GM’s Al Hildreth: ‘We’re Collecting Data and Sharing Best Practices’

GM’s Al Hildreth: ‘We’re Collecting Data and Sharing Best Practices’

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 11:35am


The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) has formed a new advisory group to represent the automotive industry’s expertise in environmental sustainability.

Al Hildreth, global energy manager for General Motors, says the group will monitor environmental sustainability issues that impact the industry as well as encourage the development of common definitions, metrics, and benchmarking.

The group evolved from a call-to-action more than a year ago, says Hildreth, when AIAG was looking at green house gas reporting. “We realized that there was some information out there on the automotive industry’s use and emissions in energy, water, gas, and so forth, but there was not a common understanding of the metrics,” he explains. “Several OEMs and suppliers decided to come together as a group to develop common metrics, which will lead to benchmarking and sharing of best practices.”

Hildreth says that some facilities are benchmarked well, such as assembly plants’ energy use. “But there isn’t much environmental information linked to other manufacturing or individual processes,” he says.

The new AIAG group, called the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Group, will identify projects based on their strategic advantage to the industry. ESAG will report to AIAG’s Corporate Responsibility Steering Committee. Hildreth says ESAG will also verify that overlap does not exist between the GHG Reporting Group and the Environmental Sustainability Performance Metrics Group, as well as its subsidiary workgroups such as the GHG/Energy/Water Subgroup, the Air Emissions Subgroup, and the Waste Subgroup.

The primary scope of the group is to provide education and information regarding the basic tenets of Environmental Sustainability to OEMs and the global supply chain. Its secondary mission is to eliminate member effort and investment redundancies across industry associations working on ES initiatives.

ESAG will begin by sending out requests for data to 10 companies on a pilot basis. “We will see how that goes, refine our questionnaire and process, and then send out another request to a group of about 400 selected AIAG members,” he says. “We are looking to collect a great deal of data.”

In addition to gathering data, ESAG will:

  • Serve as an industry think tank
  • Build alliances with related organizations
  • Recommend new projects to the CR Steering Committee and AIAG
  • Identify potential new members, training, events, and alliances to support the committee’s purpose
  • Provide automotive representation at ES-related meetings and other groups
  • Provide technical advocacy for governmental and regulatory engagement

Hildreth says ESAG could use some more supplier volunteers. “We’ve got good representation from the OEMs, but we really need to cover the gamut with more Tier 2 and 3 suppliers,” he says.

In other CR-related news, Hildreth says he is particularly excited about the upcoming CR Summit on April 9 & 10 at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan. “The last two years, we have made an effort to reach out to members for their content ideas for the summit sessions,” Hildreth says. “With this year’s call for papers, we received a very good cross-section of ideas, and we selected from these to create our Summit sessions.”

Hildreth says the Corporate Responsibility Summit has grown in participants each year, and that points to the continuing focus on CR as well as the relevancy of AIAG’s summit content thus far. “I have met several automotive people focused on CR at the AIAG CR Summit and made contacts that have helped GM in our work in this area,” Hildreth says. “Our goal is to provide the industry with additional tools in their toolbox to follow the key trends and issues in CR, particularly the best practices.

“When I leave the Summit with best practices that I can use in my day-to-day job, it’s obvious that the event was worth my time,” he adds.

The article originally appeared in AIAG’s newsletter. It is reprinted with permission.