Industry Initiatives Towards Environmental Sustainability in the Automobile Value Chains

  • Pia DewitzEmail author
Part of the Natural Resource Management in Transition book series (NRMT, volume 2)


The automobile sector has been receiving clear signals to reorganise and reinvent its value chain, but the ecological impacts of vehicles remain controversial. While there is a clear trend towards environmental risks being taken into account in strategic business decisions, original equipment manufacturers in the automobile industry struggle to account for these concerns, especially in early stages of the value chain. This chapter builds on prior in-depth studies and compares the different initiatives of green supply chain management of three of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers. It discusses the underlying drivers of managing environmental issues in the supply chain and concludes with assessing their potential to transform value chains of this mega-industry. The supply chain has become the central place where competitive advantage and environmental innovations can be realized. Still, more action is needed when it comes to an industry-wide approach towards environmental responsibility covering the entire value chain, not only for manufacturers to become business leaders, but to effectively mitigate environmental impacts.


  1. Angell LC, Klassen RD (1999) Integrating environmental issues into the mainstream: an agenda for research in operations management. J Oper Manag 17(5):575–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beske P, Koplin J, Seuring S (2008) The use of environmental and social standards by German first-tier suppliers of the Volkswagen AG. Corp Soc Respon Environ Manag 15(2):63–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. CDP – Carbon Disclosure Project (2017) Missing link: harnessing the power of purchasing for a sustainable future (Global Supply Chain Report 2017). Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  4. CDP – Carbon Disclosure Project (2018) Closing the gap: scaling up sustainable supply chains (Global Supply Chain Report 2018). Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  5. Clean Shipping Index (2018) Clean Shipping Index: Membership Information. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  6. Cronin Fisk M (2016) Bosch Allegedly Sought VW Legal Cover for Defeat Device. Bloomberg Technology. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  7. CSR Europe – The European Business Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (2016) Automotive Industry Guiding Principles to Enhance Sustainability Performance in the Supply Chain. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  8. EC – European Commission (2006) CARS 21: A Competitive Automotive Regulatory System for the 21st century, Final Report. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  9. General Motors (2017) 2016 Sustainability Report: Moving Forward. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  10. Gilbert S (2001) Integrated summary. In: Asian Productivity Organization (ed) Greening supply chain: enhancing competitiveness through green productivity. APO, Tokyo, pp 1–6. Accessed 31 Jan 2019Google Scholar
  11. ICC – International Chamber of Commerce (2015) Inspire and grow your business in the 21st century: business charter for sustainable development. ICC, Paris. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  12. ICCT – International Council on Clean Transportation (2015) European Vehicle Market Statistics, 2015–2016. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  13. Kleindorfer PR, Singhal K, Van Wassenhove LN (2005) Sustainable operations management. Prod Oper Manag 14(4):482–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Martinuzzi A, Kudlak R, Faber C, Wiman A (2011) CSR Activities and Impacts of the Automotive Sector. RIMAS Working Paper No. 3/2011. Vienna University of Economics and Business, Research Institute for Managing Sustainability, Vienna, Austria. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  15. Menzel V, Smagin J, David F (2010) Can companies profit from greener manufacturing? Meas Bus Excell 14(2):22–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mildenberger U, Khare A (2000) Planning for an environment-friendly car. Technovation 20(4):205–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nunes B, Bennett D (2010) Green operations initiatives in the automotive industry: an environmental reports analysis and benchmarking study. Benchmarking 17(3):396–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. OICA – International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (2019) 2016 Production Statistics. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  19. Orsato RJ (2009) Sustainability strategies: when does it pay to be green? Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, Basingstoke, HampshireCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Orsato RJ, Wells P (2007) U-turn: the rise and demise of the automobile industry. J Clean Prod 15(11–12):994–1006CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Porter ME (1998) Competitive advantage: creating and sustaining superior performance: with a new introduction. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Poynton S (2015) Beyond Certification. Dō Sustainability, Oxford. Accessed 30 Aug 2019
  23. Sarkis J (1998) Evaluating environmentally conscious business practices. Eur J Oper Res 107(1):159–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sedgwick D (2013) Global industry craves megasuppliers. In: Top Suppliers: North America, Europe and the World, Supplement to Automotive News, June 17, 2013, p. 3. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  25. TMNA – Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (2016) Toyota Green Purchasing Guidelines. September 30, 2016. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  26. Toyota (2016a) Sustainability Data Book 2016. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  27. Toyota (2016b) Toyota Green Purchasing Guidelines. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  28. Volkswagen AG (2014) Sharing the challenge: sustainability in supplier relations. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  29. Volkswagen AG (2015) Sustainability Report 2014. Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  30. Volkswagen AG (2016) Volkswagen Group requirements regarding sustainability in its relationships with business partners (Code of Conduct for Business Partners). Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  31. Volkswagen AG (2018) Empowering Transformation: Sustainability Report 2017. Volkswagen AG, Group Sustainability, Wolfsburg. Accessed 31 Jan 2019
  32. WRI, WBCSD – World Resources Institute, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (2011) Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard: Supplement to the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard. Accessed 31 Jan 2019

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EcoVadisParisFrance

Personalised recommendations