Car production and sustainability
The German automotive industry is aware of its responsibility throughout the entire cycle of a car’s production and use: from the selection of materials, via production in Germany and fuel-efficient operation to closing the materials cycle at the end of the life cycle. It is constantly researching ways of further optimizing production processes and materials with a view to husbanding resources. A large proportion of the 30 billion euros the German automotive industry invests every year in research and development is invested at home. This puts it in the forefront. In the past two decades, German motor manufacturers have achieved significant successes in the use of natural resources in automotive manufacturing. For example, the consumption of potable water for each vehicle manufactured has fallen by more than 60 percent during this period. More than 80 percent of manufacturing waste these days is recycled. In air quality as well, the German automotive manufacturers have achieved considerable economies. Since 1990, solvent emissions arising from vehicle spraying have fallen by 65 percent. Today, they are the lowest by international comparison. The figures prove that German motor manufacturers and their suppliers have an exemplary environmental protection record.
Environmental regulations in Germany are among the toughest in Europe. Eighty percent of German environmental regulations now originate in Brussels. Often however there, is no European harmonization of environmental law and so, in passing EU directives into German law, the screw is tightened yet further. The year 2014 saw the start of preparations for the European process of reviewing and adapting so-called best available technologies (BAT) for vehicle spraying (“surface treatment using organic solvents”). This is a highly relevant process as BATs are the basis for deriving emission limits. The German automotive industry is very well placed here in a European comparison. What is critical is that there be no further tightening of the emission limits originally calculated and defined at EU level when passing them into German law.