• economia

Study assesses carbon footprint of car making in Brazil


Over the next two years, the Center for Sustainability Studies (FGVces) at Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Sao Paulo School of Business Administration (FGV EAESP) and Campinas State University will work in partnership to assess the carbon footprint of small vehicle manufacturing in Brazil. The objectives are to:

  • quantify the impacts of automobile production, from the extraction of raw materials to auto assembly, i.e., from mines to the factory gate;

  • map the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions and the main reduction opportunities associated with them;

  • identify the main differences in relation to vehicle production in other countries (international benchmarking).

The research project is part of the Route 2030 program (more specifically Area 5: Biofuels, Vehicle Safety and Alternative Fuel Propulsion), coordinated by the Minas Gerais Federal University Research Foundation (FUNDEP). The work will be carried out in six stages, involving contributions from both the FUNDEP / Route 2030 technical team and an advisory committee, which will be made up of trade associations, companies and life cycle assessment specialists.

In order to assess carbon footprints and understand the differences between each technology and production model, eight vehicles representative of the Brazilian auto sector will be evaluated: three vehicles featuring conventional internal combustion engine technologies and traditional production methods, and five featuring new technologies (electric or hybrid) and/or alternative production methods (using biopolymers and ceramics, and 100% made in Brazil).

Tool for decision making

As well as producing a complete, detailed and third-party reviewed study on the carbon footprint of the selected models, the project will result in the development of a sectoral tool for calculating carbon footprints.

In other words, any company in the automotive sector will be able to apply the tool individually in order to understand the impacts of its production on climate change and, based on this, establish a culture of efficient management of greenhouse gas emissions. To support this stage, the project will include training, capacity building and communication actions.

“We want this work to set the benchmark for research of this kind, to promote strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the public and business spheres, and to broaden the sector’s view of its supply chain from a perspective of innovation and understanding of the importance of climate change mitigation for Brazilian society,” says Mario Monzoni, FGVces’ coordinator.

Once the domestic production of small vehicles has been characterized, the project will also identify the main ways it differs from vehicle production in other countries.

Brazil’s automotive industry

Brazil is the eighth largest vehicle producer in the world and the sixth biggest automotive market. The sector accounts for approximately 10% of Brazil’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and half of this comes from passenger transportation.

Mitigating climate change is one of the commitments made by the Brazilian government in the Paris Agreement, which aims to achieve “climate neutrality” by 2050.

Accordingly, the “from mines to the factory gate” project combines the need for changes in the automotive sector’s production systems with the demand for more competitive markets, in which Brazil may have an advantage, given that its energy supplies are predominantly renewable. “We want to mobilize the sector around efforts to identify the limitations and potential of domestic industry, paving the way for vehicle manufacturing that can help reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions,” concludes Monzoni.

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