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5 Ways to drive sustainability in automotive repairs

If we’ve learned anything from the last year, it’s that sustainability is the mega-trend that’s top-of-mind for legislators worldwide—not least in the EU.


In October, the European Council and European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on stricter CO2 emission performance standards for new cars and vans, a move that forms part of a wider bid by EU officials to reduce emissions by at least 40% before 2030.

Then in November, in a move to address so-called “greenwashing”, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) was adopted, a significant piece of legislation that will oblige – larger – businesses to regularly disclose information and data pertaining to their environmental impact.

The sustainability impact goes beyond manufacturers
These new regulations are having a big impact not only on automobile and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) but also on vehicle leasing companies and insurers.

This is because leasing companies can—and indeed, they are increasingly choosing to—take sustainability into account when putting their fleets together. Similarly, many insurers are now opting to work with businesses that can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability when it comes to sourcing repairs.

5 ways you can help to drive sustainability
The growth of sustainability awareness among consumers is a key driver of current sustainability trends. This, in addition to increasingly stringent regulation, has driven many industries to take a greener approach to the provision of their products and services.

This includes car manufacturers and body shops, which emit a wide range of pollutants and contaminants as a by-product of their processes. These can not only be harmful to the environment but also problematic for human health, with certain volatile compounds having a particularly negative impact on customers, employees, and the wider community.

There are proactive steps that these businesses can take to contribute towards sustainability initiatives and objectives, though.

1. Adopt a smarter approach to repair distribution
It’s typically the case that fleet vehicle repairs are allocated to random body shops based on distance, without knowing if that repair matches the body shop profile/ specialisation. Although this can be somewhat convenient for fleet managers, it can be highly inefficient and unsustainable.

The closest body shop isn’t guaranteed to be the best option and there are many factors that can influence this, such as whether the shop has the right tools and equipment available to carry out your repair, or whether the shop has a mechanic that has been trained in fixing the make, model, and type of vehicle that needs to be repaired.

Dynamic distribution means moving away from the traditional approach (one-size-fits-all distribution) of settling for the closest body shop and instead accounting for these other factors.

2. Work with specialised body shops
On the subject of having the right equipment and experience, working with specialised body shops is always going to be a more sustainable option that organizations should give careful consideration to when distributing their repairs.

It’s not just the case that working with specialized and experienced body shops could lead to lower costs and quicker repairs, but also more sustainable ones. This is because specialized body shops will generally have the skills, tools, and equipment necessary to repair rather than replace, resulting in fewer parts unnecessarily being disposed of.

3. Build sustainable partnerships with body shops
Organizations should focus on working closely with body shops that meet certain sustainability standards.

Examples of such sustainability standards might be the adoption of “circular economy” practices by body shops, their commitments to reporting and offsetting carbon emissions, and only using materials and equipment (for example modern paint cabines) that are environmentally friendly wherever it’s possible to do so.

4. Educate drivers on sustainable practices
Educating drivers—whether they’re customers or employees—on sustainable practices can help instil positive attitudes and driving practices, such as conducting preventative maintenance and monitoring tire pressure, tread, and wear.

Although these might seem relatively trivial in the grand scheme of things, it’s collective action that makes the biggest difference. Studies have shown that green and eco-driving practices can reduce an individual’s fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.5%. Such practices can also reduce vehicle wear, leading to fewer repairs being required in the first place.

5. Improve your visibility with technology
The digital transformation has led to the development of endless solutions that can help organizations make their operations more sustainable.

It’s possible, for example, to use technology to improve visibility over the automotive supply chain. Tens of thousands of parts are used in the average vehicle, and technology is making it possible to track where these components come from as they make their way through the supply chain from supplier to consumer.

Digitisation enables sustainable repairs
There has already been a great deal of digital innovation taking place in the automotive space that’s currently helping automotive businesses and other stakeholders involved in the automotive value chain, including leasing companies and insurers, to make more informed and sustainable decisions.

One such example of this innovation is the Repair Distribution Suite by Openclaims, an intelligent SaaS solution that can help leasing companies and insurers optimise their vehicle repairs in a way that’s efficient and sustainable.

The Repair Distribution Suite enables users to create, and even generate actionable insights in creating, rules for distributing repairs to the most suitable automotive repair specialist. As well as benefitting from the operational improvements that come with an instant, clear view of best-available repair options, users can make their operations more sustainable by choosing to build relationships with green suppliers and repair specialists.

The Repair Distribution Suite also adds value through the supply chain by enabling insurers to optimise costs, repair quality, and simplify the end-to-end repair management process. If you would like to learn more about the innovative Repair Distribution Suite, get in touch with the Openclaims team today!