Environmental Impacts

If you think about the environmental effect of the car industry, what comes to mind? How important would it be to you as a car user / car consumer that a car company uses sustainable practices in its operations?

I think first about the CO² emission of the car during its lifetime.
I understand the CO² emission of the building but I would definitively consider a car with no emision of usage.

What comes to mind instantly are fossil fuels and rare earth.
On a second thought, it is the scale of today’s mobility, the incredible concentration of the capitals of the production we are witnessing in the last decades and the subsequent competition.
Sustainable practices in nowadays car production seem like a faraway utopia.

The first thought that comes to my mind is the pollution from exhaust gases. I have an impression that there is over usage of cars and that circular solutions (e.g. car sharing) could be one of the solutions. I know that some companies give small incentives to their employees if they are carpooling with other colleagues (e.g. better parking spots at HQ and similar things).

What comes to mind is various forms of pollution – air pollution from exhaust fumes, pollution from the mining and extraction projects necessary to procure the metals involved in building the cars, including groundwater poisoning, waste/tailings ponds, land erosion, etc. At the end of the life of a car, the pollution comes from dumped rather than recycled cars, where tires, batteries, etc. decay or leak causing soil and water pollution. It is definitely important to me as a car consumer that a company uses sustainable practices.

I believe that concepts of sustainability and “ways of becoming greener” are no longer new ideas but somehow established or mainstream approaches in the car industry. There is a large spectrum of how to follow, identify with or refer to them. However, I think it is no longer only “greenwashing” the car industry trend but rather a trend towards a more responsible and conscious driving behaviour while being aware of the environment.

Carbon emissions, resource depletion, air pollution, impact of automotive infrastructure on the landscape.

It would be incredibly important to me that car companies prioritize sustainable practices in their operations. However, it’s also crucial that these sustainable options remain accessible to a wide range of individuals, not just the wealthy, which is where some challenges arise.

For me as a car user it is important that a car company uses sustainable practices in its design and production. This means that not only the new car should be sustainable but the upkeep as well. One example is the design of parts that need to be replaced regularly. It can be designed in such a way, that the whole part has to be replaced or just e.g. the rubber part (e.g. transverse link).

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Minimizing environmental impact is essential in the past but even more nowadays.
It is important to look at the environmental impact of a product over its full lifespan : production (inclusive material mining), use phase and end-of-life phase. Within de mobility sector mainly the use phase is in de hands of individuals with often has the biggest environmental impact (surely during the previous century). So it is important the consumer chooses the right product.
But to make the world better it is not sufficient to reduce the usage of resources, we als have to look for a happy world, ensuring correct appreciation of the people involved in the supply chain. As consumer we do not always have the correct view on it, we have to rely on the activities organised by the car manufacturer. This means that the car company’s systems installed and acted on related to sustainability all over the supply chain is essential to come to the better world.

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If I think out loud about the environmental effect of the car industry, what comes to my mind is first of all the huge impact that moving by car has on the environment, second how this industry is important in terms of employment rate.
Unfortunately I do not think that consumers are so “educated” to be the driver of the change (or at least this would imply a drastic cultural change which we have no time to reach if we want to stop the disastrous effects of the climate change). So, since a bottom up approach is not effective, in mu humble opinion, in the short / medium term, the role of the industries is crucial. Yet, the market logic may be still a barrier to really puch the adoption of Circular Economy principles from the car industry. For this reason policy makers can be the support to overcome market failures.

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It would be essential to have a information on environmental sustainable practices also to provide information to car user and consumers, for their choices.

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