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How DNBC supports the Recycling Automotive Industry to a Greener Future


Jul 10, 2024

Table of Content

I. Introduction

As a part of the global economy, the car industry is facing growing calls to reduce its environmental impact. It is because these companies produce a sizable 16% of worldwide CO2 emissions (Source: Deloitte, 2024). As climate change concerns escalate, the industry is being compelled to drastically reduce its emissions. This shift is further fueled by very strict government regulations, increasing consumer demand for eco-friendly vehicles. It is also encouraged by the economic benefits of embracing sustainable practices. These activities underscore a clear message: transitioning to a sustainable model is no longer optional. Ultimately, it’s crucial for the automotive industry’s future viability and responsibility towards the planet.

II. Global Sustainability Regulations in the Recycling Automotive

The global automotive industry finds itself navigating a complex web of evolving sustainability regulations.

They have the same goal to lower emissions as well as climate change. The ambitious Paris Agreement, aiming for “well below 2°C” of warming, sets the global stage for action on climate change.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals show the need for the automotive sector to transform itself.

This is very important for those sustainable cities that want to take climate action. The European Union is setting a high bar globally, with some of the most demanding automotive emission regulations in place.

The EU’s CO2 emission performance standards for new cars and vans set ambitious reduction targets for 2030. This regulation pushes manufacturers to embrace fuel-efficient technologies. These regulations will be further improved by the upcoming Euro 7 standards. This law also imposes even stricter limits on pollutant emissions from a wider range of vehicles. The EU’s End-of-Life Vehicles Directive complements these measures by promoting recycling automotive and resource recovery.

While the EU sets a high bar, other regions are also increasingly strict regulations as well. The United States, with its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and California’s pioneering California’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program (Source: PWC, 2024), is moving towards greater fuel efficiency and electric vehicle adoption. In Asia, China’s dual-credit policy encourages both fuel consumption reduction and new energy vehicle development, while Japan promotes fuel efficiency and rewards low-emission vehicle purchases. This global regulatory trend toward greater environmental responsibility signals a clear direction: the future of the automotive industry on its ability to innovate, adapt, and embrace a sustainable path.

Global Sustainability Regulations in the Recycling Automotive
Global Sustainability Regulations in the Recycling Automotive

III. Strengthening Automotive Industry Circularity

A. European Approach

The European Union is a driving force in advancing green economy practices within the automotive sector. Its ambitious Circular Economy Action Plan sets clear targets for sustainable product design, production, and end-of-life vehicle management, emphasizing the use of recycled materials. Leading by example, Volkswagen embodies this commitment through its “goTOzero” mission. The company prioritizes incorporating recycled materials, developing cutting-edge recycling technologies, and establishing closed-loop systems for resources like aluminum. A prime example is Volkswagen’s innovative aluminum recycling initiative, processing vast amounts of high-grade scrap weekly, highlighting its dedication to a truly circular automotive ecosystem.

B. US Approach

The United States is steadily embracing recycling automotive, focusing on streamlining processes, promoting recycled content, and pioneering material recovery technologies. For example, Ford Motor actively integrates recycled materials into its vehicles. From utilizing recycled plastics for seat fabrics and carpets to incorporating recycled tires and battery casings into components, Ford continuously innovates. Its closed-loop aluminum recycling for the F-150 truck and Ford has increased its recycling of plastic waste from the ocean. Ford’s initiatives not only benefit the environment – saving millions of dollars and diverting tons of plastic from landfills – but also demonstrate the possibility and scalability of circular practices within the automotive sector.

C. Asian Approach

Asian countries, particularly Japan and South Korea, are emerging as front runners in implementing circular economy principles within their automotive industries. Japan, a pioneer in this field, has championed a circular economy approach since 1991, prioritizing high recycling rates and establishing closed-loop systems. Similarly, South Korea recently unveiled an ambitious strategy to encourage a circular economy across nine key industries, including automotive manufacturing.

Toyota, the Japanese automotive giant, stands out as a prime example of corporate leadership in battery recycling. Recognizing the critical importance of battery lifecycle management, Toyota has implemented a complete collection and recycling automotive system for its hybrid and electric vehicle batteries. This process allows Toyota to preserve valuable rare earth metals, which are then re-introduced into the production of new batteries and other vehicle components. This closed-loop system proves Toyota’s commitment to resource conservation and its ambition of achieving a 100% recovery rate for end-of-life batteries – a goal to have a truly green automotive ecosystem.

Strengthening Automotive Industry Circularity
Strengthening Automotive Industry Circularity

IV. Challenges in Implementing Green Vehicles

While the automotive industry races towards a greener future, several roadblocks need navigating. Technological challenges include developing cost-effective recycling for complex materials and ensuring the quality and performance of recycled components meet strict automotive standards. Integrating these materials into existing manufacturing processes also increases a significant cost for automobile companies.

Economic considerations are one of the leading reasons to prevent businesses from using green materials. Sustainable technologies and materials often come with higher upfront costs, while fluctuating raw material prices impact the competitiveness of recycled alternatives. Balancing critical sustainability investments with profitability and ever-evolving market demands remains a careful consideration for many companies.

Widespread consumer adoption of green vehicles also faces obstacles. On the one hand, short travel distance and charging infrastructure limitations remain concerns for potential electric vehicle buyers. On the other hand, the higher purchase price compared to traditional cars poses a barrier for many customers. Overcoming these challenges requires a collaborative approach between automakers, suppliers, policymakers, and consumers. They must work hand-in-hand to overcome technological hurdles, create favorable economic conditions, and promote the benefits of sustainable mobility to drive a truly green and sustainable automotive industry.

V. DNBC’s Role in Supporting Eco-friendly cars companies

DNBC Financial Group acts as a powerful catalyst in the automotive industry’s sustainability transformation by providing reliable financial solutions with expert guidance. Recognizing the need for international money transfer of auto businesses in the green practice process, DNBC helps auto businesses save costs in purchasing raw materials as well as transferring money between branches. For larger-scale corporations, transferring money between branches in many countries is an extremely important need. Furthermore, DNBC provides financing solutions to accelerate the production of electric vehicles and the development of essential charging infrastructure.

DNBC Role in Supporting Eco-friendly cars companies
DNBC Role in Supporting Eco-friendly cars companies

VI. Conclusion

The automotive industry is accelerating towards a sustainable future, driven by regulatory pressures and eco-conscious consumers. This transformation sees circular economy principles and advanced recycling revolutionizing manufacturing, while electric and hydrogen vehicles pave the way for greener transportation. Financial institutions like DNBC are vital in enabling this shift by supporting sustainable investments. Achieving a truly sustainable automotive ecosystem requires a collaborative effort. Creating a more sustainable automotive future will require a team effort. Industry leaders, regulators, and financial institutions must come together to establish global benchmarks for sustainability, foster a culture of shared knowledge, and develop groundbreaking financial solutions that support eco-friendly initiatives.

By aligning their efforts, these stakeholders can drive innovation, minimize environmental impact, and steer the industry towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.

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Note: The content in this article is for general informative purposes only. You should conduct your own research or ask for specialist advice before making any financial decisions. All information in this article is current as of the date of publication, and DNBC Financial Group reserves the right to modify, add, or remove any information. We don’t provide any express or implied representations, warranties, or guarantees regarding the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the content within this publication.