Can car brands make sustainability a competitive advantage?

Sustainability is a key factor in brand competitiveness, but recent research suggests automakers are not making the most of this. By Megan Lampinen

Sustainability has become a buzzword for automakers and suppliers, and the headlines are full of it: ‘Thumbs up for Infineum’s sustainability credentials’, ‘Aptiv recognised for sustainability’, ‘Volkswagen extends cooperation with independent Sustainability Council’. Almost all automakers have pledged targets like carbon neutral manufacturing before 2050, slashing fleet CO2 emissions or improved consumption of resources. And everyone is keen to convey just how strongly they have embraced the sustainability message within their core values.

This is not just good for the environment; it’s also good for business. “Sustainability is becoming a decisive factor for the competitiveness of companies around the world and across all industries,” says Eberhard Weiblen, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche Consulting. “Economic success and the transition to a sustainable society are mutually dependent.” While the corporate line is bold and bullish, just how well are industry players delivering on their sustainability ambitions, and will this result in a competitive advantage for those that get it right?

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