend to the Chain of Custody Standard, which is crucial to linking up the supply chain.  This concept is new to the metals industry, but it has been in use in the timber sector for twenty five years.  Of the nine companies that have obtained ASI certificates so far, only three have also obtained Chain of Custody certification. To encourage uptake, the ASI has adopted the chain of custody model known as ‘mass balance’, which is the most suitable for the processing industry as it allows sustainable aluminium to be mixed with conventional material.  So as Nespresso completes the Quest for the first ASI product, others are still on the journey towards a certified supply chain. 

Updated on 7th March 2019

Published: 2 January 19

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