city vis 2 (f).gif (17902 bytes)The automotive industry is undergoing a
transformation, perhaps greater than that which followed the oil crisis in the seventies.
Its suppliers are also feeling this change and recognising the need to become more
environmentally friendly, equipped to meet the needs of ever more stringent environmental
legislation and better informed customers.

The Government is promoting an integrated
transport strategy and discussing the introduction of laws, which will make it illegal to
scrap a car in any way except through Government approved recycling yards. The motor
industry appears to support this move and so must take action to ensure that its products
are capable of being recycled easily, cheaply and efficiently to meet Government targets.
Nearly all new and proposed environmental legislation is going to have a financial impact
on the automotive trade and its suppliers.

Most automotive companies are focusing on
minimising the environmental impact of their operations and are setting up systems, often
including their suppliers, to ensure that all environmental effects are monitored and
controlled. For example:

  • Rover has all of its sites certified to the
    Environmental Management System (EMS) standard ISO14001 and now plans to have the
    ‘majority’ of first tier suppliers certified to ISO14001 by 2000;
  • Ford is committed to achieving global
    certification to ISO14001 by the end of 1998 and its Jaguar Group has set a target for its
    350 top-tier suppliers to be working towards certification to ISO14001 by the end of 2000;
  • Vauxhall has three sites certified under the
    Eco Management and Audit Scheme

Toyota, with interesting lateral thinking,
has developed genetically engineered trees which absorb carbon dioxide, the principal
greenhouse gas, more efficiently. A case of changing the planet to meet the product,
rather than changing the product to meet the planet. Toyota is also accredited to

This is an interesting approach. However,
developing and maintaining a system to identify and control environmental effects (such as
an EMS) is probably a more effective first step and vital to improved environmental

An EMS such as ISO14001 allows
organisations to assess how their business activities interact with the environment by:

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  • bringing together information on activities,
    products and services;
  • understanding the environmental aspects of
    business activities;
  • breaking down environmental information and
    data into manageable components;
  • analysing the information collected;
  • prioritising areas for activity to improve
    overall environmental performance.

Although there is a cost associated with
implementing an EMS, most companies have seen rapid payback through efficiency measures
and reducing waste costs.

For assistance with any environmental
issues please contact: Chris Burgess or Malcolm McKenzie-Crawford, Bristol, +44 (0) 117
984 2805