DRIVE Sustainability is being overseen by the European Business Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR Europe) and calls on automakers to provide services that ensure that supply chains provide decent working conditions for staff while minimising the environmental impact of their actions.

BMW is acting as a lead partner in the initiative alongside Scania, VW, Volvo Cars and Volvo Group, and Daimler AG, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Opel and Toyota Motor Europe have all signed up as partners to the initiative

CSR Europe’s executive director Stefan Crets said: “DRIVE Sustainability is a commitment from the automotive industry to move to the next level of sustainability and supply chain management. Sustainability is well established among the buying criteria of these companies; therefore, it is now the time to strengthen the way they work together and establish a Partnership focused on results, based on stronger collaboration, excellence, leadership and impact.”

The partnership will spend the remainder of 2017 “fine-tuning” the supplier strategy, which includes training events in countries such as Turkey, India, Spain, Hungary and Italy. Members of the initiative can also lean on CSR Europe’s 45-strong corporate member team to help push its CSR agenda further.

DRIVE Sustainability builds on the work carried out by the European Automotive Working Group on Supply Chain Sustainability, which pushed for stringent supply chain standards, tailored to human rights and environmental issues, and promoted similar educational measures to achieve it.

Daimler’s detailed year

DRIVE Sustainability member Daimler released its latest sustainability report on Tuesday (28 March). The German carmaker revealed that it invested more than €3bn in environmental projects to streamline the production process of its vehicles in 2016.

The firm, known for its Mercedes-Benz vehicles, reduced fleet emissions in China and the US by 7% and 6% respectively. Emissions remained stable in Europe due to a growth in demand for luxury class models.

Daimler spent a large portion of 2016 exploring the potential of energy storage in relation to electric vehicle (EVs) production. Around 3,000 replacement battery modules that were intended for EV use were instead redistributed to form a stationary energy storage system. In Lunen, 1,000 used batteries from EVs were reused as part of the operational make-up for the largest second-use battery storage system in the world.

The use of second-life batteries to facilitate energy storage systems is becoming common practice in the auto industry. Last year, BMW completed a new utility-scale energy storage facility, which uses 2,600 worn EV battery modules to stabilise the grid and reduce the impact of peak demand.

Nissan recently took the concept a step further with an innovative vehicle-to-grid concept. Moreover, old Renault EV batteries will be converted into energy storage units under a new partnership between the French carmaker and UK firm Connected Energy.

Matt Mace

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