Corporate / Design & Technology

Staying sustainable May 30th, 2014

People are noticing how much effort Kia puts into staying green and sustainable. Recently, Kia, along with its sister company Hyundai, was named the greenest automaker in the U.S. in an annual ranking of the eight top-selling automakers made by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), an independent nonprofit organization. The rankings are based on carbon and smog-forming emissions from each automaker’s vehicles, and we came out on top because of the green technologies incorporated in our vehicles that reduce environmental impact. This recognition follows Kia’s entry onto Interbrand’s list of “50 Best Global Green Brands 2013” in 37th place.

The bigger Kia worldwide operations get, the greener our vehicle production gets. Bigger yet greener? Indeed. We make it happen because we believe that sustainability points us to a greater and brighter future. Here, we break down the numbers for you on Kia’s continued efforts towards sustainability and lessening our environmental impact.

At Kia’s production plants in Korea, which are responsible for 46% of our global vehicle production, we saw a 4.7% decrease in average CO2 emissions per vehicle in 2013, in addition to a 6% decrease in water consumption at the facilities.

The three major vehicle manufacturing facilities, located in Hwasung, Sohari and Gwangju, South Korea, are committed to greater investment into reducing unit waste and recycling, in combination with employee initiatives and heat capture technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, water consumption and waste materials. In 2013, 1.31 million cars (46% of total production) and 1.26 million engines were produced at the three facilities.

<Aerial View of the Kia Hwasung Plant>

Energy & Greenhouse Gases

Because we understand that energy consumption is responsible for more thatn 80% of CO2 emissions in the world, Kia has undertaken multi-pronged efforts to cut CO2 emissions not just through greener technology inside our vehicles, but through better green practices within our manufacturing plants. In 2013, Kia’s Korean plants increased production by 12,947 units, yet saw a 4.7% reduction in CO2emissions per unit produced (29.4 kg per car), and a total drop of 30,507 tons to 788,000 tons. The total CO2 reductions in 2013 amount to the annual carbon intake of around 30.44 million pine trees.

Water Resources

Reducing water consumption is a top priority for Kia, as Korea is classified as a potentially water-scarce country, with annual per-capita rainfall of just 10% of the global average. Last year, Kia Motors’ total water consumption at the Hwasung, Sohari and Gwangju plants decreased by 305,000m3 from the previous year to 6.17 million m3—a 6% year-on-year reduction in per unit consumption, and a staggering 30% drop since 2003.

This feat was achieved thanks to ongoing facility upgrades, including initiatives to improve cooling tower overflow and increasing the rate of water recovery from condensed steam produced during the manufacturing process. Employees are also constantly reminded to exercise water-saving habits at work and in the home.

Waste management

New streamlined waste management systems identify greater opportunities for recycling waste materials, and whatever waste materials are not reused or recycled are buried or incinerated, with landfill waste totaling just 1% of all factory waste. In 2013, 221,937 tons of waste was generated at our three Korean plants, down 8,399 tons from 2012. 93.3% of the waste was recycled. In particular, the Sohari plant, which manufactures 340,000 vehicles a year, has generated zero landfill waste since 2008.

Maintaining a sustainable workflow in any sector plays a crucial part in protecting our environment and making the world a better place to live for the future generations to come. We are committed to looking for ways to lessen our impact on the environment whether it is through our facilities or vehicle production processes.