By John Chalifoux, president & COO, MERA – The Association for Sustainable Manufacturing
Much has happened in the automotive aftermarket since the start of the pandemic. First, we saw vehicle miles traveled — and sales — take a big hit. As we began to juggle disrupted supply chains and irregular work schedules, we experienced a rebound in sales and, more recently, inflation. To this day, the course of the pandemic has delivered a mix of prosperity and misfortune to so many of our hard-working aftermarket colleagues and their families. Yet one thing is for sure. Going forward, we all long to fully reconnect with the outstanding people in the aftermarket community. This year’s AAPEX is the place where that can happen!
Environmental, Social and Governance
During the pandemic, we also saw the growing popularity of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. As we move from a shareholder economy to a stakeholder economy, ESG is influencing investment and other decisions related to entire industries and individual companies. Now more than ever, it is important to communicate to key stakeholders how your company operates responsibly. You must demonstrate your commitment to environmental stewardship, positive social impact and sound governance.
Remanufacturing is sustainable by definition and responsible by design. The industry is the source of good jobs, and the high-quality, environmentally-friendly process plays a key role in a strong circular economy.
Any company involved in the making or selling of remanufactured goods is well advised to identify, measure and record positive contributions to their ESG rating. Remanufacturing is a sustainability process that can deliver greater societal benefits — particularly environmental — as compared to recycling alone. That’s why remanufacturing should always be considered before traditional recycling. Rather than taking something back to its raw materials so they can be used again at a later date — requiring energy and producing CO2 all along the way — remanufacturing restores existing products. Hence, remanufacturing is a higher-level circular economy process than recycling because it conserves embodied energy, materials and labor.
If your company is a player in the remanufacturing value chain, make sure you take the time to proactively advance your image and stakeholder interest in your company. Promote your activities in your annual sustainability report, on social media, or during your regular investor calls.
Remanufacturing Section at AAPEX
This year at AAPEX, any company involved in the making or selling of remanufactured automotive parts will have an excellent platform to promote, even increase, their ESG profile. Remanufacturers, core and component suppliers, distributors and retailers will be visible throughout the show. And many will be concentrated in the Remanufacturing Section (Level 2, Sands Expo) at AAPEX — a special gathering of remanufacturing-related exhibitors organized by the Auto Care Association and MERA. (AAPEX is co-owned by the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association – AASA, MERA’s sister organization.) Wherever your exhibit is located on the show floor, AAPEX is the perfect place to host key stakeholders and show how ESG is considered in your company’s overall performance.
Manufactured Again™ Certification
One way to increase your ESG profile with key stakeholders is with Manufactured Again™. It is a quality management certification program that holds remanufacturing to the same international quality standards as new manufacturing. Based on ISO 9001 and IATF 16949, it is where remanufacturing and new manufacturing pass the same test. So when customers see the quality seal on the box — or prominently displayed on a hang tag — they will know that they are receiving a quality part that is second to none. They will also know that your company is behind a program that promotes social responsibility, particularly environmental stewardship. And lastly, they will feel good knowing that the quality part they are about to install was produced using an environmentally friendly process.
Reconnecting at AAPEX
For all of us looking to reconnect, this year’s AAPEX is set to deliver. Personally, I have always viewed AAPEX as a great location and stage for, what I call, dynamic commerce. Like years past, we will see familiar faces, and we’ll have the opportunity to meet new business partners. As we all move forward with goals for our individual companies or the aftermarket industry as a whole, it’s good to know that today’s ESG environment presents a wonderful opportunity for all who make or sell remanufactured parts!