Carbon Footprint calculation and sustainability reporting in the automotive sector

Customer: Superior Industries Europe AG

Category: Automotive

Date: June 2018

Company Website

Superior Industries Europe AG (formerly UNIWHEELS AG, hereinafter: Superior Industries Europe) has been a subsidiary of Superior Industries International, Inc. since 2017. Superior Industries International, Inc. is one of the world’s leading suppliers of aluminum wheels. Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, USA, Superior is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is included in Standard & Poor’s Small Cap 600 and Russell 2000 indices.

Dr. Wolfgang Hiller,

CEO Superior Industries Europe AG

“It was important to us to cover a reliable representation of our emissions. The cooperation with DFGE enabled the determination and analysis of valid greenhouse gas data. Based on the presentation of these and other indicators within a sustainability report, we now have a communication channel that validly communicates these measures (both internally and externally).”


The steadily growing requirements related to the transparent and credible disclosure of sustainable issues to major car manufacturers are also reflected in the upstream value chain. Increasing pressure is increasingly prompting carmakers to expand their extensive supply chain management regarding to sustainability-relevant measures and performances, and to make these stakeholders increasingly responsible. As a result, Superior Industries Europe is not unaffected by these developments.

On the one hand, the calculation of a Corporate Carbon Footprint (CCF) and the publication of a sustainability report should meet the rising external expectations. On the other hand, such measures are necessary in order to meet internal requirements and to derive potential for improvement on this basis. The initial goal was to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions of the year 2017 at all locations as well as the inclusion of the respective energy consumption, i. e. all Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions caused by the company should be covered.

The DFGE supported Superior Industries Europe in calculating its emissions. In the context of Superior Industries Europe, the challenge was due to the broad range of products, in particular in the adequate data collection for production-related greenhouse gases.

The high density of information must first be collected across all goods and bundled for a purposeful calculation. Often several departments are involved in this step, which is the reason why there are high requirements regarding an adequate communication and interaction.

Furthermore, the generated information related to the environmental impact of emissions as well as further measures and indicators of the sustainability performance of Superior Industries Europe should be presented succinctly within a sustainability report. The UN Global Compact (UNGC) membership was a suitable opportunity here in order to publish the companies’ sustainability performance as part of the so-called Communication on Progress (CoP).

In this context, the central challenge was also the adequate bundling and communication of relevant data that can only be captured by including several business units (e. g. human resources, production department, etc.). With approx. 13,000 participants, the UN Global Compact is one of the largest and most influential sustainability initiatives. An annual progress report will provide a transparent presentation of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption aspects and strengthen the UNGC membership as well.


Carbon Footprint and sustainability report create comprehensive transparency of the climate and sustainability management

The longstanding expertise of the DFGE in the field of life cycle assessment and carbon footprint calculation encouraged Superior Industries Europe to bring in an experienced partner for the CCF calculation, who supports the company in this project. The carbon footprint was done by using DFGE’s TopDown method. In a relatively short time, so-called hot spots (areas that cause high CO2 emissions) are identified. In further steps, these sensitive positions are examined recursively and iteratively in depth, so that reliable values with a relatively small error bandwidth can be calculated. The determined company-wide carbon footprint fulfills the requirements of international standards such as ISO 14067, PAS 2050: 2008 or the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG).

Related to the Sustainability Intelligence approach, the calculated Carbon Footprint could be used as data basis for CDP’s (formerly: Carbon Disclosure Project) Climate Change program as well as for the UNGC report. Supreme Industries Europe achieved a score of ‘C’ in the 2017 CDP rating. The reliable database of emitted greenhouse gases was used for the UNGC progress report (available here), in prior for the three environmental principles within that report. In addition, other collected indicators, such as energy and water consumption, have been disclosed for the communication of other environmentally relevant values. For the social part (in particular occupational safety), data on occupational safety training, work-related accidents, number of employees, etc. were identified and aggregated into suitable indicators for the UNGC progress report. Besides that, the existing Code of Conduct has been used as evidence of respecting human rights and for anti-corruption measures.


Disclosed greenhouse gases and published sustainability report as a basis for continuous improvements and for the development of sustainability targets

The existing base of collected key figures in the environmental and social sector as well as the various disclosures allow Superior Industries Europe an increased flexibility in particular with regard to the increasing stakeholder requirements at various levels. The determination of CO2 emissions within a carbon footprint and the publication of the first sustainability report also form a valid basis for the definition of further goals in order to improve the companies’ sustainability management. In turn, CSR management can evolve dynamically and risks can be prevented.

DFGE will continue to support Superior Industries Europe in its CSR engagement over the next few years in order to accompany the path of continuous progress in a targeted manner. In this context, the expansion of the Corporate Carbon Footprint with relevant Scope 3 emissions, the determination of a Product Carbon Footprint for alloy wheels and the expansion of the database in connection with the UNGC report play an important role.

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