SP Hosts 2023 Innovation Summit in Columbus

Hosted in collaboration with The Ohio State University on its campus in Columbus, Ohio over July 26-27, the 2023 SP Innovation Summit brought together over 350 representatives from automakers, tiered suppliers, service providers, government and academia to discuss key opportunities to accelerate collaborative efforts in support of industry sustainability goals.

On July 25, attendees had the opportunity to participate in tours of OSU’s  Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center and OSU’s Center for Automotive Research prior to the official start of the event.

On July 26, the Summit’s opening plenary session featured executive speakers sharing their perspectives on current industry trends and commitments related to corporate sustainability goals, industry transformation and emerging technologies, and supply chain sustainability challenges and opportunities. Featured speakers in the opening session included:

  • Kevin Butt, Senior Director, Environmental Sustainability, Toyota Motor North America and Chair of SP’s Board of Directors
  • David Howell, Acting Director and Principal Deputy Director, Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains, US Department of Energy
  • Klaus Lorenz, Senior Research Associate, Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, The Ohio State University
  • Joe Hinrichs, President & CEO, CSX Corporation
  • Fred Gersdorff, Senior Manager – Socially Responsible, Sustainable Supply Chains, General Motors
  • Niels Angel, Project Leader, Sustainability, Catena X, BMW Group

The afternoon plenary session then highlighted challenges and opportunities across the value chain posed by the transition to electric vehicles, including designing for circularity, proactively planning for the changing needs of a closed loop supply chain, and managing safe handling, shipping and transportation of high-voltage batteries. Featured speakers in the afternoon session included:

  • Laurent Pilon, Program Director, Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
  • David Klanecky, CEO, Cirba Solutions
  • Kunal Sinha, Head of Recycling, Glencore
  • Alan Ferguson, Commercial VP, Americas, Li-Cycle
  • Thea Soule, Chief Commercial Officer, Ecobat
  • Jamie Pitcairn, Automotive Sustainability Technical Director, Ricardo plc
  • David Fauvre, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Blue Whale Materials LLC
  • Jeff Haltrecht, Executive, Call2Recycle
  • Chris Spencer, VP, CellBlock FCS
  • Dalan Zartman, COO, Energy Security Agency

During the session, SP announced the release of a new guidance document on safe handling and storage of EV batteries.

Throughout the event, Summit attendees had the opportunity to participate in a series of smaller group interactive breakout sessions across three tracks:

  • Addressing Sustainability in ZEV Transition. This track focused on challenges and opportunities in proactively identifying and addressing holistic environmental impacts in the transition to zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs).
  • Demystifying Decarbonization. This track focused on challenges and opportunities in measuring and advancing decarbonization efforts across the value chain on the path toward carbon neutrality.
  • Catalyzing Circularity. This track focused on challenges and opportunities in accelerating industry efforts towards a circular materials economy and incentivizing innovation in sustainable materials.

The first day’s breakout session speakers and moderators included representatives of organizations such as: Asphalt Plus, Cirba Solutions, Circulor, CSX, Ford, East Penn Mfg., Edison Energy, EnTech, Gentherm, GM, ORBIS, Sphera, TransparentPlanet, University of Missouri and, USTMA. Following the day’s sessions, attendees gathered at an evening networking reception with special guests the E-Flat Jazz Band.

A special thank you to each of our sponsors for their support of this year’s event, including: The Ohio State University, Rio Tinto, Toyota Motor North America, Cirba Solutions, Envita Solutions, Li-Cycle, Nalco Water, an Ecolab Company, ORBIS, Univar Solutions, Edison Energy, Honda Development & Manufacturing of America, Nexus Circular, ARPLANK Direct, and Manufacture 2030.

All event photos by Shellee Fisher Photography.

Stay tuned for part two, with more details on the next day’s Summit sessions.

SP’s next membership meeting is scheduled to be held on September 18-19 at General Motors in Warren, Michigan. As always, SP members and collaborators are encouraged to reach out to learn more about how to get involved in SP work group activities and initiatives and to share your ideas to keep moving us toward our shared vision of an automotive industry with positive environmental impact.

Additional information on the Summit, including event photos, presentations and next steps, is available to current SP member companies. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about SP and opportunities to participate as a member.

© 2024 Suppliers Partnership for the Environment