2021 SP Activity Report

Since 2002, Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP) has been the leading forum for global automotive manufacturers, their large and small suppliers, the US EPA, and other government entities from around the world to work together toward a shared vision of an automotive industry with positive environmental impact.

We are pleased to share the attached short document highlighting a few of the key activities SP members worked together to address in 2021. 

Our Members

2021 Members & Liaisons

SP members represent organizations from across the automotive value chain, including leading global automakers, such as Ford, General Motors, Honda, Stellantis, and Toyota Motor.

In 2021, SP was pleased to welcome several new member companies to the organization, including:

ABC TechnologiesArplank
Autoneum North AmericaCall2Recycle
Cox AutomotiveJSP
Magna InternationalMonolith
Murakami Manufacturing USANorican Group
Primex Design & FabricationRePowered Batteries
Resource Recycling Systems (RRS)Real Quality Services
Toyota Tsusho America 

Our Focus Areas

SP provides a forum for members to work together toward a shared vision of an automotive industry with positive environmental impact by advancing leading practices / projects in three key areas.

Key Focus Areas

Collaborative Work Groups

In 2021, SP continued to host an expanding number of member-driven working groups and initiatives to facilitate best practice sharing and advance collaboration related to established industry sustainability priorities.

  • BIODIVERSITY. Co-led by Toyota and WM, this work group is demonstrating leadership as an industry by working together to create a connected corridor of wildlife habitat across automotive operations, and within the communities in which our members operate, to create meaningful new habitat for migratory species of concern like the Monarch Butterfly.
  • CARBON / ENERGY. Driven by an SP OEM leadership team, this work group is supporting industry dialogue and action on common definitions / tools / resources for measuring and advancing carbon reduction efforts across the supply chain.
  • EHS FORUM. Co-led by Lear and Stellantis, the EHS Forum is facilitating deeper discussions and connections among SP members related to current and emerging environment, health and safety (EHS) issues impacting the automotive industry.
  • EMERGING PROFESSIONALS. Chaired by Honda, this work group is supporting emerging professionals in advancing innovative associate engagement initiatives at their companies through benchmarking and collaboration with fellow, diverse industry professionals within the SP network.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE. Newly launched in late 2021, this initiative is designed to support SP companies as they strive to positively impact the environment, the economy, and the people who live and work in host communities surrounding automotive manufacturing operations.
  • GLOBAL PRODUCT CHEMICAL COMPLIANCE PROCESS MANAGEMENT. Chaired by Honda, this work group is supporting OEM / supplier dialogue and education on emerging global product chemical compliance process management challenges and opportunities.
  • MATERIALS EFFICIENCY. Co-Chaired by GM and Toyota, this work group is working to move the automotive industry towards a circular materials economy by promoting collaboration amongst automotive manufacturers and suppliers to incorporate sustainable practices, processes, and materials in the production and content of vehicles and automotive packaging.
    • Chaired by GM, an SP MEWG Sustainable Materials Definitions Team was formed in 2021 to develop straightforward common definitions of key terms related to sustainable materials.
    • An SP MEWG Sustainable Packaging Team co-chaired by Magna and Toyota was also launched in 2021 to identify voluntary opportunities and best practices to minimize packaging waste and promote consideration of sustainable packaging materials.
  • RESPONSIBLE BATTERY. This work group is promoting information exchange on key challenges and opportunities related to end-of-life management of advanced EV batteries and identifying opportunities for strategic pre-competitive collaboration across the value chain to advance best practice in responsible management of such batteries in North America and beyond
  • TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION. Co-led by GWT Insight and VMX International, this Council is providing a structured process to assist companies of all sizes within the SP network to share innovative ideas and solutions that can address our member companies’ significant environmental sustainability challenges and needs. 

SP also organized a new Tier 1 Supplier Roundtable in 2021 to provide a safe space for sustainability leaders from large Tier 1 suppliers in the membership to openly talk about industry sustainability goals and challenges among peers, and explore additional opportunities for connections and collaboration through SP.

New Industry Resources

Several best practice resources and educational materials developed by SP’s member-led working groups were shared publicly at no-cost in 2021 to support the supply chain in further improving environmental performance.

  • Sustainable Packaging Specification Recommendations for Automotive Manufacturing Operations. In December 2020, SP published a new guidance document designed to provide straightforward industry-supported guidance to help automakers and their suppliers source sustainable packaging designs. In 2021, this guidance was distributed widely through feature articles in industry publications, webinar presentations and individual OEMs supplier sustainability communications. A member-led team continues to meet regularly to develop the next version of this guidance expected to be published in 2022.
  • Key KPIs to Track and Reduce CO Among Automotive Suppliers. In July 2021, SP announced the publication of a new guidance document on supply chain carbon reporting and reduction. Developed through a collaborative process between SP members Ford, General Motors, Honda, Stellantis, and Toyota Motor this new guidance document is designed to help companies in the automotive value chain in establishing a framework for carbon reporting and reduction aligned with common industry expectations and requirements.
  • Measuring Recycled Content of Automotive Products. In September 2021, SP finalized a new guidance document outlining a common industry-supported definition and straightforward approach for measuring recycled content of automotive products. The guidance document was produced through a collaborative process by the SP Sustainable Materials Definitions Sub-Team and was published in collaboration with AIAG.
  • Measuring Renewable Content in Automotive Products. In November 2021, SP finalized a new guidance document outlining a common industry-supported definition and straightforward approach for measuring use of renewable content in automotive products. The guidance document was produced through a collaborative process by the SP Sustainable Materials Definitions Sub-Team and will be published in collaboration with AIAG in January 2022.
  • Pollinator Project Challenge. SP continued its Pollinator Project Challenge initiative in 2021 to provide a platform to educate, engage and recognize the actions of groups across the automotive value chain in implementing pollinator conservation projects. A pollinator toolkit developed with WHC continues to provide practical information to support the development of projects suitable to many automotive sites.
  • EV Battery Recycling Resources. SP continues to provide a collection of free resources on its website to support stakeholders seeking additional information regarding safe handling and proper disposal of end-of-life electric vehicle batteries. A member-led team continues to meet regularly regarding additional educational resources in this area, with new guidance on regulatory requirements for packaging and shipping EV batteries expected to be published in 2022.

Membership Meetings

SP hosts quarterly membership meetings to provide an opportunity for members to connect and share environmental sustainability best practices and strategies with industry peers and government partners, learn about emerging issues impacting the environment and their business operations, and identify new opportunities for collaborative action. 

Examples of 2021 Member Meeting Speakers

In 2021, each of SP’s four quarterly membership meetings was held as a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the four quarterly meetings, SP directly engaged 400+ individuals representing 160+ distinct organizations, including representatives of automakers, tiered suppliers, environmental service providers, governmental agencies, environmental NGOs, industry trade associations and academic institutions.

Through participation in SP’s 2021 quarterly meetings, SP members had the opportunity to discuss environmental sustainability challenges, opportunities, and leading practices with a wide range of industry leaders as well as non-profit and government partners. We were pleased to be joined in 2021 by featured speakers from organizations such as those pictured here.

Annual Awards

2021 Awards Announcement

SP’s Technology & Innovation Advisory Council re-launched an annual SP Awards Program in 2021 to recognize and raise awareness of SP members’ environmental sustainability successes, while promoting knowledge sharing and transfer of proven solutions across the automotive industry. 

A selection committee of environmental sustainability leaders from Ford, Honda, Lear, Stellantis and Toyota were assigned to review qualified applications submitted by the membership and score the winning entries.

  • The 2021 SP Community Impact Award was presented to Magna International for its Global 6K Water Challenge. Magna was recognized for its support of the World Vision Global 6K Challenge to bring clean water to communities in need. To date, a total of more than 10,000 Magna employees globally have participated in a Global 6K Challenge event and raised more than $1 million USD to help support access to water in communities around the world.
  • The 2021 SP Creativity in Implementing Sustainable Practices Award was presented to Avangard Innovative for its Circular Economy program. Avangard Innovative was recognized for its creativity and innovation in bringing together stakeholders from across the value chain to design and implement a program to collect used plastic packaging materials and transform them into post-consumer resin for use in new products.
  • The 2021 SP Demonstrating Environmental Innovation in the Manufacturing Process Award was presented to Li-Cycle Corp. for its Spoke and Hub Technologies. Li-Cycle was recognized for its development of innovative Spoke & Hub Technologies supporting the recycling of all types of lithium-ion batteries and allowing for a recovery rate of ≥95% of all critical materials found in lithium-ion batteries.
  • Sophia Borroni-Bird of General Motors was recognized with a 2021 SP Shining Star Award for her vision and leadership in promoting industry collaboration to advance circular and sustainable materials management in automotive products and packaging.
  • Gary Vegh of ERA Environmental Management Solutions was recognized with a 2021 SP Shining Star Award for his leadership, long-term engagement, and active support of advancing environmental sustainability across multiple SP initiatives as well as throughout his own company.
  • The recipient of the 2021 Spirit of SP Award was Alissa Yakali of Honda Development and Manufacturing America. Alissa Yakali was recognized as a constant advocate for SP and enthusiastic volunteer of her time and energy in support of the organization’s mission.

Additional information on each of the 2021 nominees and award winners may be found on SP’s website at: supplierspartnership.org/2021-sp-awards-program/

Looking Forward

As we head into SP’s 20th anniversary year in 2022, we have many successes to celebrate as well as much more work to do as we strive toward our members’ shared vision of an automotive industry with positive environmental impact.

In the first part of 2022, a few of those things we are excited for include: launching a new industry water stewardship program in collaboration with The Water Council; expanding our collaborative relationship with the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) through a newly awarded Nature Based Solutions grant project for the automotive supply chain in the Southeast US; and, planning for SP’s 20th anniversary celebration during our 2022 Innovation Summit co-hosted with The Ohio State University.

We are looking forward to continuing to build on the successful collaborative efforts within each of our existing workstreams and to further driving continuous improvement through the supply chain in support of industry environmental sustainability priorities.

As always, SP members and collaborators are encouraged to reach out to learn more about how to get involved in our work group activities and initiatives and to share your ideas for new opportunities for SP to make a positive impact.

As we continue moving forward in our mission, we also welcome additional automakers and their suppliers to join us in working to improve the environmental sustainability and competitiveness of the automotive supply chain.  Please feel free to contact us for more information on SP membership and programs.

Thank you for your continued engagement and support of SP’s mission!

2021 SP Leadership Team

ChairKevin Butt, Toyota Motor North America
Vice-ChairJack Nunes, Lear Corp.
Finance ChairJim Laney, DENSO International America
Membership ChairAlissa Yakali, Honda Development & Manufacturing of America
Work Group ChairVickie Lewis, VMX International
At-LargeAndy Hobbs, Ford Motor Company
At-LargeRae Howard, General Motors
At-LargeGreg Rose, Stellantis
Legal AdvisorGrant Gilezan, Dykema
Executive DirectorSteve Hellem, SP
Program DirectorKellen Mahoney, SP

About SP

The Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP) is an association of automakers and their suppliers working in collaboration with the US EPA and other governmental entities toward a shared vision of an automotive industry with positive environmental impact. Learn more at: https://www.supplierspartnership.org/

© 2022 Suppliers Partnership for the Environment