Kia Motors Corporation has made significant progress in reducing the environmental impact of its production facilities, according to the company’s annual ‘MOVE’ sustainability report.
The Korean car manufacturer’s ongoing efforts to introduce more environmentally sustainable production methods have, over the past one year, resulted in lower greenhouse gas emissions levels, less waste and reduced water use across its domestic production sites. These have been achieved with a strong focus on recycling, employee sustainability initiatives, reducing unit waste and cleaner, more modern production methods.
Kia’s domestic plants, located in Sohari, Gwangju and Hwasung, Korea, accounted for 56.5 per cent of all Kia global production in 2015 – 1.72 million units. While the company’s year-on-year global sales grew by 0.3 per cent in 2015, to 3.05 million units, the ongoing focus on sustainability across the brand’s manufacturing facilities has minimised the environmental impact of this growth.
Kia’s focus on improving production methods has resulted in a 12.4 per cent per-unit reduction in the volume of raw materials required since 2014 and a 21.5 per cent reduction since 2003. This includes a 22.1 per cent drop in the amount of steel needed to produce each individual car, as well as an 11.7 per cent drop in the consumption of paint throughout the same period since 2003.
As a result of this push for greater efficiency, Kia has recorded a 1.2 per cent reduction in per-unit waste output since 2014 – and a 30 per cent decrease since 2003. In 2015, the three domestic production sites generated a total of 233,442 tons of waste, down 0.2 per cent from the previous year despite the growth in production. Meanwhile, recycling rates have risen, with the company finding alternative uses for 93.7 per cent (219,000 tons) of all waste materials. For instance, unused zinc-coated steel is sent to steelmakers in Korea, while uncoated steel can be recycled for use at the foundry in Kia’s Gwangju facility. Kia has also introduced programs to recycle and re-use paint and thinners, while other waste is being used to make cement for construction, as well as other materials.
Waste materials that can’t be reused or recycled are incinerated or buried, with landfill waste totalling near 1 per cent of all factory waste. The Sohari manufacturing facility, with a production capacity of 340,000 cars per year, has generated 0 per cent landfill waste since 2008.
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