by Groupe Renault

COP21: Our commitment to fight global warming

As a result of human activities, an excess amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is steadily warming the planet. It is a phenomenon that is driving climate disruption and has economic and social consequences that affect each and every one of us. We met with Jean-Philippe Hermine, Director for the strategy and environmental plan of the Renault Group, to find out more about the strategy we are implementing to reduce our carbon footprint.

The strategy we are implementing to reduce our carbon footprint

Keeping the temperature rise under 2° up to 2100 is necessary in order to preserve the planet's ecosystem. The recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to achieve this are clear: greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 40% to 70% by 2050.

The source of almost 14% of green-house gas emissions, the impact of the individual transportation sector on climate change is very apparent. Within the Group, and because we realised how much was at stake very early on, we cut our vehicles' fuel consumption by half over 20 years. We were the first to apply energy efficiency measures in our factories, to expand the use of renewable energies and to optimize our trucks' and containers' fill rate.

More recently, we have made the reduction of our carbon footprint a part of our strategic plan, with an objective of -3% per year per vehicle between 2010 and 2016. It is an ambitious objective because it corresponds to the recommendations of climate experts. Finally, with the electric vehicle, we have a positive solution for fighting effectively against the warming of the planet because it does not emit any CO2 during use and in the future its source of electric energy will contain less and less carbon. In addition, although the nature of the energy produced locally, which is necessary for charging the battery, has an impact, a strong trend can be observed where its carbon content is steadily diminishing.

At the end of 2014, renewable energies constituted 56% of new constructions internationally and 72% within Europe. In addition, the growing availability of electricity from 100% renewable sources to both companies and individuals will make a more “zero CO2” mobility increasingly possible.

The combination of factors such as the evolution of the energy mix, the public policies that support the building of infrastructure and the offer of energy providers can only result, in the future, in making electric vehicles essential to tackling climate problems and air quality in cities.”

REDUCING THE ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT OF OUR VEHICLES

For close to 20 years, Renault has founded its environmental policy on the management of the life cycle of its vehicles, from the extraction of the primary materials required for their manufacture to their recycling at the end of their lifetime as well as their production, distribution, use and maintenance.

In order to measure the reduction in the environmental impact of its vehicles, the Group conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on each new model.

This international ISO 14040 standardised methodology measures the five main potential impacts that a vehicle can have on the environment throughout its entire life cycle, including global warming and the depletion of natural resources, which are considered to be global impacts, the formation of low level ozone (or photochemical ozone), acidification and eutrophisation (pollution of aquatic ecosystems) as well as local impacts.

The results of the LCA show that Renault is reducing the environmental footprint of its vehicles from generation to generation. For example, there was a greater decrease in the impact of the Clio from 18% to 24% between two generations. The decrease in impact for the Twingo improved from 21% to 28%.

Further reading about COP21 initiatives in our latest CSR Newsletter

Tags: environment zéro émission