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Auto Giants: Hold Suppliers Accountable for Failing to Uphold Human Rights and Shifting to Fossil Free Operations

By Erika Thi Patterson, Auto Supply Chain Campaign Director, Public Citizen’s Climate Program

I live in what many consider the land of the automobile (and traffic). That’s right – I call the perennially sunny, palm tree-dotted, and notoriously congested streets of Los Angeles my home. Like many Angelenos, I spend a lot of time in cars or watching other people driving cars. 

In the last 5 years, I’ve watched a sharp uptick in electric vehicles (EVs) on our freeways and city streets. In a city known for the signature thick haze hanging over our skyline in every 90s film based here, seeing more EVs on the road gives me hope we’re making progress towards reducing pollution from transportation. 

But transforming our transportation system must be done right. As automakers bring more EVs to market, it’s crucial that they address the serious environmental and social harms throughout their supply chains.

Yesterday, Lead the Charge—a global coalition of civil society organizations calling on the top automakers to raise standards across their supply chains—released the first-of-its-kind Automaker Supply Chain Scorecard. This new report evaluates whether major automakers’ supply chains are equitable, sustainable, and fossil free. 

 Here’s a snapshot of the disappointing findings:

Check out the full scorecard here. 

Toyota—the world’s largest automaker—stands out for its abysmally low rankings on the scorecard and remains the biggest climate laggard of the automotive industry. Not only has Toyota made the least progress of all automakers on the EV transition (Battery powered EVs made up less than 1% of its total sales in 2022), it came in 5th to last overall on the scorecard for failing to adopt policies and processes to ensure its supply chain is responsible, equitable, and fossil-free sourced. 

  • Toyota does not disclose emissions or have emissions reduction targets for its steel or aluminum supply chains. 
  • Toyota has made baseline commitments on human rights, transition minerals, and workers’ rights, but its human rights policy does not include freedom to unionize and does not include a commitment to a living wage. 
  • The company also received a 0% on the category of Indigenous rights, as it lacks policies and processes to assess, prevent, or mitigate risks to Indigenous rights in its supply chain.  

Help us send a powerful message to Toyota and its competitors today. Demand that this auto giant adopt strong climate, environmental, and human rights protections, including policies to ensure the rights of workers and Indigenous Peoples’ right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent. Send an email now.

As one of the driving forces behind increased demand for battery minerals, it’s imperative that global automakers not only bring clean, zero-emission vehicles to market, but also leverage their purchasing power to build fossil-free, equitable, and responsible supply chains. 

Now is the time to accelerate the transition away from combustion engine vehicles and transform our transportation systems. Let’s keep up the pressure on automakers to demand they clean up their supply chains so we can cut emissions driving climate change, have cleaner air for our communities to breathe, and ensure that the communities and workers making the transition to zero-emission vehicles possible are protected!