SP Q2 Membership Meeting Held in Indianapolis

SP’s 2nd Quarter Membership Meeting of 2023 was held on April 25-26 in Indianapolis, Indiana. A special thank you to Heritage Interactive Services and Covanta for co-hosting, and to Cirba Solutions for their sponsorship of the Q2 event.

The Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP) provides a forum for global automotive manufacturers and their suppliers to work together toward a shared vision of an automotive industry with positive environmental impact.  SP’s quarterly membership meetings provide an opportunity for members to connect and share environmental sustainability best practices and strategies with industry peers, learn about emerging issues impacting the environment and their business operations, and identify new opportunities for collaborative action.

April 25 — Pre-Meetings

On the morning of April 25, attendees had the opportunity to participate in a special tour of Covanta’s Indianapolis Materials Processing Facility as well as its Indianapolis Energy-from-Waste Plant. Participants had an opportunity to learn more about the company’s sustainable waste management processes, as well as its work to ensure safe operations and minimize environmental impacts.

Later that afternoon, working meetings of several SP work groups were held, including:

  • Carbon Neutrality Roundtable. SP’s carbon neutrality work group is working on improving consistency and comparability of industry carbon reporting methods, while exploring opportunities for collaboration on common tools and resources to accelerate action.  This meeting included a collaborative Scope 3 GHG value chain mapping exercise facilitated by SP.
  • Sustainable Packaging Work Group Meeting. SP’s sustainable packaging work group is working to minimize automotive packaging waste and address barriers to packaging recyclability / reuse.  This meeting included a presentation from ERA Environmental on its waste minimization project, along with facilitated discussion on sustainable packaging challenges and opportunities.
  • EV Battery Safe Handling Subcommittee Meeting. Under the SP responsible battery work group, an EV battery safe handling subcommittee is working on the development of EV battery safe handling, storage and transportation guidance to support education with stakeholders in the value chain.
  • Water Stewardship Work Group Meeting. SP’s water stewardship work group is working to develop a sector-wide water stewardship program. This meeting included a workshop discussion facilitated by The Water Council around an upcoming SP water stewardship leadership framework.

That evening, attendees gathered for a networking reception at The Center highlighting local food and drink from around Indiana.

April 26 — Membership Meeting

On April 26, SP’s Q2 membership meeting opened with welcoming comments from Kevin Butt, Toyota Motor and Chair of SP’s Board of Directors.

We were pleased to welcome opening speaker Chad Pregracke, Founder & President of Living Lands and Waters, and CEO of Green Current Solutions. Chad shared his personal history that led to the founding of Living Lands & Waters in 1998 and how it has grown to be the only “industrial strength” river cleanup organization like it in the world. He spoke to his work with GCS making recycled plastic pallets out of the plastic removed from our rivers and encouraged attendees to continue working together to make a positive impact.

The meeting included presentations from a range of speakers regarding environmental sustainability trends, best practices and opportunities, including:

  • Kurt Wirgau (Heritage) shared information on Heritage’s operating companies and investment in sustainable innovation, along with its experience in supporting the automotive industry’s waste minimization efforts.
  • David Schroeder (Covanta) shared information on Covanta’s ESG goals and progress, along with its experience in supporting the automotive industry on zero waste to landfill goals.
  • Aaron Mason (Manufacture 2030) shared Manufacture 2030’s work in supporting decarbonization of supply chains at scale and provided an update on expanded engagement and progress across the automotive industry.
  • David Bottos (FigBytes), Aslan Cattaui (Toyota Tsusho) and John Jager (Toyota Tsusho) provided a live case study discussion regarding Toyota Tsusho America’s experience in working with FigBytes to support operationalizing ESG programs and metrics.
  • Bill Zierolf (Circulor) shared information on the use of technology to understand the flow of materials, vendors and process of recycled materials with a case study related to tracking circularity of aluminum in an automotive component.
  • Kristal DiCarlo (AGC Automotive) and Sherrie Suttles (AGC Automotive) shared information on AGC’s sustainability goals and the environmental impacts of its products, along with an example of a environmental and energy improvement project at one of its manufacturing sites.
  • Tom Schaefer (Ecobat) shared information on Ecobat’s history with lead battery recycling, its lithium-ion battery recycling experience in Europe, and its new investments in li-ion recycling capacity in North America.
  • Shane Thompson (Cirba Solutions) discussed sustainability impacts associated with electrification and battery products, the impact of battery recycling in reducing the environmental impacts of the battery supply chain, and Cirba Solutions’ expanding footprint and resources in North America to support these efforts.
  • Sam Tabor (Unison Energy) discussed challenges in decarbonizing thermal energy in manufacturing and introduced a new SP subcommittee focused on opportunities to decarbonize high thermal and other energy-intensive processes.
  • Bob Crawford (GWT Insight) previewed plans for SP’s 2023 Innovation Summit in July as well as a coming call for applications for SP’s 2023 environmental sustainability award program.
  • Kellen Mahoney (Suppliers Partnership) reviewed several current SP work group activities and provided an update on their plans for the coming month, including items related to Carbon Neutrality, EV Battery Recycling, ESG Leadership, Product Chemical Compliance, Pollinator Projects and Nature Based Solutions, Sustainable Materials, Sustainable Packaging, Technology & Innovation, Water Stewardship, and others.

Following the meeting, attendees had an opportunity to participate in a special side tour of the Venture Logistics Indianapolis Rail Warehouse as well as the Flutes‘ Indianapolis corrugated box manufacturing facility.

Additional information on the Q2 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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