June 2018

62 63 the big things that’s really been a massive trend the last five to ten years, and has really ramped up in the last couple of years in particular, is the growth in the automotive market. The real big news for us in the last year was Ford moving the Ford F-150 into an all-aluminum body. . . It’s allowed us to expand in a way that a lot of heavy manufacturing industries are not doing right now. We’ve got about $2 billion dollars committed for domestic plant expansion over the next five to ten years.And that’s largely driven by this automotive expansion that we’re seeing.” Meenan elaborates on the Association’s near-term goals and objectives: “We’re bullish and very enthu- siastic about where things are heading.”There have been “pivotal moments” in the industry’s past, he ex- plains. In the ‘40s,‘50s, and ‘60s, there was a strong move into the construction and aerospace market; in the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was the aluminum can; and “now, today, you’ve got this automotive opportunity.” The Association is also heavily committed to its “sustainability work.”Meenan adds that a continu- ing priority for the Association is a “big push to get good, credible information on howwe’re doing in terms of our environmental performance.” Aluminum is infinitely recyclable-nearly 75 percent of the aluminum ever made is still in use today.Aluminum cans, for example, are made with an average of 70 percent recycled content,which far exceeds competitive types of packaging.And according to the Association’s website: “Producing recycled, or secondary, aluminum saves more than 90 percent of the energy and produces just eight percent of the greenhouse gases associated with THE ALUMINUMASSOCIATION making new, or primary, aluminum.” The Associ- ation’s Sustainability Initiative, launched in April 2008, promotes increased recycling, energy-effi- cient product applications, and increased operat- ing efficiency. In terms of advocacy, the Aluminum Association actively engages with federal lawmakers and regulators, educating them and urging them to pur- sue policies that will allow the industry to grow. In 2013, the United States Congress created the Con- gressional Aluminum Caucus–a bipartisan group of members committed to elevating awareness of the U.S. aluminum industry and every aspect of the metal’s production and use.The industry’s top issues include: aluminum recycling, beverage can manage- ment, climate change and energy. “The automotive opportunity also remains an- other key focus of ours,” says Meenan. “In the ad- vocacy space, we work as an educational resource as folks are looking at fuel economy regulations. Our view is if we are going to be in a place of increasing vehicle fuel economy regulations, alu- minum can be part of the solution for automakers if they’re looking to make their vehicles not only better performing, but also more fuel efficient by using the metal.” Meenan adds that, recently, the Association has worked with the Trump administration to help instigate a national security investigation into aluminum imports coming into the U.S., particu- larly from China. “What we saw happening a cou- ple of years ago was a pretty severe problem in the Chinese market in terms of metal over-capacity and so that’s led us down a pretty aggressive trade advocacy path,which is now really a key focus of the industry and the Association,”he reports. As the aluminum industrycontinues to supply the worldwith the“miraclemetal,”theworkof theAlumi- numAssociationwill likewise continue to promote its interests and agenda for the benefit of us all.