Phone scanning the START label

How do you make a nutrition label for the materials the world needs?

By tracing the steps from START to finish

Last updated: 21 December 2023


Whether it’s coffee, clothes or phones, we all want to know the stories behind the products we buy. Were workers treated fairly? Was the environment cared for? Were steps taken to save water?

To help meet growing demand for transparency and traceability of the products we buy, we created START. Like a “nutrition label”, it tracks key information about where and how a material was produced. The first of its kind in the industry, START uses secure blockchain technology to provide information on 14 criteria, which include global warming potential, water management, recycled content, air emissions and biodiversity just to name a few.

This information is readily accessible via the START platform, where customers can view sustainability insights and manage orders.

How START works

START shows how materials originating from our metals and minerals have been made: products like smartphones, cars and drink cans can be traced back to the country of origin in a fast and secure way.

By using blockchain technology we deliver information in a transparent and traceable way to our customers. Blockchain is a kind of digital record-keeping system: it collects information and stores it in “blocks” connected in a chronological chain. With every action – like bauxite being refined into alumina, for example – a new block is created. And every block is time stamped, ensuring information can’t be changed.

We defined the 14 criteria in START after researching what was relevant to the market. We collect the primary data from our operations as part of our annual sustainability reporting, and it’s verified by our subject matter experts and our Board’s Sustainability Committee. Then we provide the information to a third-party lifecycle assessment consultant who adds secondary data from industry-leading databases to create the START lifecycle assessment.

Each order is assigned a unique QR code, which customers can print on their products. By scanning the code, consumers are taken to a web page that details the journey from the ground to the finished product.

And when you can see how our products are made, you’re empowered to make a more sustainable choice.

Banner image: James Yarema

START: Materialising Progress

START includes:

  • START label – all the sustainability information – 14 ESG Metrics – you need in one document
  • START platform – find everything you need here from order information to sustainability data to delivery status
  • START Enhanced – a premium offering that offers third-party validations and advisory services

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