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Sustainability in Automotive: from ambition to action

Sustainability has become a major topic among automotive OEMs and suppliers. Increasing climate risks, regulations, and customer and investor pressures are pushing the automotive industry further into the new era of sustainability. In our newest Capgemini Research Institute report, Sustainability in Automotive: From ambition to action, we examine the various aspects of sustainability in automotive in depth.

To understand what organizations must do to meet their sustainability goals, we surveyed more than 1,000 automotive executives and interviewed automotive experts. We found that there has only been limited progress in the past three years. Implementation levels for sustainability initiatives in the industry’s top focus areas have either improved marginally, or even reduced since 2019. Several challenges facing the automotive industry today are stagnating implementation, including difficulty with linking sustainability to day-to-day activities, poor integration of key sustainability KPIs into performance management, and difficulty in collecting, managing, and analyzing sustainability data.

However, a small group of sustainability “Leaders” has emerged. These organizations have advanced sustainability strategies and a high level of implementation of sustainability initiatives. Importantly, they’re on track to meet their emissions targets and benefit in terms of operations and attracting talent.

To achieve their sustainability goals, organizations will have to transform their approaches in several ways. This will involve fast-tracking product and service evolution to decarbonize their vehicle fleet (including through transitioning to electric vehicles), establishing new processes and enhancing traditional ones for sustainability, and putting people at the heart of sustainable transition.

To read more about how organizations can achieve sustainability as they look towards the future of the automotive industry, download the report.

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    The automotive industry in the era of sustainability

    Sustainability has become a strategic priority for automotive organizations

    With growing concerns about climate change and environmental degradation, sustainability has become a strategic priority for automotive organizations. Governments, consumers, and investors are now pushing automotive organizations to change their ways of working, culture, and products. This will have far-reaching implications for the industry, which despite having made substantial progress, still has to step up its sustainability efforts.

    So, where does the industry stand today in terms of its sustainability initiatives and what does the future hold?

    A strategic priority yet a fragmented execution

    Hence the latest, comprehensive research from the Capgemini Research Institute – The automotive industry in the era of sustainability. We surveyed 500 large automotive organizations as well as 300 experts, including regulators, academics and non-governmental organizations working in the field of sustainability. We found that:

    • Sustainability has become a strategic priority for the industry – 62% of automotive organizations claim to have a comprehensive sustainability strategy with well-defined goals and targets.
    • But implementation seems fragmented and an additional $50 billion investment is needed to meet sustainability commitments.
    • 74% of OEMs have an electric vehicle plan. However, only 56% of them have made EVs a part of their sustainability strategy. We analyze how this could be counterproductive.
    • Supporting and promoting circular economy – the most implemented sustainability initiative – is deployed by 52% of the organizations. Yet, more needs to be done to reap its full potential.
    • Only 9% of the automotive organizations we surveyed have a mature sustainability program, while 26% have are lagging behind considerably.

    Based on input from sustainability leaders, we believe automotive firms should:

    • Demonstrate tangible progress on sustainability
    • Pursue sustainability as an organization-wide mission
    • Make business executives accountable for sustainability and invest in robust governance
    • Envision and spread sustainability initiatives across the automotive value chain
    • Use technology to improve sustainability of operations
    • Strengthen alliances and partnerships for greater impact.

    For more information on sustainability in automotive, download the report.