Sustainability Roundtable Whitepaper
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Full Description:

CAR conducts quarterly meetings with CAR Affiliates—a group of over 65 automotive stakeholders whose contributions support CAR’s research activities. Over the past 18 months, sustainability has become a key point of discussion at these meetings. The increasing focus on sustainability is even more noteworthy amidst seemingly unprecedented challenges and change. While many companies have been considering how to implement sustainable practices for years, the speed at which the topic went from being just one of many challenges to high importance is, frankly, surprising. As the automotive industry faces a seemingly unending list of challenges, creating a vision for a sustainable future is becoming ever more critical.

Sustainability is complex and challenging. At its core, sustainability contains three pillars: environmental, social, and governance, commonly referred to as ESG. The Affiliates guided CAR to focus initial efforts on the environmental pillar of sustainability. Given the enormous challenges environmental sustainability presents, it is a logical starting point. However, CAR and its Affiliates understand the social and governance pillars are critical and worthy of equal attention in the coming years.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, CAR convened two roundtable discussions with Affiliates to explore environmental sustainability challenges. Participants included representatives from material suppliers, part and component manufacturers, consulting firms, and service firms. CAR designed the roundtables to understand industry stakeholders’ most critical concerns in developing an environmental sustainability plan. The two roundtables included a total of 15 people from different companies. The participants were a diverse group with many different perspectives.

CAR researchers designed the roundtables to accomplish three main outcomes. Better understand stakeholders’ perspectives on their companies’ sustainability strategies and challenges; gather insights on their perspectives regarding their customers (the vehicle manufacturers) sustainability expectations and; the role CAR should play in supporting stakeholders’ sustainability efforts. This report summarizes the roundtable outcomes and possible next steps.

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