SP Q1 2022 Membership Meeting Summary – January 27

The Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP) Q1 Membership Meeting was held as a virtual event over January 25-27, 2022. SP’s quarterly membership meetings are designed to provide a forum for global automotive manufacturers, their large and small suppliers, and other partners from around the world to work together toward a shared vision of an automotive industry with positive environmental impact.

On January 27, the Q1 meeting included presentations from special guest speakers from the US EPA followed by updates on SP work group activities and projects. See our previous posts for an update on the first and second days’ discussions.

US EPA Guest Speakers

The day kicked off with a special presentation from Nena Shaw (US EPA), who shared information on EPA’s National Recycling Strategy: Part One of a Series on Building a Circular Economy for All. Nena highlighted the five strategic objectives outlined in the Strategy to create a more resilient and cost-effective national recycling system, as well as some of the key recycling issues and opportunities that are expected to be addressed in future publications in the series.

Barry Elman (US EPA) and Chris Reed (US EPA) then shared information on EPA’s Smart Sectors Program and its work with the automotive industry. They spoke to key principles and focus areas of the Smart Sectors program and ongoing work within the agency on topics such as environmental justice, critical minerals, recycling and other ESG issues.

SP Work Group Updates

Kevin Butt (Toyota Motor & SP Chair) then presented an update on behalf of SP’s Executive Committee and welcomed new member companies Clean Earth, Doug Brown Packaging Products, Foresight Management, Green Processing Company, JSP and RUSAL America. Kevin highlighted recent collaborative projects and resources developed by SP and shared information on the Executive Committee’s strategic planning to build on those recent successes and help members to further prepare and act on emerging ESG opportunities. There were then a series of brief SP work group and project updates.

Sara Cook (Wildlife Habitat Council) provided an update on new WHC corporate conservation initiatives relevant to the automotive sector as well as an update on WHC certified pollinator projects within the SP network. She then shared information on a new collaborative EPA Region 4 grant funded project WHC and SP are leading on Nature-Based Solutions for Pollution Prevention in the Automotive Supply Chain and the ways in which the project will connect into biodiversity, carbon, water and other ESG goals of interest to the membership.

Matt Howard (The Water Council) introduced The Water Council as a new collaborator with SP. He noted that in the first phase of a new SP project, which is being co-chaired by Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor North America, SP’s Water Stewardship Work Group will work together with The Water Council to test the design of a sector-wide water stewardship program that is centered on a decision matrix and action plan that helps member organizations achieve excellence in their water stewardship performance.

Bob Crawford (GWT Insight) provided an update on a 2022 SP Innovation Summit being co-hosted with The Ohio State University on its campus in Columbus, Ohio. He noted that the Summit is designed to build understanding of key barriers impacting the sustainability of the automotive industry and to work towards practical solutions to accelerate innovation in support of industry sustainability priorities. He invited attendees to consider submitting a session proposal or sponsorship for the event and noted that member registration would open in late Q1.

Vickie Lewis (VMX International) provided an update on plans for the annual SP Awards Program in 2022. She noted that the awards are designed to recognize and raise awareness of our members’ environmental sustainability successes, while promoting knowledge sharing and transfer of proven solutions across the automotive industry, and highlighted the member winners from 2021. It was noted that applications for the 2022 Awards were planned to open in early Q2.

Kristin Oswick (Monolith) provided a report on an SP Materials Efficiency Work Group Sustainable Materials Definitions Sub-team that was formed with the objective to develop straightforward common definitions of key terms related to sustainable materials to minimize duplication of effort and promote consistent approaches in communications with suppliers, sustainability reporting and measuring industry progress. She reviewed a guidance document the work group is currently developing to provide a common understanding of the value of consideration of carbon intensity and energy intensity metrics, alongside total carbon footprint information, in evaluating the sustainability of individual input materials.

Don Harris (Alianza Automotriz Para La Sustentabilidad Ambiental) presented an update on the SP initiative in Mexico, AASA. Don shared information on the focus issues for AASA members related to energy, water and waste, and the group’s planned activities in Mexico for the coming year. He invited others in the SP network to reach out to discuss how their Mexican operations could engage in the AASA program.

The meeting concluded with an outline of plans for upcoming SP quarterly membership meetings. Kevin Butt thanked the participants for their continued leadership and support in improving environmental sustainability performance within the industry and encouraged attendees to reach out to learn more about opportunities to engage in current and emerging SP work group initiatives.

SP’s next quarterly membership meeting is scheduled to be held in-person on April 14, 2022, with accompanying virtual-only events before and after the conference. 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 Q1 meeting discussions, 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.

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