Kia Corporation has set out its vision to become a sustainable, responsible and innovative mobility solutions leader, announcing a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. Kia announced its corporate vision at its ‘Kia Sustainability Movement’ virtual presentation recently.
Kia’s vision to become a sustainable mobility solutions provider reflects the company’s approach to sustainability, which is to create sustainable mobility solutions for consumers, communities and global society.
The Korean carmaker announced its plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, based on three key pillars including sustainable mobility, sustainable planet and sustainable energy.
These pillars will guide Kia in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions in all operational facets. These include supply, logistics, vehicle production and vehicle use through to disposal of waste.
By 2045, Kia plans to reduce 97 percent of the company’s 2019 level of carbon emissions. The company will attain carbon neutrality by implementing additional measures to fully offset its remaining carbon emissions.
Hosung Song, KIA CEO and president, said: “For us, it is not only about setting goals and reaching targets. It is about setting a vision that will inspire others to join the movement to benefit humanity and protect the environment.
“In line with our vision of becoming a sustainable mobility solutions provider, we commit to achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.”
Kia also previewed its Concept EV9 electric vehicle (EV) ahead of its AutoMobility LA reveal. This battery electric vehicle (BEV) concept embodies Kia’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality and follows on from the successful EV6 electric car. The EV6 was the first Korean car to achieve product carbon footprint certification from the Carbon Trust.
Full electrification in major markets by 2040
In-line with its Plan S strategy, Kia aims to fully electrify its vehicle line-up in Europe by 2035. From 2040, Kia’s line-up in key markets around the globe will also exclusively consist of electrified models, realising zero emissions during daily vehicle use. It is at this stage in the vehicle’s life where Kia will make huge strides in dramatically reducing the single largest culprit of carbon emissions.
Kia is also working with its suppliers to reduce carbon emissions from the parts supply stage. Kia aims to create a carbon emissions monitoring system for its partner companies by 2022 and will provide solutions to its suppliers based on the resulting data.
A key element to this plan is the use of ‘green steel’, steel produced in an eco-friendly process where the use of fossil fuel is minimised, as the steel industry has traditionally been one of the biggest global carbon emitters.
Protecting marine ecosystems and offsetting carbon emissions
Kia will initiate a ‘Blue Carbon’ project to proactively make a tangible contribution to preserving the environment instead of just reducing emissions to achieve its carbon neutrality target.
Blue carbon is carbon absorbed and stored in seaweed and mudflats effectively diminishing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The project will focus on marine ecosystems which are one of the most efficient absorbers of carbon.
To boost the amount of blue carbon, Kia will restore and preserve Korea’s coastal wetlands in collaboration with external partners. As a part of the endeavour, Kia plans to discuss specific project opportunities with Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.
To build a sustainable future Kia will also work with The Ocean Cleanup. They are a non-profit organisation developing and scaling technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. The organisation aims to use an interceptor that’s deployed in rivers around the world to prevent plastic trash from entering the oceans.
Kia also plans to create a resource circulation system. Kia will provide material support to the construction of the interceptors and will utilise plastic waste gathered from the river cleanup process and use the materials in vehicle production. Kia is planning to increase the company’s percentage of plastic re-use to 20 percent by 2030.
The company also plans to implement plastic recycling processes during the vehicle disposal stage. Once established, the process will increase the re-use percentage of used batteries and plastic.
Kia is also planning to conduct pilot projects on second-life battery energy storage systems (SLBESS) with external partners from 2022.
Achieving RE100 and zero emissions at all Kia business sites
Kia aims to achieve zero emissions across all aspects of its business, including all production sites, by 2045, after Hyundai Motor Group and its key subsidiaries announced their plan to join the RE100 initiative in July. Climate Group’s RE100 is an initiative to transition to 100 percent renewable energy in electricity generation.
For Kia’s overseas sites, all electricity will be sourced from renewable energy by 2030, and by 2040, that transition will be complete for all of Kia’s domestic business sites.
In line with Kia’s RE100 commitment, Kia’s Slovakia production facility has already turned to 100 percent green energy in electricity generation. To help accomplish this goal, Kia will actively transition to solar energy electricity generation for business sites in Korea, the US, China and India.
By continuing to improve the efficiency of production facilities, Kia aims to cut carbon emissions by one percent each year. To realise this reduction, Kia will implement innovations such as Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) technology. Kia will also transition all company fleet vehicles to electrified vehicles by 2030.