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The 2024 Lead the Charge leaderboard is here, and the results reveal so much about the progress automakers have made (and where they’re falling behind) on building equitable, sustainable supply chains.

One trend highlighted by our leaderboard findings is that U.S automakers, led by Tesla, are speeding up in the race for a clean auto supply chain. Tesla achieved the largest overall score increase (18%) causing the company to jump from 9th place overall in 2023 to 3rd in 2024. Tesla’s improvement over just one year shows that rapid action on clean and equitable supply chains is possible.

Other US automakers also sped up their progress on cleaning up supply chains this year, with Ford and GM achieving large score improvements (8% and 7%). These improvements, coupled with inertia from some European automakers (who achieved an average score increase of just 2%), resulted in North American auto companies overtaking their European peers in our leaderboard.

One factor impacting the competition for clean supply chains among EU and US automakers is the changing regulatory environment, particularly in the EU. In 2023 the EU made progress on passing historic regulations that impact auto supply chains, including sustainable battery regulations and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, as well as reaching a provisional agreement on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive.

These new regulations appear to already be having an impact on automakers, particularly in the area of human rights due diligence. Chinese automakers all scored 0% on these indicators in 2023. But in 2024, all Chinese automakers except SAIC achieved notable score increases on human rights. Geely was the strongest performer, increasing its score to 16% in the general human rights due diligence section.

This year’s leaderboard also showed notable progress on the decarbonization of the steel and aluminum used to manufacture vehicles. Pressure from civil society, investors, and regulators over the past few years has helped put steel decarbonization on the agenda for automakers, with tangible results.

GM and Ford made notable improvements to their steel sourcing by setting targets for sustainable steel and entering formal agreements to incentivize investment in fossil free steel. But East Asian automakers are falling behind on green steel and aluminum, with Honda, Toyota, BYD, GAC and SAIC all scoring 0% on this metric.

Two companies continue to stand out as the climate laggards of the auto industry – Toyota and Honda.

Toyota and Honda continue to be amongst the worst performing automakers in the industry on the EV transition – with EV sales constituting just 1% of their total vehicle sales in the period evaluated. They also scored just 5% and 4% respectively on the climate and environment indicators of the leaderboard, with Toyota being the only automaker not to increase its score against these indicators. Toyota received the lowest score of the auto industry (with Honda a close second) from InfluenceMap for their anti-climate lobbying practices.

The trend we’re most concerned by when we look closely at the leaderboard results is a lack of action and commitment by automakers to a just transition. Average scores across the indicators on the responsible sourcing of transition minerals, Indigenous Peoples rights and workers’ rights – three essential components of a just transition to electric vehicles – have risen by just 2%.

Particularly concerning is the issue of Indigenous Peoples’ rights: during 2023, over 70% of automakers made no progress on Indigenous Peoples’ rights and 61% of automakers continued to score 0% on these indicators. Stay tuned for a post exploring this important issue in more depth.

Nearly half of automakers demonstrated no progress on addressing workers’ rights issues in their supply chains. With powerful worker organizing in the U.S. leading to big gains for workers of the Big 3 – it’s time for the industry to turn its attention to workers’ rights in its supply chain.