Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Queen’s aids in car industry research

Researchers from Queen’s University have played a key role in a major new report examining the sustainability of the car manufacturing industry.

The report found that Asian car manufacturers are outperforming their North American and most European competitors in their use of economic, environmental and social resources, and that some leading car makers are still not producing sufficient sustainability performance data.

Created by a team from Queen’s University Management School, alongside colleagues from the Euromed Management School Marseille and the Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT) in Berlin, the report provides a full account of the societal impacts of car production.

It includes issues such as the volume of greenhouse gas emissions from production facilities and the number of work accidents recorded by a company.

It also looks at how efficiently car manufacturers used key natural resources compared with their industry peers and how much profit or loss was generated with these resources.

Professor Frank Figge from Queen’s, one of the study authors, said: “Economic crisis, energy crisis, climate crisis and recent global developments have affected the automobile industry like few other sectors. Never before has it been as important for car manufacturers to employ their economic, environmental and social resources wisely — and efficiently.”

The study also shows the improvement potential a car giant like General Motors has in how it could improve its long-term performance.

GM achieved a sustainable value of minus €9.87bn, in comparison with BMW, which having used all the resources considered necessary to create value doubled its sustainable value to €2.8bn from 1999 to 2007.

Professor Figge added: “The bottom line is that this study reveals big differences in sustainability performance in automobile manufacturing.”

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