It all began with a question: What corporate responsibility issues will the automotive industry encounter over the next decade? In response to this inquiry, the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) has launched a survey designed to explore both current and emerging trends in corporate responsibility and sustainability (CR/S).
The first step in creating the survey involved qualitative interviews with a small number of individuals. AIAG reached out to influencers both inside and outside of the industry, as well as a sampling of other stakeholders to gather valuable feedback on budding and potential CR/S opportunities and challenges. According to Tanya Bolden, director - corporate responsibility products & services at AIAG, “These exploratory conversations provided the insight necessary to draft a full set of questions in preparation for the current phase of the process: rolling out the completed survey to the industry.”
After the initial communication with industry thought leaders, questions were strategically crafted to focus on three broad issues, and six specific issues. The former category includes “Transformational Change,” which refers to the impact of technological advances and consumer mobility behaviors on automotive product design, functionality, and use; “Global Business Drivers Impacting the Supply Chain,” which focuses on external global forces impacting CR/S in the automotive industry; and “Governance and Ethics,” which includes CR/S policies on environmental, social, and labor issues.
In addition to the more extensive categories, six specific topics also help guide, but not limit, respondents’ feedback. Survey takers are prompted to select two of the six issues, such as data reporting and management, CR/S in the supply chain, or product stewardship.
“This format benefits everyone,” Bolden explains. “Individuals taking the survey are able to respond to specific topics and questions based on their interests and areas of expertise, and AIAG gets the detailed input we need.”
While the primary goal of the survey is to collect data on future CR/S issues—which will influence proactive initiatives to begin addressing those matters—an additional charitable goal makes participation even more rewarding. For each survey completed, AIAG will make a contribution to UNICEF, an international organization benefiting global childhood education and humanitarian efforts.
Once all survey feedback has been received, results will be analyzed and used to conduct final interviews. These last round meetings will serve as an opportunity to gain further insights, clarify interpretations, and prioritize issues. Ultimately, survey results will be presented in a comprehensive report, which will be made available in advance for those who provide their e-mail addresses at the survey’s conclusion.
“This survey allows us to call on the collective knowledge and savvy of AIAG members and corporate responsibility professionals, and use that feedback to develop industry solutions,” Bolden concludes. “While we can’t say for certain what the future holds, we can absolutely use the resources and information at our disposal today to better plan for tomorrow.”