Main circular economy strategies in the European automotive industry

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2021)


automobile manufacturing processes., Circular Cars Initiative, Circular Economy


Main circular economy strategies in the European automotive industry

María Hortensia Lacayo Ojeda
Jorge Armando Juárez González

Today, the global automotive industry confronts a great transition. According to The Circular Car Initiative, the world automotive industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire European Union on an annualized basis, and roughly 20% of these emissions are directly attributable to manufacturing. While the shift towards battery electric vehicles will decrease use-phase emissions substantially, in the short term, it could also increase manufacturing emissions. In Addition to that, batteries and accumulators not collected separately enter the municipal waste stream and are either sent to landfills or incinerated.
Nevertheless, the automotive industry has long been at the forefront of innovation, particularly when it comes to manufacturing processes and materials management. Today, with concerns mounting over the environment and high materials costs, automakers are turning toward circular integration as a mean to not only initiate sustainability programs, but also create jobs and save costs. So, the automotive industry is committed to making European Union’s economy more efficient by pursuing a circular economy approach.
In this approach, the car manufacturers use materials that have been obtained by sustainable means, with lower social and environmental impacts, and equivalent or superior performance to existing materials and search on closed-loop recycling and second-life use of components is even supplemented by partnerships with other industries.
The aim of this research is to analyse the main strategies that the automotive industry has set up to change from a linear economy to a circular economy. To reach this objective, firstly the circular economy will be explained, secondly the Circular Cars Initiative will be described and lastly, the main strategies of the European automotive industry to become circular will be analysed and some assembly enterprise cases will be studied.
Key words: Circular Economy, Circular Cars Initiative, automobile manufacturing processes.

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