Summit: The ALUMINIUM Business Summit

The world is at the dawn of a new era. Sustainability is becoming a question of survival. The rules of the game on international markets are in flux. New forms of mobility and advancing digitalization are changing entire industries. The ALUMINIUM Business Summit at the end of September will accompany the industry in tackling the greatest challenges constructively and proactively.

The congress motto is ambitious. It is probably not exaggerated. Under the title "Shaping a new Industrial Era", the first ALUMINIUM Business Summit will take place on September 28 and 29. Whether on site at the “Altes Stahlwerk” in Düsseldorf or via live stream, visitors will experience two days of experts lecturing and discussing current and visionary topics on four central themes of the industry: Mobility, Sustainability, Digitalization and Market Development.

The new, hybrid summit format was born out of a collaboration between ALUMINIUM, Aluminium Deutschland, the CRU Group and European Aluminium. Malte Seifert, the ALUMINIUM project manager, emphasizes the importance of the networking idea: "The industry has issues ahead of it that it needs to address in order to emerge from the current crisis and develop new visions. And that works best in dialog and direct exchange."

Marius Baader, Managing Director of Aluminium Deutschland, agrees: "The big questions for the future of our industry can only be tackled together in personal exchange. But that has not been possible for some time now. The ALUMINIUM Business Summit offers a first opportunity to get back into dialogue, across the entire value chain."

The conference program is based on the fact that the aluminum industry is an important partner for many sectors, all of which are facing transformation processes. "We've tried to create a forum in one and a half days that gives these issues the space they need," says Marius Baader, "and that also enables discussion among decision-makers."

Where is mobility heading?

For the mobility topic, the organizers have attracted speakers from the heart of the automotive industry. Alois Winkler, for example, Project Manager in Strategic Purchasing at Audi, will provide insights into the role that aluminum will play at the premium manufacturer in the future - and the considerations behind it.

Blanca Lenczowski, Materials Technology Expert at Airbus Germany, addresses how new, sustainable materials will change the aerospace industry: "New certification challenges, new materials, new designs, new industrial processes and new business models need to be evaluated and could offer new opportunities for more sustainable aviation."

Manuel Kallweit, Head of Economic Intelligence & Economics Department at VDA, talks about the automotive industry's responses to the disruptive developments we are currently experiencing.

"It's all about productivity"

The boost given to digitalization by the pandemic will help to sustainably accelerate the process that began long ago - also and especially in the industry. Ridding the term "digitization" of its arbitrariness is one of the concerns of André E. Barten, CEO of Achenbach Buschhütten. "In the end, it's all about productivity - even in the sustainability debate that moves us all. Even 'green' production is only sustainable if it leads to better results at the end of the day." Barten will elaborate on why the topics of lean, green and digital form an inseparable whole during the Summit.

Mike Goertz, Sales Enterprise Software DACH at ABB Germany, will address the question of how artificial intelligence can help to tackle the challenges of digital transformation. And Jonas Moßler, CEO of SUSI & James, will discuss what the future of a completely automated company might look like.

Sustainability as a cross-cutting issue

Sustainability is also an absolute cross-cutting issue, a topic that probably none of the speakers and discussants will be able to avoid. "The aluminum industry is in a phase of transformation. Sustainability is driving technological developments in primary and secondary markets, new demand applications, product development and changes in China's position in export markets," says CRU's Dominic Halahan.

The ALUMINIUM Business Summit is therefore also dedicated to the topics of sustainability and the international markets. Experts such as Serge Gaudin, Director Sustainability & Strategy at Novelis, will show how recycled aluminum has become a key factor in the circular economy and decarbonization. In addition to the growing importance of recycling, the Summit explores the impact decarbonization may have on global supply chains or how China's role in the global aluminum industry is changing.

Sustainability expert Carsten Gerhardt from Kearney will present "Circular Valley" - an initiative that aims to create nothing less than a "Silicon Valley" for circular value creation in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region. "At the center of our activities is the establishment of an accelerator: idea-rich startups from all over the world should be able to come into contact with established companies here," says Gerhardt. "If we do it right, a place of longing can be created here, where people from all over the world can be fertilized and then return home with new knowledge and new ideas."

Circular economy is also the topic of Claudia Bierth. The sustainability manager at Ball Beverage Packaging Europe talks about the growing importance of aluminum cans as sustainable, circular packaging. And about a topic that is likely to increasingly occupy the industry: How do you deal with composite packaging, how do you manage to separate the components, recycle them and thus turn them back into components of equivalent products?

It will also be political

Last but not least, the ALUMINIUM Business Summit will also address the role and future of the European aluminum industry per se. "Aluminum is one of the most important materials for Europe's transition to a carbon-neutral and circular economy," says Gerd Götz, European Aluminium's Director General. "Our contribution to climate protection and sustainability is always influenced by political framework conditions."

The Summit will therefore focus on the impact of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) on the aluminum industry, as well as on the role of efficient take-back and sorting structures in achieving new, even higher recycling targets. Ken Ash, consultant and Visiting Fellow at the Institute for International Trade at the University of Adelaide, will focus specifically on CBAM.

The ALUMINIUM Business Summit
September 28-29, 2021
Altes Stahlwerk, Düsseldorf
Hybrid event (presence/live stream)
Congress language: English