SP Q4 2021 Membership Meeting Summary – October 27

The Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP) Q4 Membership Meeting was held as a virtual event over October 26-28, 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.

On October 27, the Q4 meeting included discussions focused on carbon footprint, zero waste and EV battery recycling.

Carbon Footprint of Aluminum

Building on discussion of carbon neutrality and carbon impacts of material sourcing in recent SP meetings, this session focused on current activities and emerging initiatives addressing the carbon footprint of aluminum used in automotive products.

Pernelle Nunez (International Aluminum Institute) shared information on IAI research into pathways towards decarbonization for the aluminum sector by mid-century in line with societal climate goals. She reviewed carbon impacts of aluminum production from cradle to gate, some of the possible technology and policy interventions to mitigate those impacts, and the opportunity for collaboration across the value chain to reduce emissions.

Olga Krylova (RUSAL) then provided a review of carbon footprint accounting of aluminum in automotive products. She outlined the methods RUSAL uses to calculate and report the carbon footprint of its products and key considerations in comparing outputs of different carbon footprinting methodologies. She also shared information on RUSAL’s carbon neutrality commitments and efforts to further reduce the carbon intensity of its products.

SP will continue to dig deeper into details of industry carbon reduction and reporting practices in future sessions, including through our carbon and energy and materials efficiency work groups.

Zero Waste in Automotive Operations

Building on recent SP discussions on a wide range of challenges and opportunities in advancing sustainable materials management within the automotive industry, this session focused in on developing, measuring, and advancing progress on zero waste initiatives in automotive operations.

Breitner Marczewski (GM) shared information on GM’s global zero waste goal and some of its established waste minimization and waste diversion practices. He then shared a new waste diversion rate methodology GM has developed that uses a baseline to track performance and determines the diversion rate by comparing the total nondiverted material against the baseline.

Dan Esch (Ford) shared information on Ford’s global zero waste goal and past zero waste successes. He then discussed Ford’s global waste strategy and shared examples of how Ford is working to reduce waste, improve recyclability of plant waste materials, and drive towards true zero waste to landfill.

Chandan Trehan (Robert Bosch) and Alper Kiziltas (Ford) then co-presented a circular economy pilot project employing blockchain technology to improve traceability and transparency of circular material flows along the supply chain.

SP will continue to focus on opportunities to move the automotive industry towards a circular materials economy in future sessions, including through our materials efficiency work groups.

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 began with a presentation from Stephanie Valdez Streaty (Cox Automotive) on Cox’s vison for an electric vehicle future. She discussed opportunities to promote a closed loop ecosystem for EV batteries to reduce the environmental impact of metals mining and new battery lifecycle service opportunities that EVs create. She shared information on Cox’s acquisition of Spiers New Technologies and its offering of a battery health diagnostic tool to assess the condition and value of EV batteries.

Laurent Cohen (Solvay) then shared information on Solvay’s global sustainability goals and its positioning in the mining industry as part of the EV battery value chain. He reviewed a process Solvay has developed aimed at recovering all valued battery metals as high purity salts to be re-inserted in the battery value chain, enabling circularity and maximizing the recycled value, and referenced the company’s work in Europe with Veolia and Renault to design, build and operate a demonstration plant based on this process.

Finally, Shane Thompson (Retriev Technologies) shared an update on the recent combination of Heritage Battery Recycling with Retriev Technologies. He spoke to capabilities of the newly combined company in providing a platform to support recycling and reuse of advanced vehicle batteries, and shared information on recent partnerships with other companies in the EV battery value chain.

The work group will continue to meet on a regular basis to promote communication and pre-competitive collaboration along the value chain in support of responsible management of EV batteries.

Stay tuned for part three, with more details on the final day’s Q4 meeting sessions.

SP’s next quarterly membership meeting is scheduled to be held on January 25 – 27, 2022. 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 Q4 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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