Edison Energy recently sat down with Aaron Mason, Head of Automotive Partnerships at Manufacture 2030 (M2030), to discuss its people-driven emissions reduction platform, tackling decarbonization of the automotive industry’s supply chain, and the power of collaborative action.
Meeting the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement will take some heavy lifting on the part of industry. That includes the automotive sector, which is in the hot seat to not only decarbonize through fleet electrification, but also to reduce its carbon footprint by way of its supply chain. But according to a recent Kearney report, the automotive industry is set to overshoot the IPCC’s 1.5-degree pathway by at least 75 percent by 2050.
Today, passenger vehicles account for 15 percent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally, which means that automotive manufacturing and its supply chain will need to significantly slash GHG emissions by decade’s end. Can we get there?
Sustainability platform Manufacture 2030 (M2030) believes it can play a leading role when it comes to decarbonization solutions, empowering manufacturers and suppliers to cut emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030 through bold, collaborative action.
“The best way to explain what we do is a three-pillar strategy, which is measure, manage and reduce,” said Aaron Mason, Head of Automotive Partnerships at M2030. “These three pillars underpin our strategy for delivering measurable action throughout our client’s supply chain.”
Clients seeking to decarbonize their supply chains must first identify baseline measurements via data provided by their suppliers, starting with a specific year. M2030 assists in collecting that data by way of suppliers inputting their energy usage information onto M2030’s platform.
“The key reason we’re doing that measure piece is because we want to get them to the reduction piece, which is future-focused,” Mason said. “So, when they’re looking at hot-spot analysis, they know what’s pulling the most energy in their manufacturing process and at which sites. If it’s a large supplier with 200 sites, they may have five of them that make up those hot spots and then we know where to focus and manage the energy.”
Today, the largest carbon footprint stems from energy used to manufacture the batteries, steel and iron, and aluminum used in vehicles, with steel, iron, and aluminum representing 40 to 60 percent of GHG emissions in passenger vehicle supply chains, according to the report.
Measures to decarbonize manufacturing operations include reduction in emissions in material production, reduction in the amount of material used, or using alternative, lower-impact materials Several technologies currently exist to tackle production emissions, including carbon capture, electrification and clean hydrogen. However, these technologies remain costly.
The reduction phase serves as the foundation of M2030’s platform, says Mason.
“We are a reduction platform, which is a key differentiator that sets us apart from a lot of the climate tech in the industry right now,” he said. “Everybody is doing standards, ratings, and data, but we only do that to a certain degree to get to the reduction piece. We built the platform for the super mature to be able to show their progress, and for the less mature companies to get started quickly, which is when we start talking about the next 5 to 10 years around sourcing decisions on products that go into these vehicles, which will be based on the science-based targets being set. The sourcing decisions within supply chains are going to hang on this.”
Inside the platform
Once clients get to the reduction tools on M2030’s platform, they are provided with an opportunity to build a reduction roadmap, with the database offering best practices around everything from shifting from metal halide light bulbs to LED, to onsite solar projects and VPPAs.
“We deliver a program of ‘measure, manage, reduce’ to OEMs in a shared cost model,” Mason said. “They’re paying a program fee annually with M2030 and then their suppliers will pay a reduced fee per license per site. It’s almost like the OEM is saying, ‘Yes, we need the data, but even more than that, we need our Scope 3 to be reduced.’ They’re coinvesting in the reduction of that supply chain, and we’re the liaison between them. We’re helping OEMs reduce Scope 3 by helping all of their suppliers reduce their Scopes 1 and 2, and that’s what we do on a daily basis.”
M2030’s platform enables customers to dive in and see where their suppliers are when it comes to reductions and roadmaps. For mid-level suppliers just starting on their decarbonization journeys, the platform provides opportunities for them to hit the ground running without too much heavy lifting.
That’s where the platform really adds value to customer supply chains, according to Mason. Suppliers can go into the platform and click on a button that reads, “Easy Wins,” which offers up dozens of low-effort projects that they can implement at the facility level.
The platform then walks clients through the type of carbon, energy, water, or waste savings that they’ll see, enabling them to use the platform as a project management tool for each one of those projects internally.
“I always say that we are a software as a service business, but we also have a team of experts behind M2030 who help build decarbonization roadmaps – from climate action managers to amazing partnerships on the implementation side,” Mason said. “With implementation, we would connect the supplier with one of our strategic partners like Edison Energy to ensure progress is made.”
Last year, Edison Energy and M2030 established a strategic partnership to help companies across the value chain reduce emissions. The partnership builds upon ongoing efforts between Edison and M2030 to help remove barriers for suppliers to reduce emissions across a variety of industries, including automotive, pharmaceutical, and consumer goods.
The partners recently unveiled the Accelerate℠ Auto Program, a $50 million fund for decarbonization efforts aimed at suppliers within the auto industry, launched with RENEW Energy Partners.
Click here to read the second part of our conversation with Aaron.
Senior Content Writer
My primary responsibilities include leading content development, creating thought leadership pieces with Edison team members and industry experts, and crafting client engagement & communications strategies.
I’ve been an investigative reporter for most of my career, covering New Jersey politics, social justice issues, education, and the environment. I also served as the communications director for an environmental organization in New Jersey. Most recently, I served as a renewable energy reporter covering a lot of the projects and initiatives that encompass Edison’s work. In fact, I DID cover Edison’s work!
I am the recipient of several journalism awards, including from the New Jersey Press Association (NJPA) and the Garden State Journalists Association. I have also been recognized by Montclair University’s Center for Cooperative Media, featured in Politico’s New Jersey Playbook, and have served as a guest lecturer at Rutgers University.
A successful journalist must have exceptional reporting and writing skills, a rapport with people from all walks of life, mega street smarts, superhuman tenacity and VERY thick skin. I’d like to think I’m bringing that to my work here at Edison!
B.A. in English - Rutgers University