A panel discussion sponsored by The Coalition for a Triple Bottom Line in Collision Repair, which includes AkzoNobel and a number of other prominent industry leaders, was held during NACE | CARS 2016. This program marked a milestone in the road to bringing awareness and entrenching sustainability and sustainable business practices into the collision repair industry.
“Opportunities in the 21st Century” included panelists Erick Bickett of Fix Auto, Kevin Gardiner of AAA SoCal and Dr. John Sutherland of Purdue University. It was moderated by Michael Shesterkin with What’s Next, a sustainability consulting group headquartered in Detroit. The session explored how the collision repair industry is poised to play a vital role in the movement toward sustainability.
“Stakeholder engagement and cross-industry collaboration as seen in this panel is a hallmark of the movement toward sustainability,” said Doug Holmberg, business director for AkzoNobel Vehicle Refinishes North America. “For more than 10 years, AkzoNobel has been a leader in the sustainability movement in vehicle refinishes and a champion of the need for industry stakeholders in North America to work collaboratively on the solutions necessary to achieve it. By working together on the seemingly intractable problems faced by today’s collision repair industry, such as what can be done to lower total economic losses, we will find solutions that lead to a sustainable existence.”
Using total economic losses – due to rising industry numbers – as a focal point for opportunity, the panelists discussed why repairing vehicles, rather than salvaging them, creates meaningful work for people, reduces negative environmental impacts, and generates profits for shop owners and other industry stakeholders. These benefits are linked to the concept of the circular economy, which is characterized by the idea that preserving manufactured goods and keeping them from entering the environment as some form of waste is directly connected to how society will operate in the future.
The panel concluded that finding solutions will take work from multiple stakeholders, including repairers, insurance providers and OEMs. It also calls for a new view of the industry called the Triple Bottom Line (TBL), referring to people, planet and profit. This simple model provides an easy way of understanding sustainability and what can be done to achieve it.
AkzoNobel’s four-year top ranking on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index demonstrates the company’s commitment to embed sustainability into all areas of its business. The company has set ambitious targets for 2020, including: 20 percent of revenue generated from products that are more sustainable for customers; 25 to 30 percent more efficient resource and energy use across the value chain (as measured by cradle-to-grave carbon footprint reduction); and improvements in employee engagement, as measured by the annual Gallup survey.