The Global View

Nissan: how to shrink a 158Mton carbon footprint

footprintNissan has today released its 2008 sustainability report, a 140 page epic outlining all parts of the Japanese car giant’s CSR initiatives. Thankfully, it has a contents page so you can skip straight to the interesting bit on environment.

That said, there is still 32 pages to wade through with very little, aside from an only semi-accidental stapler injury, to distract you.

So, here are the highlights:

  • As a global automaker, Nissan takes active steps to gauge the impact of its business on the environment and to minimize such impact. As our ultimate goal, moreover, we seek to reduce the environmental impact caused by our operations and the usage of Nissan vehicles to a level that can be absorbed naturally by the Earth.
  • All companies in the Nissan Group worldwide, including production sites, sales companies and affiliate companies, have been introducing environmental management systems to promote environmental activities.
  • At Nissan’s main global production plants and R&D centers, we have been introducing ISO 14001. Today 16 of 18 production companies, which include Nissan and its consolidated manufacturing affiliates, have obtained ISO 14001 certification. Our basic policy is to establish environmental management systems according to the same standards whenever we expand our business into new areas
  • Nissan’s CO2 emission levels:

Production = 2,200kton; Logistics = 895kton; Use of vehicles = 155,000kton; Offices etc. 124kton

  • It is not enough for environmental technology to aim for CO2 reductions alone. To be truly sustainable, technological development must also take into account such factors as basic performance and cost, and must have the potential for broad acceptance… Our goal is to turn the challenges posed by CO2 emissions into opportunities for Nissan.
  • In line with the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, we believe that if society at large can stabilize atmospheric CO2 at 550 parts per million, it will help prevent average temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. To achieve this, we calculate that the “well-to-wheel” CO2 emissions of new vehicles in 2050 will need to be reduced by 70% from 2000 levels.
  • As part of Nissan’s efforts to enhance the fuel efficiency of gasoline engines and reduce CO2 emissions, it has developed a new 1.5-liter gasoline engine and the electronically improved Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) system for the Note 2WD. This gives a 6% improvement in mileage compared to the earlier models, at the same time allowing us to achieve a recoverability rate of 95%.
  • Nissan is targeting the introduction of gasoline-powered cars that reduce CO2 emissions to levels equivalent to hybrid vehicles by 2010, starting in the Japanese market. The aim is a car that can run for 100 kilometers on just 3 liters of gasoline.
  • To increase transportation efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions, Nissan has been promoting a modal shift from truck to maritime and rail transport.
  • Nissan is working on a global basis to reduce or completely do away with certain substances in all new models launched from July 2007 onward: heavy metals including mercury, lead, cadmium and hexavalent chromium, in-cabin volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants.
  • We are reconsidering the adhesives and other substances used in the seats, door trim, floor carpets and other parts of our vehicle cabins, with the aim of reducing VOCs. In Japan, we have reduced the cabin concentrations of 13 substances in all new models from 2007 onward to levels below those permitted by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. This puts us ahead of voluntary moves within the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association to meet government guidelines.