Three global manufacturing companies – BMW Group, Tetra Pak and Schűco International KG – have responded to concerns over the use of aluminium made from bauxite mined in the Atewa Forest.
Their positions have been communicated in letters to the Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape (CCAL), the grassroots movement advocating against bauxite mining in Atewa Forest.
The three companies are all members of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) established to certify members and their products in the bauxite-aluminium supply chain that meet its sustainability standards.
While the companies recognise the Ghana government’s desire to develop the aluminium sector for economic development and poverty reduction, they have firmly stated that their commitments to sustainability will not be compromised. All three companies pointed to their endorsement of the ASI’s social and environmental standards, and said they also want their suppliers to meet these same standards.
The BMW Group, a founding member of the ASI, said “Bauxite from the region of the Atewa Forest needs to be in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UNFCCC Paris Agreement on Climate Change and Ghana’s voluntary national contributions towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. If this is not the case the BMW Group will not accept aluminium in its supply chains that originates bauxite from the Atewa Forest”.
Tetra Pak said that “sourcing aluminium produced with bauxite mined in the Atewa Range Forest Reserve at Kyebi in Eastern Ghana presents a level of risk that is completely unacceptable to Tetra Pak… No matter how high the environmental standards that are applied, any form of mining at this site will have an unavoidable destructive impact on the values inherent in such a natural habitat”.
Schűco said it “would therefore oblige our aluminium suppliers not to supply aluminium derived from bauxite mined in the Atewa Range Forest Reserve, and we intend to encourage other aluminium users to join us in this commitment”.
Campaigners advocating for protection of the Atewa Forest have repeatedly stated that mining bauxite in the Atewa Forest would not meet ASI’s requirements. Bauxite mining in Atewa would threaten species with global extinction, undermining the Convention on Biodiversity and the Sustainable Development Goals that both set clear targets to stop extinctions.
If bauxite from Atewa forms part of Ghana’s aluminium supply, the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) risks outright rejection of all Ghana’s bauxite and aluminium by responsible aluminium users such as these.
Mr. Oteng Adjei, President of CCAL, said “Saving Atewa Forest from mining should be an intergenerational priority, and we are happy and grateful that big businesses in the aluminium value chain understand the importance of a healthy forest and the environmental services it provides. We appreciate their commitment to supporting local and international efforts to secure Atewa Forest against bauxite mining that is certain to destroy the forest, its water services and biodiversity.”
The companies’ letters concerning Atewa-sourced bauxite follow soon after the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) passed a resolution demanding global action to save Atewa from bauxite mining, serving as yet another strong call to drop the plans to mine bauxite in the Atewa Forest.