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A Look Back at 2015

AIAG’s CR advisory committees and working groups are composed of members and subject matter experts who remain committed to building a corporate responsibility portfolio that addresses the sustainability issues — both social and environmental — that are impacting the automotive industry, and they have been exceptionally busy in 2015. Here is a look back at some of this year’s accomplishments.

Supply Chain Knowledge Assessment and eLearning
The AIAG supply chain sustainability guidelines, assessment tools, education, training, and other collateral materials are designed for companies of all sizes to meet and exceed sustainability performance expectations. AIAG recommends companies get started with these tools, which are available in six languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Turkish, Italian, and German.

  • Supply Chain Sustainability eLearning is a free online course highlighting the fundamental principles of responsible working conditions, including an overview of child labor, forced labor, freedom of association, harassment and discrimination, health and safety, wages and benefits, working hours, environmental responsibility, and business ethics
  • The Supply Chain Sustainability Knowledge Assessment is also a free online assessment based on the Automotive Industry Guiding Principles to Enhance Sustainability Performance in the Supply Chain. It includes terms and knowledge common to the automotive industry and is designed to help on-board employees who have been assigned to champion their company’s sustainability efforts.

2015 Corporate Responsibility Summit
AIAG’s 2015 Corporate Responsibility Summit was the place to learn how to integrate corporate responsibility into business strategy. The popular annual event, held April 29-30, 2015, at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan, featured keynotes, breakout sessions, and networking as well as displays from about 15 exhibitors.

Companies are experiencing increasing responsibility for the conduct of their supply chain, a recurring theme from key speakers at AIAG’s 2015 Corporate Responsibility Summit was the importance of collaborating with peers, supply chain, and government on environmental issues such as material compliance, environmental impact, and social conduct. One especially well-received session was Dr. Andrew Hoffman’s “How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate.” Dr. Hoffman is Holcim (US) professor and director of the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute. 

“There was something for everyone on this year’s agenda,” says Lecedra Welch, program manager, environmental sustainability, “and the growth in attendance at the Summit — 29 percent from 2014 to 2015 — points to the continuing focus on CR.”

Globally Harmonized System (GHS)
AIAG’s Globally Harmonized System (GHS) Work Group joined forces with the internship program at Purdue-Calumet University to create an easy-to-use reference document to help chemical manufacturers, mixture companies/blenders, and distributers comply with OSHA’s new GHS Safety Data Sheet and label requirements.

Representatives from 10 AIAG member companies — a coalition of OEMs and suppliers — joined forces to develop “The ABCs of GHS Compliant Safety Data Sheets & Labels,” a compliance tool to make the transition from MSDS to SDS more efficient for the industry. “AIAG’s goal was to consolidate the information that was scattered through the Internet in various unrelated databases into one, user-friendly guide,” says Welch. This guideline will also help users generate an SDS from public information and assist in creating GHS labels, Welch adds.

IMDS & Product Chemical Compliance Conference
Nearly 240 industry professionals convened at AIAG’s annual IMDS & Product Chemical Compliance Conference on October 13-14, 2015 to learn how to stay ahead of supply chain risk related to regulations on chemicals and other substances of concern. Speakers at this popular event included OEMs, suppliers, and consultants who are experts in the field of chemical compliance.

Common themes among the sessions and networking were the need to communicate the North American perspective to other regions globally, the need to implement industry best practices on a global scale, and the need for more volunteers.

Rainer Kurzknabe, who has been involved in IMDS from the beginning in 2001, joined the OEM/supplier panel. Kurzknabe manages the data input for Dupont Europe’s polymer businesses, and is also active in several industry groups, including the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) and PlasticsEurope.

Conflict Minerals Industry Briefing IV
In August 2015, AIAG presented its fourth Conflict Minerals Industry Briefing in two three-hour sessions—repeated in morning and afternoon sessions — that provided greater understanding of the drivers that shape the automotive industry's due diligence for compliance with conflict minerals reporting.

Speakers representing OEMS, suppliers, the U.S. State Department, and a leading NGO shared updates on U.S. and European legislation to help companies gain insights on the factors affecting their customers’ conflict minerals requests.

Quantify and Report GHG Emissions in the Auto Industry
Each year, OEMs around the world request GHG reporting and qualitative information from hundreds of business partners to help compile and determine their carbon footprint and prioritize action plans for reduction activities. The challenge is that many suppliers do not have sufficient staff or resources to handle the multitude of customer and external requests for GHG emissions information. 

The complimentary event was offered in May 2015 to increase supplier awareness and knowledge related to calculating and reporting GHG emissions. Training provided by AIAG’s GHG work group instructed suppliers on the GHG emissions accounting and reporting process.

Inaugural AIAG Governance & Ethics Professional Series
On December 9, 2015, AIAG members will have a rare opportunity to hear from legal professionals who have extensive experience working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the US National Security Agency (NSA), and the US Department of Justice (DoJ). Discussion at this inaugural networking event—which may become a series—will focus on automotive industry issues such as NHTSA recalls, litigation, antitrust enforcement, and cybersecurity. Seating is limited, so register soon at www.aiag.org.

Speakers include three partners at Mayer Brown: Mark. W. Ryan, former Director of Litigation, Antitrust Division, US Department of Justice; Rajesh De, former General Counsel, NSA; and Erika Z. Jones, former Chief Council, NHTSA.

For additional information on AIAG’s Corporate Responsibility initiatives, visit www.aiag.org or email cr@aiag.org.