With the automaker's much-flaunted commitment to carbon neutrality, its recent advertising blitz of green commercials, and it's award-winning Ioniq electric vehicles (EVs) claiming to have "sustainable materials applied throughout", Hyunday wants you to believe it is a global leader in sustainability and the EV transition. But the reality couln't be further from the truth :
Despite its claims of "leadership in electrification", 94% of Hyundai's total sales in 2022 still consisted of fossil fuel vehicles.
Hyundai claims it is "neutralizing CO2 emissions at all stages of production and operation" but a 2022 report revealed that Hyundai under-reported its vehicle lifecycle emissions by 115%, the highest among the world's top 9 automakers.
Despite its claims about "sustainable materials", Hyundai has made no progress on phasing out the coal-based steel used in its vehicles. Research shows that the air pollution from South Korea's three coal-fired steel plants, one of which belongs to Hyundai, could cause an estimated 19,400 premature deaths by 2050 under a business-as-usual scenario. In a recent evaluation, Hyundai scored just 8% for its efforts to eliminate fossil fuels and other environmental harms from its steel supply chain.
Hyundai claims it intends to buy "green" aluminum from Adaro in Indonesia but fails to mention that this aluminum will be produced by building a new coal-fired power plant. The Lead the Charge Leaderboard also scored Hyundai just 6% on fossil-free and sustainable aluminum.
Hyundai says that its Ioniq EVs showcase "materials that take care of people." But reports have revealed both child labor and forced Uyghur labor in Hyundai's supply chain. Hyundai scored just 13% in the Lead the Charge leaderboard for its efforts to eliminate human rights abuses from its supply chain.
If Hyundai is serious about its commitments to carbon neutrality and "a sustainable future in which all mankind can live safely and healthily", then it needs to rapidly accelerate its transition to EVs and take immediate and meaningful action to ensure that they are made with an equitable, sustainable and fossil-free supply chain.
We urge Hyundai to prioritize responsible sourcing of materials, such as steel, aluminum, and batteries, by working with suppliers that uphold high environmental and ethical standards. Additionally, we implore the company to reduce emissions throughout the supply chain, set ambitious targets for emission reduction, and increase the usage of renewable energy sources to minimize its carbon footprint.
We are calling on Hyundai to :
Accelerate its phase out of fossil-fuel vehicles and full transition to electric vehicles.
Set ambitious, 1.5 degree-aligned targets to decarbonize its steel, aluminum, and battery supply chains - including by setting annual low-carbon and zero-carbon purchasing targets and by joining multi-stakeholder initiatives such as SteelZero and the First Mover's Coalition.
Commit to no new coal capacity being used in its supply chain and to rapidly phasing out existing sources of coal across its supply chain, with all new investments supporting fossil-free production of steel, aluminum and batteries.
Implement robust and comprehensive human rights due diligence policies to identify, prevent, mitigate, and remedy human rights risks and abuses across its supply chain, from mining to manufacturing. These should address the salient risks of its growing EV supply chain, including those related to transition mineral sourcing and to Indigenous Peoples' rights.
Ensure workers' rights are respected in its supply chain by negotiating Community Benefit Agreements with the communities where Hyundai has made investments and ensuring third-party monitoring on workers' rights in its supply chain.
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