NOVI, Mich.—Following the realignment of its business unit structure last year and the recent restructuring into an independent company under the umbrella of the Rehau Group, Rehau Automotive is now emerging as a torchbearer for sustainability.
"We want to become one of the first climate-neutral suppliers in the world," said Rehau Automotive CEO Marcus Distelhoff.
The company has set a road map marked with clear milestones, designed to reach this goal by 2030. By 2025, the auto supplier aims to have switched to climate-neutral alternatives to produce the energy required for production worldwide. By 2030, only balance-neutral raw materials and materials will be used by the company.
The first step will see the company switching to electricity from renewable sources for its global production by 2022. Rehau said it initially will buy certificates to meet its initial goal, but will follow that up by starting to generate its own energy from renewable sources, for example through the use of solar power, wind power and heating with renewable raw materials. Talks on various projects and cooperative ventures, for example with farms, cities and municipalities, are already underway.
Another pathway is through the increased use of recycled materials. These are currently not able to be used everywhere because of demands from auto makers related to surface quality issues, although their application in non-visible parts such as carrier components, look promising.
Transport and logistics processes are another area where there is much to be gained.
"In the past, people looked at where labor costs were lowest and that's where everything was transported to. This is different today. The CO2 impact is gradually flowing into our calculations. Energy efficiency and sustainability now also play a role in our customers' decisions to award contracts," Distelhoff said.
Rehau Automotive first analyzed its own production network in detail and has reorganized it to reduce logistics routes, emissions and costs in line with the "everything under one roof" philosophy.
When Rehau Automotive was restructured into a new business unit, it was given more autonomy to become more agile and competitive. These days, sustainability is an integral part of that.