Lead the Charge 2024 Leaderboard reveals the automotive industry’s decarbonisation progress and shortcomings

  • Lead the Charge 2024 Leaderboard Report evaluates 18 global automakers on sustainability and human rights.
  • US automakers, led by Tesla, show significant progress, outpacing European counterparts.
  • Ford secures top spot with a 42% score, highlighting the need for a collective industry commitment to ethical supply chains.

The Lead the Charge Leaderboard 2024: The Race to Cleaner Automotive Supply Chains

Lead the Charge, a figurehead campaign for an equitable emobility transition, revealed its 2024 Leaderboard in a live webinar today, 27th February 2024. 

Compiled by Pensions & Investment Research Consultant (PIRC), this annual report assesses 18 global automakers, dissecting their efforts to eliminate emissions, address environmental concerns, and eradicate human rights violations from their supply chains. The collaboration presents the results in an overall Leaderboard. Lead the Charge simultaneously unveiled an analytical report: The Race to Cleaner Automotive Supply Chains.

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Ford secures top spot

Ford secures the top position with an overall score of 42%. The ascent from its second-place standing in the previous year underscores the impact of Ford’s strategic investments in forging a sustainable and responsible global supply chain.

Bob Holycross, Vice President, Chief Sustainability, Environment and Safety Officer, Ford Motor Company, commented:

“As we continue to advance our commitment to a carbon neutral future, our global supply chain is a critical part of the equation, and working with credible third parties helps us drive continuous improvement globally.

We’re honored to be recognized by Lead the Charge Coalition as the top global automaker for our efforts to build a supply chain that is good for people and the planet, reflecting Ford’s purpose to help build a better world.”

US manufacturers surge ahead

A noteworthy trend emerging from the 2024 analysis is the surge of U.S. automakers. This was led by the remarkable strides of Tesla, which jumped from 9th to 3rd. The report underlines the steady advancements within the US sector, with an average score of 31%. That means US automakers are outpacing their European counterparts at 28%. This shift prompts contemplation on the potential overhaul of industry dynamics, with U.S. automakers posing a challenge to their European peers.

Sustainable supply chains

The report paints a sobering picture – no automaker has yet breached the halfway mark in constructing a sustainable, equitable supply chain. However, the report suggests that substantial improvements are within reach if companies emulate the best practices observed.

A major area for concern, and a focus of the live launch webinar, was sustainably sourced steel. Caroline Ashley, Director of SteelWatch, made it clear that the industry must change. She explained that for every tonne of steel produced, around 2.3 tonnes of carbon emissions are released.

However, major manufacturers such as Volvo are calling on the steel industry to improve. The industry has made some progress in transitioning away from traditional carbon-emitting blast furnaces and onto hydrogen alternatives. These sustainable plants show promise but are yet to be widely implemented. 

Human rights in the supply chain

In the realm of human rights, the industry garners a modest average score of 21%, reflecting a marginal increase from the prior year. Notable standouts include Ford, which excelled in responsible transition mineral sourcing with an impressive 86%. 

Despite points of progress, the report issues a stark call to action. Automakers are found wanting in addressing Indigenous Peoples’ risks in their supply chains, with a dismal average score of 4%. Similarly, workers’ rights remain a concern, with only Ford and Mercedes scoring above 50%, and the industry witnessing stagnation in overall improvements.

With the emobility transition comes changing demands on the supply chain. As such, workers rights and the rights of indigenous people must be included in every manufacturer’s decarbonisation strategies.

The 2024 Leaderboard Report serves to navigate the industry through its achievements and pitfalls. It asks the global automotive industry to join the journey towards sustainable and ethical supply chains. The road ahead demands collective commitment, transparency, and concerted efforts to redefine the industry’s impact on the environment and society.

Find out more about the 2024 Leaderboard here – https://leadthecharge.org/scorecards-summary/

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