Collaboration drives innovation at Kia and the Soul EV’s high-performance battery pack is a good example—it’s the result of a three-year joint development program between Kia Motors Corporation and SK Innovation in Korea. But Kia also recognizes that its own future is dependent on a sustainable future environment, which it supports through corporate initiatives. Kia’s EcoDynamics Expedition, launched in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Ministry of Environment in Korea, gives teenagers opportunities to develop eco-friendly technology. Through environmental education and training opportunities, Kia hopes to nurture future leaders who will have concern for the global environment.
Since 2007, Kia Motors Netherlands and Kia Motors Sweden have been working with the German nonprofit organization Trees for Travel Foundation to plant jatropha trees in Mali, one of the nations worst hit by climate change. The trees contribute to environmental protection by curbing soil erosion and also create an income source for the local community, as jatropha fruit can be used to make biodiesel and soap. With the combined participation of all European Kia branches, 3.5 million trees were planted by 2012, and 5,000 local farmers each earned an extra 100 dollars, which is equivalent to 25% of their annual incomes.
The Green Advantage
Kia has been steadily building its eco-friendly reputation through its products and strengthening its image as a global corporate citizen. By turbocharging and downsizing engines, introducing hybrids like the Kia Optima, and working to electrify its fleet, Kia has significantly improved its fuel efficiency. Even after being forced by the U.S. EPA in 2012 to scale back overstated fuel economy ratings for several models, perception has been trending up, and real performance gains have been achieved. Kia has a greener profile than many other automakers, owing to the fact that it doesn’t sell fuel-thirsty pickup trucks in the U.S. market. And that may never be a disadvantage for Kia, as smaller, fuel-efficient cars become more practical to own, and automakers increasingly set their sights on emerging markets. One of the obstacles to making headway in those markets is lack of mobility, which is why Kia, wisely, has put this issue at the center of its CSR activities. Through its flagship Green Light Project, Kia has built schools, addressed malnutrition and disease, and donated vehicles to enhance mobility in transportation-disadvantaged communities. A social outreach approach that is fully aligned with its core business, the Green Light Project and its programs aim to resolve local challenges, win stakeholder trust, and have an obvious benefit for Kia: new customers.
Kia's Social Responsibility
Kia Soul EV
Kia Soul EV gains environmental certification