Automotive Industry Drives Global Sustainability Efforts
Over the past couple of years, sustainability has gone from a hot topic of conversation to a necessary action item as more companies across all sectors move from planning to integrating environmental practices into their core business strategy.
Unlike other industries, automotive companies are leading by example. According to the Capgemini Research Institute, 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.
As industry leaders continue taking collective responsibility and action for meeting global sustainability benchmarks, here is a sustainability snapshot of what automotive leaders are doing to help advance the industry and save the planet.
Ford Motor Co.
In its 2022 Integrated Sustainability and Financial Report, Ford focused on the company’s efforts to lead the electric revolution, including plans to scale production to more than 2 million electric vehicles per year by 2026 and to make half of its annual sales volume electric by the end of the decade.
With its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2050, the automaker’s new report details progress to reduce emissions per vehicle by 50% from a 2019 base year and emissions from its operations by 76% from a 2017 base. Last year, the Ford achieved a 35% reduction in its absolute manufacturing greenhouse gas footprint from 2017 levels.
“This year’s report is significant because it demonstrates Ford’s long-standing commitment to transparency and holding ourselves accountable,” said Cynthia Williams, global director of sustainability, homologation and compliance at Ford. “It gives our stakeholders a clear picture of how we are going to put people first and respect human rights as we transition to electric vehicles, building on our legacy of climate action and environmental protection.”
In addition to plans for investing more than $50 billion globally over then next five years to develop EVs and the batteries that power them, the report also included the following 2021 highlights:
- Reducing its annual water consumption by more than 78% from 2000 levels.
- Establishing 89 zero-waste-to-landfill sites globally while reducing its global manufacturing carbon footprint by more than 35% since 2017.
- Collaborating with Redwood Materials, a leading battery materials company, whose recycling technology can recover, on average, more than 95% of strategic materials such as nickel, cobalt, lithium and copper.
According to General Motors’ 12th annual Sustainability Report, the company made progress on expanding EV access, electrifying beyond the personal vehicle, and helped ensure that climate action is equitable and inclusive as it transitions to an all-electric future.
In early 2021, GM set targets to become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040 and work toward a transition to 100% zero tailpipe emissions for new light-duty vehicles by 2035. The company also continues accelerate its transition to an all-electric future and achieved a major milestone late last year with the opening of Factory ZERO, the company’s first plant fully dedicated to EV assembly in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan.
Through 2025, GM has committed to investing $35 billion in EV and autonomous vehicles and another $750 million to expand charging for residences, workplaces and public areas.
“General Motors is embracing our opportunity and our responsibility to create a better world for today and for generations to come,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “Our global teams are working with great speed and integrity to make our vision of a zero-emissions, all-electric future a reality that is inclusive and accessible to all.”
In addition to progress and investments on the EV front, GM said in 2021 the company accelerated its timeline for sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources for U.S. sites to 2025, five years earlier than previously announced and 25 years ahead of the initial target set in 2016.
Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)
A year after the company was formed, Stellantis (the maker of 14 vehicle brands including Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram) released its first Corporate Social Responsibility Report, laying out its performance across key metrics identified in 2021 as well as its sustainability road map with a commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2038.
“Running a business responsibly is key to our long-term sustainability. The execution of our Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan, achieving carbon net-zero throughout our entire value chain by 2038, gives Stellantis a leadership role in decarbonizing the industry,” said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO. “Our approach to corporate social responsibility frames our decisions to bring added value for people, the planet and Stellantis.”
To become carbon neutral by 2038, Stellantis has set the following targets by the end of the decade:
- 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.
- 100% of sales in Europe and 50% of sales in the United States to be battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2030.
- More than 75 BEVs and reach global annual BEV sales of 5 million vehicles by 2030.
In addition to the company’s long-term strategies, the report highlighted sustainability initiatives already underway, including plans to invest more than €30 billion through 2025 in electric vehicle and software development. For its remanufactured product lines, Stellantis said raw-material use is reduced by 60-95% while carbon emissions are cut 30-50% when compared with the production of new parts. In 2021, 64% of engines, 65% of gearboxes, 38% of clutches, 48% of injectors, 60% of alternators and 62% of particulate filters sold by brand in North America and Europe were remanufactured parts.
Nissan Motor Corp.
In its latest Sustainability Report, Nissan Motor Corp. outlines the company’s efforts toward a cleaner, safer and more inclusive society — including its carbon-neutrality target.
“Combating climate change will need governments and the private sector to work hand in hand,” said Nissan President and CEO Makoto Uchida. “This why Nissan declared every all-new vehicle offering in our key markets will be electrified by early 2030s, alongside our aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, across the company’s operation and the lifecycle of our products.”
To achieve its carbon-neutrality goal, Nissan is focusing on innovations in electrification and manufacturing technologies in the following strategic areas:
- Battery innovations for cost-competitive and more efficient EVs.
- Greater energy efficiency of e-POWER electrified powertrains.
- Development of battery ecosystem to support decentralized renewable-energy generation.
- Greater energy and material efficiencies during the manufacturing process.
Here are some of Nissan’s ongoing efforts to address climate change, resource dependency, air quality and water scarcity:
- Achieving a breakthrough in engine efficiency, reaching 50% thermal efficiency with its in-development, next generation e-POWER system — which is past the current auto industry average range of 40% thermal efficiency.
- Developing a water-based paint that maintains the right viscosity at low temperatures, so that bodies and bumpers can be painted together. This will cut carbon dioxide emissions from the process by 25% and also use a water-free painting booth that makes it possible to collect all waste paint and reuse it in other production processes.
- Introducing a “closed-loop” recycling system for the Nissan Rogue at Nissan North America and Nissan Motor Kyushu, and for the all-new Qashqai at Nissan Motor U.K., that reuses waste aluminum and saves more than 90% of the energy needed to make new aluminum as well as reducing the company’s footprint on mined resources.
Like many of our OEM partners, JVIS maintains 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 learns 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 federal 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.
The last few years have shown the automotive industry is resilient and positioned to withstand a lot of volatility. The industry’s emphasis on sustainability proves that automotive companies are not 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.