Kia’s declaration of carbon neutrality celebrated its first anniversary. In November of last year, Kia announced its Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider and unveiled its strategy of ‘carbon neutrality by 2045’. Recently, Kia carried out various activities to mark the 1st anniversary of its carbon neutral declaration: a program for employee participation and consensus building to achieve the carbon neutral goal, a super cube event for resource recycling activities, a carbon neutral live campaign, promotion of the carbon neutral practice point system, and the guide to carbon reduction activities. This is to bring everyone together to achieve carbon neutrality. First, the resource circulation activity ‘Super Cube’ event is introduced here.
A ‘circular economy’ is emerging as one of the solutions to achieving Kia’s goal of carbon neutrality. The European Union (EU) is mandating the use of recycled plastic raw materials in accordance with the ‘New Circular Economy Action Plan’. Korea also plans to reduce plastic waste by 20% by 2025, starting with the Resource Circulation Act, and increase the waste plastic recycling rate to 70%.
To realize this, Kia held a Super Cube event at Gwangmyeong Autoland to practice recycling by collecting clean aluminum cans and PET bottles. At this event, Kia employees and their families participated in recycling using the resource circulation machine Super Cube. It has had the effect of publicizing the need for clean separation that can recycle as many resources as possible.
Participants learned how to properly separate and dispose of cans and PETs to increase added value when recycling, along with a circular economy model and how to separate garbage. Afterwards, anyone who puts clean cans and PETs into the SuperCube can earn points and immediately see their carbon savings. This is a direct way to see the impact of recycling on carbon reduction.
Then, on Wednesday, November 9th, the ‘Carbon Neutral Live’ held online was a place for executives and employees to check the direction and efforts of Kia’s carbon neutral plan together. It was also a time to reflect on the necessity of carbon neutrality by listening to a special lecture on ‘Climate Crisis and Carbon Neutrality’ by Professor Jeong Su‒jong of Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Environmental Studies. Highlights from live performances on that topic include:
Kia will reduce its carbon emissions by 7% by 2030, based on its 2019 carbon footprint. By 2040 the automaker will reduce it by 70%, and by 2045 they plan to achieve full carbon neutrality. In order to realize this plan, efforts must be made to reduce carbon in all processes, including supply, production, logistics, use, and disposal.
In the supply chain, for example, a lot of carbon is emitted in the process of making key components of electrification models, such as steel, non‒ferrous metals and batteries. For this reason, Kia plans to promote carbon reduction in this area. They plan to reduce the sector’s carbon emissions by 10% by 2030, and achieve a 100% reduction by 2045.
Next is production. Although it accounts for 2% of Kia’s total carbon emissions, it is a low proportion, but it is a must‒have for complete carbon neutrality. Kia plans to solve this problem by converting to renewable energy, increasing efficiency in energy use, and saving energy. To this end, they are promoting self‒development of solar power as well as establishing energy efficiency plans.
In production, they aim to achieve overseas RE100 by 2030 and domestic RE100 by 2040. RE100 is an international campaign to supply all corporate power with renewable energy. Kia joined RE100 in April 2022. The Slovakia plant has already been operated with 100% renewable energy since 2019, and plans to achieve RE100 in 2030 for overseas plants and 2040 for domestic plants.
In addition, in the logistics process, they plan to switch to eco‒friendly means of transportation in the mid‒ to long‒term, and in the disposal process, they plan to respond by increasing the recycling rate of scrap cars. Kia is currently using recycled plastics and materials made from flaxseed extract for the EV6; And the EV9, scheduled for release in 2023, will use a variety of eco‒friendly and recycled materials, such as waste fishing nets, recycled plastics, and vegan leather. Kia will continue to practice sustainability, such as applying eco‒friendly materials, completely stopping the use of leather in all future products, defining 10 essential materials to be applied to Kia models, and developing eco‒friendly raw materials (BIO Fabrication).
In addition, Kia is evaluating carbon emissions of new vehicles by adopting a life cycle assessment that calculates both direct and indirect carbon emissions from the entire process, from production to operation and disposal. It helps to identify areas for reducing carbon emissions and derive improvement points, and is also used to manage targets and provide sector‒specific reduction solutions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.
In November, the automaker also conducted publicity campaigns for employees to participate in the ‘Carbon Neutral Practice Point System’. The carbon‒neutral practice point system is to provide incentives according to the performance of eco‒friendly activities of private companies in order to spread a carbon‒neutral living culture for the people. After signing up, members are provided with incentives such as cash or points up to KRW 70,000 per year for eco‒friendly activities such as purchasing eco‒friendly products, renting zero‒emission vehicles, and issuing electronic receipts.
Green initiatives such as carbon‒neutral action points are accessible to all; With a little care in everyday life, you can contribute to reducing carbon ‒ reducing energy and waste, for example. It means saving electricity and water, disposing of garbage cleanly so that as many resources are recycled as possible when discharging them, and using long‒lasting containers or eco‒friendly products. It would be perfect to use electric vehicles with zero‒emission.
Currently, Kia is collecting various in‒house eco‒friendly activities and converting them into carbon reduction. Through e‒reporting, you can check the amount of paper documents that have been reduced or how much carbon reduction has been achieved through the ‘Kia Movement Week’, a walking donation campaign held during the week of May 21, the anniversary of Kia’s founding. In early 2023, Kia plans to disclose the carbon reduction effects of eco‒friendly activities carried out by executives and employees. If the positive environmental impact of current activities is visible enough, the process towards carbon neutrality will be accelerated.
Kia’s activities like this are meaningful in that we all practice carbon reduction together. In addition to carbon neutrality at the corporate level, if all members work to reduce carbon emissions, we will be able to create a cleaner planet. Kia employees will continue to work together to realize the vision of becoming a ‘Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider’, contributing to the development of customers, communities and global society through sustainable mobility solutions. Many support Kia’s journey for sustainability for all of us.
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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