• Environmental impact from domestic production facilities falls, despite growing global sales
  • Kia’s domestic plants responsible for 46 per cent of total global production
  • 4.7 per cent year-on-year decrease in average CO2 emissions per vehicle
  • Water consumed by production facilities falls 6 per cent, year-on-year
  • 26.9 per cent per unit reduction in waste over the last decade

Kia Motors has announced today that the brand’s global vehicle production was greener and more sustainable in 2013 than at any point in the brand’s history, despite growing sales and production levels around the world.

Kia’s year-on-year global sales grew by 1.4 per cent in 2013 to 2,746,643 units, yet an ongoing focus on improving sustainability across the brand’s manufacturing facilities has led to a smaller environmental footprint.

Across the brand’s three major vehicle manufacturing facilities in Korea – Hwasung, Sohari and Gwangju – a focus on recycling, employee initiatives, greater investment, reducing unit waste and heat capture technology has yielded reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, water consumption and waste materials. Combined, these three facilities produced 1.31 million cars in 2013 – around 46 per cent of Kia Motors’ total global production – and 1.26 million engines.

4.7 per cent per unit reduction in production CO2 emissions

In 2013, Kia’s Korean plants increased production by 12,947 units, yet saw a 4.7 per cent reduction in CO2emissions per unit produced (29.4 kg per car), and a total drop of 30,507 tons to 788,000 tons. Total CO2reductions in 2013 amount to the annual carbon intake of around 30.44 million pine trees.

Total energy consumption was also reduced by 3.7 per cent (618 terajoules) to 15,930 terajoules, a reduction of 596 megajoules per vehicle produced. This was achieved by minimizing unnecessary use of equipment and machinery across all manufacturing sites to curb emissions.

Kia has also announced its intention to achieve ISO 50001 certification across all global production facilities. Established in 2011, ISO 50001 is an international standard on corporate energy conservation planning and implementation. Kia’s Gwangju plant was ISO 50001-certified in 2012, and the Sohari and Hwasung facilities – as well as overseas production sites – are due to follow, which will result in tighter management of energy consumption.

Water consumption slashed

Reducing water consumption is a priority for Kia Motors, as Korea is classified as a potentially water-scarce country, with only a tenth the annual per capita rainfall of the global average.

In 2013, Kia Motors’ total water consumption at the Hwasung, Sohari and Gwangju plants decreased by 305,000 m3 from the previous year to 6.17 million m3 – a 6 per cent year-on-year reduction in per unit consumption, and a 30 per cent drop since 2003.

This has been achieved by ongoing facilities investments and upgrades, including initiatives to improve cooling tower overflow and increase the rate of water recovery from condensed steam produced during manufacturing. Employees in all facilities are also encouraged to adopt water-saving habits at work and in the home.

26.9 per cent reduction in factory waste over 10 years as recycling rises

2013 saw a 3.6 per cent year-on-year reduction in waste output, with 8,399 fewer tons of waste produced than in 2012 – an 8kg, 4.6 per cent year-on-year reduction in waste for each Kia model manufactured in Korea. This also represents a 26.9 per cent per unit reduction in waste output compared to a decade ago.

Of the 221,937 tons of waste produced in 2013, 93.3 per cent was recycled (including 10,381 tons of steel, representing a 5 per cent year-on-year increase in the steel recycling rate, equivalent to 494 tons). This is the result of new streamlined waste management systems aimed at identifying greater opportunities for recycling waste materials. A consistent effort to curb waste output at all sites has also proven successful.

Waste materials that are not reused or recycled are buried or incinerated, with landfill waste totalling just 1 per cent of all factory waste. The Sohari manufacturing facility, which has a production capacity of 340,000 cars per year, has generated 0 per cent landfill waste since 2008.

Kia Motors is committed to pursuing effective innovations and improvements to production processes to continue to further reduce its impact on the environment. The company’s efforts in this regard, along with the commercialisation of alternative powertrain technologies and the use of recyclable and eco-friendly materials in its vehicles, have been recognized by Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy,  who included Kia on its 2013 list of Best Global Green Brands in 37th place.

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