Circular Economy helps reducing Vehicle Lifetime Emissions

AJ Gonzalez | March 18, 2021

Waste Management World, 2021-03-17 14:43:07

The Circular Economy can help reduce vehicle lifetime emissions by up to 75 percent by 2030, according to Accenture and the World Economic Forum. They show how the Circular Cars Initiative could help lower mobility emissions.

The adoption of circular economy practices combined with accelerated electrification in the automotive industry has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 75 percent and non-circular resource consumption by up to 80 percent per mile by 2030, according to a report from Accenture, the World Economic Forum, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The report “Raising Ambitions: A new roadmap for the automotive circular economy” is based on an Accenture analysis that finds mobility demand — in terms of both passenger miles and predicted vehicle stock — is expected to increase 70 percent globally by 2030. The automotive industry can prepare for this demand, while also decarbonizing to contribute to limiting global warming to less than 1.5°C, by achieving circularity through the lens of energy, water, waste, materials, vehicle lifetime and use.

“Circular cars will be a key building block to serve the growing mobility demand, while at the same time reducing resource consumption and carbon emissions to a level that is truly sustainable,” said Axel Schmidt, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads its Automotive industry group globally. “While many vehicle manufacturers have already set net-zero goals toward carbon neutrality, the roadmap for automotive circularity must be a core element of this transformation and ambition.”

According to the report, circularity in the automotive ecosystem can be accomplished through four key transformation pathways:

Achieve net-zero carbon emissions across the whole vehicle lifecycle (e.g., low-carbon materials and assembly, integration with energy grid.), enable resource recovery and close material loops (e.g., end-of-life disassembly and reverse logistics, electric vehicle battery recycling), increase the lifetime of the vehicle and its components (e.g., subscription-based ownership, re-use and remanufacturing at scale) and ensure efficient vehicle use over time and occupancy (e.g., vehicle/mobility on demand).

“The circular car is now on its way to becoming a core component of the automotive future,” said Christoph Wolff, global head of mobility and member of the executive committee at the World Economic Forum. “Companies across the industry must consider how technology and business levers can maximize the resource value of the car, minimize life-cycle emissions and unlock new opportunities along the value chain.”

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