Auto Industry Leads Worldwide Sustainability Efforts

Sustainability has been a major topic of conversation in many industries for the past few years. Yet unlike other industries, automotive companies have moved past conversation to act.

A recent study by the Capgemini Research Institute — “The Automotive Industry in the Era of Sustainability” — surveyed 500 large automotive organizations and 300 experts, regulators, academics and nongovernment organizations working in sustainability. This study confirmed that the automotive industry is ahead of others in meeting worldwide sustainability standards, citing the industry’s well-defined goals, financial contributions and technological investments as steps in the right direction.

Industry leaders have formed a united front and are taking collective responsibility for meeting global sustainability benchmarks. Here’s what automotive leaders are doing to improve sustainability to help save the planet.

Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co. is reducing the emissions associated with the use of its vehicles, responsibly managing its operations and encouraging best practices among suppliers to make positive contributions to the world, according the company’s 2020 Sustainability Report.

“We believe that making great vehicles and maintaining a strong business don’t have to be at the cost of protecting our planet,” said Bob Holycross, vice president, chief sustainability, environment and safety officer.  “These priorities are dependent on each other and aren’t mutually exclusive. To help us achieve our aspirations, we have to set out some ambitious goals that will move us toward a carbon-neutral future.” 

Ford has a clear path for sustainability through using sustainable and recycled materials; investing in technology; scaling up electrification; developing self-driving vehicles; and creating safe, sustainable vehicles.

The company plans to invest more than $4 billion through 2023 on its self-driving business, including a $1 billion investment in its technology partner. Additionally, it is investing more than $11.5 billion through 2022 in its portfolio of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all electric vehicles.

Ford is already working toward its sustainability goals, including:

  • Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050
  • Creating stronger vehicle greenhouse gas standards with California
  • Meeting Paris Climate Agreement guidelines for reducing CO2 emissions
  • Using 100% locally sourced renewable energy for manufacturing plants globally by 2035
  • Achieving true zero waste to landfills and eliminating single-use plastics by 2030
  • Making zero water withdrawals for manufacturing
  • Achieving zero air emissions from its facilities
  • Using recycled and renewable plastics in vehicles globally

General Motors

According to General Motors’ 2019 Sustainability Report, the company is acutely aware of its responsibility and opportunity to use its resources to drive a better more inclusive future for all.

GM Chief Sustainability Officer Dane Parker said now is the right time for it to make bold changes toward sustainability.

“Both as a company and as a society, we’re at an inflection point,” Parker said. “Scientists tell us that we have about 10 years to sharply reduce global GHG emissions, and achieving that will take significant work that needs to begin now. The path we’ve been on has been necessary, but it’s not sufficient. Now is the time for us to go faster. At GM, that means aligning efforts related to our products and our operations and moving aggressively to help the world transition to an all-electric future.”

GM is dedicated to producing “zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.” It also aspires to make its supply chain more environmentally friendly and maximize sustainable materials and resources.

To reach these goals, the company set its focus on a few main areas, including transitioning to all-electric vehicles; developing safe, autonomous vehicles; incorporating sustainable practices into its offices; and accelerating its response to climate change. GM has implemented a Global Environmental Policy that provides guidelines to minimize the impacts of its activities on the environment, including:

  • Taking care of the planet
  • Improving technologies
  • Environmentals
  • Obeying environmental regulations and policies
  • Water conservation and quality
  • Responsible sourcing
  • Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change
  • Energy management     
  • Waste reduction
  • Environmental management systems
  • Renewable energy

The report states that GM’s sustainability efforts are driven by both employees and investors through environmental trainings, committees and briefings, as well as program implementation within facilities. It tracks its efforts through reporting frameworks like GRI, SASB, TCFD, CDP, United Nations Global Compact and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Some of the company’s progress toward sustainability include:

  • $2.2 billion investment in the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant
  • $20 billion in capital engineering resources to be allocated to EV and AV by 2025
  • 5 years that GM has been placed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America
  • 100% of GM’s owned facilities source electricity from renewable sources by 2040 globally
  • 50% of automotive parts made of sustainable materials by 2030
  • Nine years GM has been named a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Partner of the Year

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles took steps throughout 2019 to lay the groundwork for achieving its environmental and sustainability goals to reduce its total environmental footprint, according to its 2019 Sustainability Report.

In fact, FCA has decreased its CO2 emissions by 27%, water consumption by 40% and waste by 64% since 2010.

The report also found that FCA shares a several sustainability goals and values with its customers, including improving vehicle fuel economy and emissions, increasing manufacturing of electrified and autonomous vehicles, improving vehicles safety, incorporating sustainable design, sourcing responsibly, and reducing waste.

FCA’s sustainability commitments also tend to align with the principles of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, such as clean water; affordable, clean energy; sustainable cities; climate action; and more.

As of April 2020, FCA has committed to many key projects that are fundamental to a sustainable future including:

  • In Brazil, FCA started a significant new investment cycle of R$16 billion (approx. €3.4 billion), which will see a renewed product lineup for the Fiat and Jeep brands and add a new state-of-the-art flex-fuel engine plant, which will become the largest powertrain hub in Latin America.
  • In China, FCA launched the all-new Jeep Commander PHEV, the first electrified vehicle of the global Jeep family, which also represents the brand’s entry into China’s rapidly growing New Energy Vehicle market.
  • In Italy, FCA is executing an ambitious €5 billion plan, centered around electrification, with key new products and a new Battery Hub located inside the historic Mirafiori complex in Turin, that will assemble batteries for a growing lineup of electric models.
  • For Maserati, FCA is executing a major product-led transformation plan, including the launch of new whitespace products, as well as several full battery electric and hybridized models.
  • In the United States, FCA invested $4.5 billion to expand the capacity of facilities in Michigan and to build a new state-of-the-art plant in Detroit that will open later this year producing electrified Jeep models. It’s a commitment that will add 6,500 new jobs in southeast Michigan.

Because of FCA’s sustainability efforts, the company has received a CDP score of A- for the fourth consecutive year. Additionally, the company is a member of other major sustainability indexes including STOXX® Global ESG Impact, ECPI World ESG Equity, and ECPI Euro Ethical Equity. ​

Nissan Motor Corp.

Nissan Motor Corp. is not just looking to create economic value, it also is focused on contributing solutions to create a cleaner, safer and more sustainable society through mobility, its 2020 Sustainability Report states.

In 2018, Nissan began working toward its Nissan Sustainability 2022 plan. This plan is comprised of goals like realizing a zero-emission and zero-fatality society. Additionally, it developed the Nissan Green Program 2022, where the company commits to take action on climate change, resource dependency, air quality and water scarcity. Nissan is working toward these goals and believes it has made great progress in many areas. One major change the company has implemented in the past few years is upping its commitment to curbing climate change, the report states.

Some of Nissan’s long-term sustainability goals include achieving:

  • Carbon neutrality — 90% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050
  • Zero new material resource use — reduce dependency on new materials by 70%
  • Zero impact on air quality
  • Zero stress on water scarcity
  • Zero fatalities
  • Sustainable supply chains

Nissan’s sustainability efforts are not just company centric. It created a series of educational tools for employees, investors, stakeholders, customers and communities to help realize its goals and to ensure its efforts are solving issues in society.

According to the 2020 Sustainability Report, this report is created yearly to keep the company focused and accountable. In addition to the report, Nissan is a participant in the UN Global Compact since 2004. It voluntarily joined to help create the environmental changes the compact stands for. Nissan also remains accountable through its Global Sustainability Steering Committee. The group meets biannually to discuss progress, initiatives and ways to improve the company’s sustainability efforts and impacts.


Like many of our OEM partners, JVIS has a strong commitment to sustainability.

“We believe it’s our responsibility to protect the environment,” JVIS Environmental Health and Safety Manager Tim Paton said. “It’s important for us to take away negative environmental impacts and invest in sustainability because we care about our customers, community and the future of our planet.”

In fact, JVIS has gone above and beyond state and federal requirements to set more comprehensive sustainability and environmental health goals for several years. Some of our internal goals include:

  • Electricity reduction
  • Investment in energy-reducing and environmentally-friendly machinery
  • Reduction of heat emissions
  • Reduction of hazardous waste
  • Decrease noise pollution
  • Decrease air pollution
  • Achieve zero waste and no scraps
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle

To reach these goals, JVIS has taken extra steps to get certified through the government in TOT, RCRA, ISO 14001 and stormwater, and it has received air permits for some of our facilities. These certifications have helped increase our eco-friendliness, reduce air emissions and reduce electricity use across the board. Additionally, JVIS recycles millions of pounds of manufacturing materials each year.

Another standard JVIS has set to reach our sustainability objective is tracking. We have several audits at our locations throughout the year. In the past four months alone, we’ve had 12 environmental audits scheduled to help us evaluate and improve our processes.

JVIS’ leadership team is heavily involved in driving our sustainability, environmental programs and operations. The team has weekly, if not daily, conversations on monitoring goals and procedures. Yet, our commitment to sustainability is not just a top-level focus — it is deeply embedded in JVIS at all levels.

We have companywide employee trainings on environmental responsibility and sustainability where our team is able to learn more about sustainability and its function. Our employees have taken those trainings and put them into practice by increasing the reduction of personal waste at our plants. Through our internal recycling program, JVIS team members have generated about 80,000 pounds of landfill reduction for paper, plastics and returnable bottles at our Michigan locations alone. Additionally, various staff members have become certified through the state and government sustainable practices to help minimize risks in our operations.

As an original parts manufacturer for OEMs, we are essentially an extension of the OEMs we work with. We take into account your sustainability goals and try to incorporate them into our practices to help you meet your company’s goals. At JVIS, we strive to make our operations as efficient, environmentally friendly and as sustainable as possible, every day.

If there is one thing we’ve learned from COVID-19, it’s that the automotive industry is resilient and positioned to withstand a lot of volatility. The industry’s emphasis on sustainability proves that automotive companies aren’t just looking out for the longevity of their own industry but also care deeply about the safety and future of their customers, communities and the world. JVIS is proud to help lead this historic movement.

To learn more about JVIS, visit jvis.us.