AkzoNobel, in collaboration with strategic partners from across the vehicle repair industry value chain, launched the Vehicle Repair Sustainability Challenge at a 24-hour event in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
The attendees included representatives from Allianz, Arval, Boekhorst Autoschade, Centro Zaragoza, Den Elzen Autoschade, Europcar Mobility Group, Grupo Velasco, Toyota, and The Vella Group, who agreed to join the initiative’s next phase.
Several “high-impact” exploration teams were formed, focused on three key topics – energy transition, process efficiency and circular solutions.
One of the six exploration teams will attempt to optimise and adapt repair manuals for body shops in an effort to increase repairability and circularity, while another will look into creating an academy to train automotive and repair companies to become more sustainable.
“We all have ambitious targets when it comes to addressing climate change, but it’s impossible for any of us to achieve them in isolation – collaboration is essential,” said AkzoNobel’s Commercial Director for Vehicle Refinishes EMEA, Ignacio Roman Navarro. “So, it’s been fantastic to see everyone come together, exchange ideas and make a real commitment to jointly explore what’s possible. I’m looking forward to seeing how we can take forward the challenges that came out of this programme as we strive to collectively accelerate our sustainability journey.
“This event was a great starting point for us to work together and make a tangible impact on our goals. It’s something we simply have to do and, ideally, further along the road we’ll be able to transfer what we’re doing to other regions, so they can hold similar challenges that will make a real difference to achieving our ambitions.”
Carlo van de Weijer, General Manager at Eindhoven AI Systems Institute, one of the event’s keynote speakers, said that when confronted with large societal problems, the industry must develop innovative solutions. “It means the whole vehicle repair value chain has to put more effort into innovation. We should also remember that tomorrow’s major breakthroughs nearly always start with what first seemed like yesterday’s crazy idea,” he added.
AkzoNobel has set science-based sustainability targets to halve its 2018 carbon emissions across the full value chain by 2030. The company said that achieving that aim relies heavily on collaborating with partners and challenging each other to find innovative ways to overcome the issues everyone faces. According to Navarro, that’s what the exploration teams will endeavour to accomplish.
“We’re off to a really encouraging start,” said Navarro. “The next step is our Discovery Day in April next year, where the teams will showcase potential solutions and our partners will officially sign up to be part of the implementation phase. That’s when the hard work begins – when we start doing what needs to be done to collectively reduce our carbon footprint, based on the exploration areas we’ve defined.”