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Green Kia factories improve emissions

Green Kia factories improve emissions

There is a groundswell of opinion which says that fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions should not be the only factors taken into account when deciding if a car is 'green' – a view fully supported by Next Green Car.

The energy needed to make it and its fuel, and the number of parts which can be recycled at the end of its life, are also factors that should be taken into consideration when determining a vehicles true lifecycle environmental impact. Such considerations make our Green Car Ratings more valuable.

This is an issue that Korean car manufacturer Kia also supports. From the start of the design phase, all new Kia models are subject to a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to minimise their impact on the environment.

In 2008, Kia launched a socially responsible management initiative designed to put the environment at the forefront of all its operations. Among other things, the company set out to develop economical and alternatively powered vehicles, reduce factory emissions and waste during production, improve recycling technologies and introduce green marketing and sales systems whilst always being open and honest about the eco-friendliness of Kia products.

Kia has received both internal and external recognition for its efforts. Using an internal environmental performance indicator, which measures CO2 emissions and the amount of resources used against sales revenue, Kia made a 40.1% improvement between 2004 and 2010.

Kia's plant in Slovakia was certified in 2008 as an 'environmentally-friendly' facility, earning an ISO 14001 International Certificate of Environmental Management. The plant uses cutting-edge technology to ensure that production and waste-management have minimal environmental impact.

The Picanto, Rio, Optima and Sportage models have also been awarded environmental certificates. The low tailpipe emissions from all four cars and the advanced processes used in their production have resulted in the models being certified according to the ISO 14040 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). All newly-developed Kias now meet recyclability and reusability standards in Korea, Europe and China.

The amount of waste, greenhouse gases and environmental pollutants produced at Kia factories is monitored so that improvements can be made, and the heat they create is also recycled. Waste taken to landfill sites in 2010 was less than 1% of the total generated, and large plants in Korea have sent absolutely no waste to landfill for the past two years. In 2010, nearly 94% of the waste created at the three main Korean plants was recycled.

Kia has also reduced the amount of water used in the building of each car by 27% in the past seven years, and has achieved a steady decline in the greenhouse gases resulting from production since 2005, and company standards on environmental and atmospheric pollutants are higher than those demanded by the Korean government.

Looking further into the future, Kia is researching ways of increasing the amount of shredded material from scrapped cars for recycling from 85% to 95%. The company has also developed a manual on how to safely dispose of the high-voltage lithium-ion batteries from the hybrid and electric vehicles that will soon be used in volume production.

Next Green Car agrees with these philosophies – the tailpipe emissions from a vehicle are only part of the true story. Local air quality will benefit from lower tailpipe emissions, but the overall true impact on the environment of a vehicle will be determined by the production process and source of the fuel used. These issues are taken into account when calculating our Green Car Ratings, therefore allowing all models and all technologies to be comparable on a single scale.


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