SP Q3 2021 Membership Meeting Summary – Part 1

The Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP) Q3 Membership Meeting was held as a virtual event over July 27-29, 2021. 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.

The Q3 meeting began on July 27 with meetings of SP’s Emerging Professionals and Responsible Battery working groups.

Emerging Professionals

SP’s Emerging Professionals Work Group (SP EP) works to support emerging professionals in advancing innovative associate engagement initiatives at their companies through benchmarking and collaboration with fellow, diverse industry professionals within the Suppliers Partnership network. Chaired by Lisa Majchrzak (Honda), the group is building a cohort of emerging professionals that will be progressing long-term automotive industry sustainability goals into the future (2030 – 2050). In this meeting, participants discussed key environmental issues to be addressed through future SP EP workshops and mentoring sessions, as well as plans for organizing a hands-on community volunteer activity for SP members.

EV Battery Recycling

SP’s Responsible Battery Work Group provides a forum for SP members from across the value chain to work together to advance responsible management of advanced batteries in electric vehicles, with a particular focus on end-of-life management of lithium-ion batteries. This meeting highlighted some of the ongoing initiatives being led by other organizations to support sustainable lifecycle management of advanced batteries.

  • George Kercher (PRBA – The Rechargeable Battery Association) provided attendees with an update on current and emerging regulatory developments related to management of lithium-ion batteries in the United States.
  • Paul Harper (ECOBAT) shared an overview of ECOBAT’s end-of-life battery collection, transportation, logistics and recycling model and key learnings from the company’s work in collecting and recycling EV batteries.
  • Todd Coy (KBI) shared an update on KBI’s EV battery collection infrastructure and recycling model in North America, through its Retriev business, and a recently announced closed-loop partnership with Marubeni Corporation.
  • Kunal Phalpher (Li-Cycle) shared an update on Li-Cycle’s spoke and hub lithium-ion collection and recycling model, and recent partnership announcements with Univar Solutions, Ultium Cells, and Helbiz.
  • John Bradburn (ERA Environmental) then shared an update on a collaborative project between several SP member companies to repurpose outdated EV battery shipping containers as raised bed garden containers for use in community / urban gardens in Flint, Michigan.

The work group continues to meet on a regular basis to promote communication and pre-competitive collaboration along the value chain in advancing best practice in responsible lifecycle management of EV batteries, with its next working meeting scheduled in August 2021.

Low-Carbon Steel & Carbon Neutrality

Building on a series of recent SP quarterly meeting and EHS Forum discussions on carbon reduction, the next two sessions on July 28 focused on the carbon footprint of steel, as well as achieving carbon neutrality.

In the first session, speakers discussed current activities and emerging initiatives addressing the energy and carbon footprint of steel used in automotive products.

  • Betsy Dutrow (US EPA) shared information on recent studies exploring steel’s potential to decarbonize by 2050, the role of low-carbon procurement in reducing embodied carbon in products, and opportunities for companies to use EnergyStar’s plant energy performance indicators to inform their decision making.
  • Jen Carson (The Climate Group) shared information on a new SteelZero initiative that has been launched to build demand for net-zero steel, and the pathways currently available for participating companies to achieve the SteelZero commitment through 2030.
  • Matthew Wenban-Smith (Responsible Steel) reviewed key governance, social and environmental principles of the Responsible Steel standard, and the GHG emissions-related requirements for site-level and product-level certifications against the standard.

In the following session, speakers provided an in-depth case study on setting and achieving a corporate carbon neutrality goal.

  • Roman Fernandez (Bosch) shared Bosch’s success in achieving carbon neutrality for its global operations as of 2020, and the process the company has gone through to develop and achieve the commitment. 
  • Emmett Gaffney (Bain) then shared information on the importance of decarbonization for industry, highlighting findings from recent studies indicating sustainability leaders tend to have higher profitability and lower costs of doing business, and examples of a range of emissions reductions projects with positive business cases.
  • Joerg Gnamm (Bain), Peter Hanbury (Bain), and Roman Fernandez (Bosch), then reviewed the toolbox that Bosch and Bain have co-developed to drive decarbonization along the value chain, sharing their process moving from strategy and design, energy efficiency, green energy generation, green energy sourcing, and finally carbon offsetting where necessary.

Stay tuned for part two, with more details on the remaining Q3 meeting sessions.

SP’s next quarterly membership meeting is scheduled to be held on October 26-27, 2021. 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 Q3 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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