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Case Study: Honda's 2010 North American Environmental Report

Honda's environmental footprint and efforts being made to minimize the impact of our operations.

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Honda’s overall goal is to develop products with the lowest in-use CO2 emissions manufactured at plants with the lowest CO2 emissions intensity (emissions per unit of production).

Honda's environmental footprint and efforts being made to minimize the impact of our operations. It also includes a detailed review of the various technology approaches that Honda is taking to address global climate change.

Two key points from Honda's 2010 North American Environmental Report include:

  • American Honda's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) for model year 2009 rose 1 mpg to 31.3 mpg, a 3.3% increase from MY2008.
  • Waste to landfills from manufacturing activity was reduced 87% from the FY2001 baseline, with a goal of achieving zero waste to landfill for all our North American plants by April 2011.

In-use Energy Efficiency

The greatest opportunity to reduce GHG emissions from Honda products is to improve the in-use energy efficiency of those products.

In the case of automobiles, fuel consumed during driving accounts for an estimated 86% of life-cycle GHG emissions.

In May 2006, Honda established a series of voluntary targets to reduce the fleet-average CO2 emissions of its products and the CO2 emissions intensity of production operations, on a global basis, from FY2001 levels by 2010.

Green Transportation Climate Change Strategies

Honda's overall climate change strategies include specfic goals in several areas, including Powertrain, Body Design, Fuels, Stationary Source Emissions, and Logistics. Each area has specific goals and measurements to track progress.

Key metrics in Powertrains include process improvement using variable strategies such as variable cylinder management and variable transmission. Reduced engine friction and hybrid (HEVs) technologies and plug-in hybrids alongside battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell powertrains are new innovation strategies.

Body design benefits from lightweighting and aerodynamics.

Fuel innovation includes natural gas, biofuel and hydrogen.

Stationary Source Emissions can be reduced with cogeneration technology, manufacturing process improvement, and green buildings.

Logistics benefit from product and parts distribution with the application of EPA's SmartWay-certified trucks and deployment of diesel-electric hybrid truck technology. Route tracker technology promotes more fuel efficient operating habits by truck drivers and re-engineered delivery programs that include optimizing the volume of materials carried can reduce truck miles traveled.

Honda also uses Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to understand and improve the impact of its products and operations on the environment. Using the LCA framework, a company can minimize impact in virtually every aspect of a business.

Honda's Corporate Environmental Goals

Honda’s activities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico include some lofty goals:

Continue to reduce SOCs in Honda and Acura products where technically feasible and economically practical

Minimize the use of PVC in automobiles where technically feasible and economically practical

Maintain or improve new-product designs to facilitate dismantling for end-of-life recycling of materials and components with a Minimum 90% design recyclability for automobiles

Maintain or improve fuel efficiency of new Honda and Acura products to increase CAFE by 5% over 2005 levels by 2010

Advance alternatives to petroleum by improving the real-world appeal and practicality of electrically powered vehicles, such as fuel-cell electric vehicles, and supporting infrastructure

Maintain or improve the exhaust emissions performance of new Honda and Acura products by meeting or exceeding all applicable regulatory requirements for exhaust emissions performance

-- An interesting exception is this statement "All model year 2009 Honda motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, excluding competition models, met or exceeded EPA and CARB emissions requirements". These competition models are trend setters, aren't they -- with high visibility at "teachable moments"? Why not make them EXCEED compliance standards?

Honda power equipment and marine engines met the EPA’s more stringent Phase 3 exhaust and evaporative emissions standards beginning in January 2010

Promote ISO 14001 certification of tier-one suppliers to Honda by maintaining or increasing the number of ISO-certified tier-one suppliers in North America Promote more energy efficient operations within Honda’s North American supply chain Reduce CO2 emissions from the manufacture and transport of parts and materials supplied to Honda plants in North America. They have launched a Supply Chain Sustainability initiative, requiring suppliers to manage, collect and report on energy use

Environmental Management Third-party certification of Honda manufacturing facilities to ISO 14001:2004 certification standards

Reduce generation of waste material and increase recycling Reduce landfill waste (excluding mineral waste) 70% from FY2001 levels by FY2010 l Waste sent to landfills (excluding mineral waste) was reduced 22% in FY2010 from the previous fiscal year and 87% from the FY2001 baseline Make progress toward target: to achieve zero waste to landfill at all North American manufacturing facilities by April 1, 2011

Increase the supply and variety of remanufactured service parts Increase the number of remanufactured parts available for customer purchase Introduced 106 new remanufactured parts offerings

Reduce the flow of overstock and end-of-life parts into the wastestream Reduce the quantity of parts sent to landfills l Diverted an estimated 82,000 pounds of regulated materials (such as electronic waste) and 188,000 pounds of materials from overstock parts from disposal in landfills

Reduce energy consumption from administrative functions. Honda replaced single-purpose printer, copier and fax machines with more energy-efficient multifunction printers Initiated automatic shutdown and/or hibernation of associates’ PCs and PC monitors when not in use Eliminated 140 physical computer servers in the U.S. Introduced energy-use-awareness activities at Honda Canada’s sales headquarters

Global Climate Change

Climate change is a complex challenge, a shared responsibility Addressing an environmental challenge as complex as global climate change requires the coordinated and focused efforts of industry, government and consumers.

Motor vehicle manufacturers and energy suppliers must work to provide consumers with products that support the goal of reduced GHG emissions (particularly CO2 as the predominant GHG generated by Honda products during their life cycle) while meeting customers’ expectations for product performance — including safety, utility, comfort, quality and reliability.

Consumers must be willing to purchase products that achieve lower GHG emissions.

Governments must adopt market-based policies that promote consumer interest in products with reduced GHG emissions and support the development and deployment of products with reduced GHG emissions and high fuel efficiency. In setting mandatory requirements, government programs should adhere to performance-based standards that give manufacturers the flexibility to pursue multiple near- and longer-term technological approaches to increasing fuel efficiency.

Read Honda's 2010 North American Environmental Report online.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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