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FISITA Forum Circular Economy: Event Overview

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

On 7 July 2022, FISITA held its fourth Member Forum, an exclusive event for technical experts from organisations around the world to meet with peers and participate in important technical and strategic dialogue regarding the technology of mobility.

Hosted by EDF, the Forum focused on carbon neutral mobility solutions of the future, ensuring that automakers, suppliers, energy providers and start-ups explore cleaner processes, from sourcing sustainable materials through to adapting certain production processes.

The FISITA-led event welcomed experts from Renault, Ford and Toyota, who each provided their own unique insight into the relevant challenges and opportunities within the circular economy. Collectively, industry leaders promoted the sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling of materials, which has quickly become the focal point for any successful automotive business.

The subject matter aligned with FISITA’s continued focus on carbon neutral mobility and follows the organisation’s previous events and technical webinars in this area, including ‘Clearing the air; creating a path to sustainable mobility’, ‘Ways to Carbon Neutral Mobility’ and ‘Sustainable Mobility for All’.

Identifying key challenges and opportunities

Moderated by Remi Bastien, Delegate General and Treasurer of FISITA, Honorary Chairman of NEXT MOVE and member of the Shift Project, and Yves Schlumberger, Mobility and Territories Program Manager at EDF, the Forum acted as a platform for industry-defining presentations, addressing the near- and long-term challenges and opportunities faced by businesses operating in the automotive, mobility and energy sectors. Key areas of discussion included ‘Power-to-X’ technology, carbon capture, energy optimisation and sustainable leadership.

Carmen Munoz, Downstream R&D Director at EDF, opened with a keynote centred on the company’s circular economy goals, aimed at building a net zero energy future through innovative solutions. She highlighted key areas of focus for companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint in Europe, including designing new services to help communities achieve net zero, building and operating generation assets and developing low-carbon energy innovations. Carmen also shared EDF’s achievements since 2020, including the deployment of 100,000 charging points and 5,000 smart charging points in Europe, while laying out the company’s ambitious goal of becoming a leader electric mobility by 2023.

Debbie Mielewski, Technical Fellow, Sustainability and Emerging Materials at Ford, delivered a keynote on ‘the drive toward greener materials and sustainability,’ which explored the success of innovative new materials that have been developed to meet the stringent requirements of new-generation automotive components while significantly reducing weight and environmental impact.

Realising the importance of establishing a circular economy, Debbie highlighted different areas of Ford’s own sustainability strategy, including the research and development of natural materials that exceed the performance of traditional plastic composite materials, through higher heat, vibration and sound-absorbing performance.

The Ford Technical Fellow provided an insight into Ford’s sustainability partnerships over the last five years, including a collaboration with McDonald’s that converted coffee bean skin into car parts. This not only improved Ford’s environmental footprint, but also played a pivotal role in bettering the performance of the headlamp housings of the Lincoln Continental car; the material saved one pound per vehicle and had a 20oC higher heat performance capability, a perfect material enhancement match for heat-generating bulbs. Debbie also discussed Ford’s partnership with HP, launching an industry-first injection moulded part made from 3D printing waste powder, and implementing parts made from 100% ocean fishing nets on the new Ford Bronco as a response to address ocean plastic accumulation.

“Some 300 tonnes of plastic waste is produced every single year, with more than a million marine animals dying from plastic pollution, and we are ingesting 70,000 micro plastic particles every year, which amounts to eating a credit card every week,” said Debbie. “It takes 500-1,000 years for these plastic materials to decompose, so the industry must do something about it. With rising sea temperatures and carbon dioxide levels, it is imperative that we have workshops like the Forum so that we can put our collective brains together and do everything we possibly can to take care of our planet.”

Debbie then joined a panel discussion with Sophie Schmidtlin, CTO for Circular Economy Business at Groupe Renault, Solène Le Bourdiec, Project Manager for Circular Economy at EDF and David Fillon, Industry 4.0 and Manufacturing Support and Development General Manager at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France. The panel explored energy saving and CO2 reduction for both OEMS and energy providers, as well as the importance of reducing environmental impact through a closed loop ecosystem and smarter waste management.

The Forum ended with a final Q&A from the audience, allowing the audience to seek specific insight into a range of topics and share their own views and opinions on the changing landscape of the mobility sector.

“This year’s Forum offered attendees exclusive insight into how businesses can best enable their own circular economy, highlighting innovative practices from experts at leading automakers, suppliers and energy companies,” said FISITA CEO, Chris Mason. “Like all of our events - online or in person, around the world - this is just the start of an ongoing conversation between our members on such a critical topic, utilising a high-level of collaboration and knowledge sharing to propel businesses forward onto the technology of mobility world stage.”

Following the success of the event, the findings from this year’s Forum will contribute to the development of the Circular Economy Output Paper, which will be available in September.

Keen to learn more about carbon neutral technologies? Join FISITA and the world’s leading automotive and mobility brands and technologists at the following events:

- FISITA Technology Discussion on Carbon Capture and Utilisation on 22 September, online

- The FISITA World Mobility Summit on Carbon Neutral Mobility - From Cradle to Grave on 17 October, Paris


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