Charging Into The Future: Our Vision For The Automotive Industry
The future is an automotive industry where all vehicles are made:
Respecting and advancing the rights of Indigenous Peoples, workers, and local communities throughout the supply chain.
Preserving and restoring environmental health and biodiversity across supply chains, while reducing primary resource demand through efficient resource use and increased recycled content.
100% electric and made with a fossil fuel-free supply chain.
The Road Ahead
How Automakers Can Drive Change: Action Areas
Demand for fossil-free & environmentally responsible aluminum
The aluminum sector produces about 2% of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. As the largest consumer of aluminum globally, the auto industry has a responsibility to use its outsized leverage over the industry to clean up its emissions.
Demand for fossil-free & environmentally responsible batteries
Automakers are the largest consumer globally of batteries and many of the minerals needed to produce them, including lithium and cobalt. The auto industry is also a major global consumer of other battery minerals such as nickel. It therefore has an opportunity to use its outsized leverage to clean up the emissions and wider environmental impacts of battery supply chains.
Demand for fossil-free & environmentally responsible steel
The steel sector alone produces about 8-11% of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. As a top consumer of steel globally, the auto industry has an opportunity and responsibility to use its outsized leverage on this industry to clean up its emissions.
Environmental requirements and due diligence in supply chains
Automakers can and should play a proactive role in reducing the environmental impact of their suppliers across their supply chains. This includes impact on water, biodiversity, land, and forests.
Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)
It is estimated that more than half of the minerals required for the energy transition are located on or near Indigenous Peoples’ territories. The sourcing of these minerals therefore entails risks to the rights of Indigenous Peoples, including their right to self-determination and Free, Prior and Informed Consent. Automakers have the responsibility to ensure that these rights are respected throughout their supply chains.
Human rights due diligence in supply chains
All companies have the responsibility to respect human rights in their own operations and throughout their supply chains. Rights violations also risk operational disruption to automakers, as well as reputational damage. Effective human rights due diligence is one of the most important processes through which companies can meet their obligation to ensure respect for human rights across their supply chains whilst also reducing their exposure to risk.
Human rights grievance and remedy mechanisms
Access to remedy is one of the three core pillars of the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This means that when human rights abuses occur in a company’s supply chain, they should provide for or cooperate in providing fair and just remedy.
Recycling and Reuse
The circular economy is a critical leverage point for auto supply chains across the board - including steel, aluminium and battery supply chains. Circular economy interventions can significantly reduce emissions, as well as demand for new mining and its associated environmental harms and risks of human rights abuses. Furthermore, recycling can also significantly reduce production costs for automakers.
Responsible sourcing of transition minerals
The transition to electric vehicles requires significant quantities of minerals such as cobalt, nickel, lithium, copper, manganese, and zinc. The sourcing of these materials carries significant human rights and environmental risks, including damage to water, land and other natural resources that local communities depend on. Some of these minerals are also sourced from areas characterized by armed conflict, otherwise known as conflict-affected or high risk areas (CAHRAs).
Scope 3 Science-Based Targets
Embodied emissions can represent up to 90% of the total lifetime emissions from electric vehicles, making it the single most important area for emissions reductions for EVs. For automakers to meet their climate commitments and keep emissions within a 1.5 degree pathway, they must therefore set scope 3 science-based targets for emissions reductions
Supporting legislation to drive up standards
Government legislation and regulations are a crucial way to drive up climate, environmental and human rights standards across the auto industry and it supply chains, and should be supported by automakers
Transparency and disclosure of supply chains and their emissions
For automakers to successfully eliminate emissions, environmental harms and human rights abuses from their supply chains to the point of extracton, they must first “know and show” what is happening across their supply chains.