Alcoa (standing for Aluminium Company of America) is the world's third largest aluminium producer with operations in 31 countries.
Aerospace and Defense
Alcoa Defense (whose tag line is 'lighter, faster, stronger') controls the company's sales of aluminium for military and arms manufacture. They are co-leaders in the world market for aluminum in defence applications. Das and Padel estimate that approximately 30% of aluminium is used for defence technology though this fact is well hidden by the aluminium industry.
Alcoa Defense contracts have included the F35 joint strike fighter, the replacement for the F16 (manufactured with Lockheed Martin and used by the Israeli army in Gaza), parts for the F22 Fighter , as well as M1 Abrams tanks, BAE Systems' and M777 Howitzer artillery BAE Systems amongst others.
Alcoa's front page contains a large banner naming itself 'Eco-Alcoa' and makes much of its sustainability and human rights credentials. However according to Krater and Rose;
- Alcoa has been convicted numerous times for toxic waste dumping in the US, old-growth and rainforest destruction and displacement of indigenous people in countries such as Brazil, Suriname and Australia. Alcoa has lost popularity in Iceland for its intimate association with the US military, which is categorically denied by Alcoa Iceland (although it has a website dedicated to it’s military products). In Honduras, an Alcoa car parts factory was accused of treating workers worse than sweatshops. The basic pay of 74 cents an hour covered 37% of an average family’s most essential needs, and in the last three years, wages fell by 13%. Workers would be forced to urinate and defecate in their clothes after being repeatedly denied to use the bathroom and women would have to take off clothes to prove they were menstruating. Protests by workers in 2007 led to 90% of the trade union leaders being fired.
"Eco" construction technology
Alcoa Architectural Products market a technology called "Eco-Clean" for their Reynobond aluminium panels. The titantium dioxide based coating, developed by TOTO under the 'HYDROTECT' brand name, oxidise pollutive nitrogen oxides from the surrounding air, turning them into 'harmless nitrates'. Alcoa's Reynobond Eco-Clean product website states:
- 10,000 square feet of Reynobond® with EcoClean™ has the approximate air cleansing power of 80 trees. That's enough cleaning power to offset the smog created by the pollution output of four cars every day.
But how much pollution is generated by the manufacturing of such an amount of Alcoa's Reynobond Eco-Clean in the first place? Considering that 1 square foot of standard Reynobond panels weighs 1.12 pounds, and the production of one ton of primary aluminium generates approximately 13.1 tons of greenhouse gasses and requires 1,378 tons of water, the 112,000 pounds (50.8 metric tons) of Reynobond from the example would have already emitted 1,467,132.3 pounds (665.48 tons) of greenhouse gasses and consumed 70,002.4 tons of water.
If Alcoa is correct in its estimate that Reynobond Eco-Clean on average reduces the same amount of Co2 as 80 trees, and an average tree reduces, for this example's sake, 80 pounds of Co2 from the atmosphere per year, then it would take 229 years before the 10,000 square feet of Reynbond would reduce the amount of pollution in the atmosphere that it created in the first place. (1,467,132.3/6,400) The addition of the titanium Eco-Clean coating would of course increase this amount.
Board of Directors as of Feb 2012
- Arthur Collins, Jr.
- Kathryn s. Fuller
- Judith Gueron
- Klaus Kleinfeld Chairman and CEO. (previously Siemens and Bayer)
- Michael G. Morris
- Stanley O'Neal
- James Owens (Chief exec of Caterpillar)
- Patricia F. Russo
- Sir Martin Sorrell (founder and Chief Executive of WPP, the world’s largest advertising and marketing services group)
- Ratan Tata
- Ernesto Zedillo
Board of Directors in June 2010
- Kathryn Fuller (previously WWF president, current WWF board member)
- Arthur D. Collins Jr. (previously CEO of Medtronic- pharma company)
- Carlos Ghosn (Nissan and Renault car manufacturers)
- Joseph Gorman (CEO of Moxahela Enterprises- venture capital)
- Judith Gueron | Michael Morris (CEO of American Electric Power Company)
- Stanley O'Neal (Merrill Lynch)
- James W. Owens (CEO of Caterpillar)
- Patricia Russo (General Motors, Merck & Co, and Alcatel Lucent)
- Ratan Tata (CEO of Tata Sons of the Tata Group of companies. Also serves on the UK Prime Minister’s Business Council for Britain, international advisory boards of the Mitsubishi Corporation, American International Group, JP Morgan Chase and RollsRoyce'
- Ernesto Zedillo (Citigroup and Proctor and Gamble) 
- Alain Belda had a 40 year career with Alcoa; elected a vice president in 1982, executive vice president in 1994, vice chairman in 1995, and president and chief operating officer in 1997. In 2001 he became chairman and chief executive officer, and left in 2008. In 2006 he was paid $298,687.00.
- Bernt Reitan Executive Vice President from 2004 to 2010
- Alcoa website About, overview Accessed 19/06/10
- Das, S. and Padel, F. 2010,'Out of this earth: East India Adivasis and the aluminium cartel' Orient Blackswan
- Alcoa Defense website Successes Accessed 19/06/10
- Colvin, Marie, Tony Allen-Mills and Uzi Mahnaimi. Israeli jets kill ‘at least 225’ in strikes on Gaza The Sunday Times, 28 December 2008. Accessed 19/06/10
- Dominic Gates Boeing sues Alcoa over parts for F-22 Raptor fighters 11 April 2008. Accessed 19/06/10
- Alcoa Defense website Successes Accessed 19/06/10
- Jaap Krater and Miriam Rose, 'Development of Iceland’s geothermal energy potential for aluminium production– a critical analysis',In: Abrahamsky, K. (ed) (2009). Sparking a World-wide Energy Revolution: Social Struggles in the Transition to a Post-Petrol World. AK Press, Edinburgh.
- 'About EcoClean™', accessed 30 August 2011
- 'EcoClean™ Environmental Benefits', accessed 30 August 2011
- 'Reynobond FAQ', accessed 30 August 2011
- Alcoa website, Governance Directors Accessed 20/02/2012
- Alcoa website About, Directors, Ratan Tata Accessed 19/06/10
- Alcoa website About, Directors, Bios Accessed 19/06/10
- Business Wire,June 25, 2008 Alcoa Chairman Alain Belda Elected to IBM Board of DirectorsAccessed 15/07/10
- Alain J Belda, Forbes Accessed 15/07/10
- Business Week. Alcoa Profile Bernt Reitan biography Accessed 08/02/2012