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Auto Industry’s Embrace of EVs Has Yet to Green Manufacturers’ Supply Chains

New Scorecard Finds Industry Behind in Embracing Greener Supply and Manufacturing Practices

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An analysis of 18 leading manufacturers launched today finds the automotive industry continues to heavily rely on a supply chain dependent on fossil fuels, despite growing commitments to manufacture cleaner electric vehicles (EVs). 

The auto supply chain industry Leaderboard, launched by a coalition of leading climate, environmental, and human rights organizations, was produced by analyzing publicly available information from the manufacturers and other sources regarding efforts to eliminate emissions, environmental harms, and human rights violations from auto supply chains. 

The findings show even the top-ranked automakers have significant room for improvement, with Toyota Motor Corp. ranking 5th to last among the 18 automakers in prioritizing green supply chains.

“As automakers bring more EVs to market, it’s crucial they address the serious environmental and social harms throughout their supply chains,” said Erika Thi Patterson, auto supply chain campaign director, Public Citizen’s Climate Program. “The majority of automakers have a long way to go to make their supply chains equitable, sustainable, and fossil free.”   

Among the most disappointing findings: only two automakers have made progress toward setting targets for use of fossil free steel. Nearly 75% of steel is currently manufactured in coal-powered blast furnaces and emits pollutants linked to increased rates of cancer, asthma, and other illnesses.

While many of the minerals needed for EVs are located within 35 miles of Indigenous lands in the U.S., no company has a publicly available, standalone Indigenous Rights policy. Mining for many of the minerals needed to build EVs depends on practices that, when performed without proper remediation, can lead to significant health harms. 

“As consumers start picking between EVs on the market, they’ll want to know the cars they’re buying aren’t fueling environmental harms or human rights abuses,” said Thi Patterson. “The industry’s vast and intricate supply chains have taken decades to develop. The work to transform them needs to start today.” 

The auto supply chain industry Leaderboard is a joint project by the “Lead the Charge” coalition. Members include Cultural Survival, Earthworks, First Peoples Worldwide, Industrious Labs, Investor Advocates for Social Justice, Mighty Earth, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Solutions for our Climate (SFOC), Transport and Environment (T&E), and The Sunrise Project. 

See the full scorecard here.