July 21, 2004
Global cooperation needed to make transport sustainable
Detroit, Michigan – Global cooperation, complemented by further technology advances, are needed to limit the adverse social and environmental impact of motor vehicles and to enable transport to fulfill its vital role in the development of modern society. These are some of the findings of Mobility 2030: Meeting the Challenges to Sustainability, a report released by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
The report was developed by 12* global automotive and energy companies who have worked together over the past four years, under the sponsorship of the WBCSD, to assess the sustainability of their products and to envision the future of mobility, with special focus on road transport.
The report defines sustainable mobility as “the ability to meet the needs of society to move freely, gain access, communicate, trade and establish relationships without sacrificing other essential human or ecological values today or in the future.”
According to the report, if current mobility trends were to continue, social, economic and environmental costs worldwide would be unacceptably high. However, those costs can be avoided if society as a whole focuses on the achievement of seven goals set out in the report.
The report says that mobility can be made sustainable. However, this is beyond the capabilities of any one company, one industry or one country to resolve, and will require cooperation and effort from every level of society. The report identifies no “silver bullet” solution. In addition, it says some mobility challenges will take up to half a century to resolve, but action should be started now.
“Mobility 2030 is intended to be a catalyst,” said Tom Gottschalk, General Motors Executive Vice President and a project co-chair. “The challenges to sustaining mobility are significant, but they can be met over time, provided society supports constructive approaches and solutions and encourages real understanding and cooperation among stakeholders.”
The report’s seven goals include: ensuring conventional emissions from transport are not a significant health concern anywhere; limiting greenhouse gas emissions from transport to sustainable levels; significantly reducing traffic-related deaths and serious injuries worldwide; reducing transport-related noise; mitigating traffic congestion; narrowing the divide in mobility opportunities that exists between and within different societies and regions of the world; and preserving and improving existing mobility opportunities.
Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda, Honorary Chairman of Toyota, and also a project co-chair, said of the report’s findings, “The key to sustainable mobility on a global basis will be achieving it in the developing world. Fundamental to achieving this is the need to narrow the mobility opportunity divides that exist within countries as well as between the world’s poorest countries and the developed world.”
*The companies involved in the project include BP, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hydro, Michelin, Nissan, Renault, Shell, Toyota and Volkswagen. GM, Shell and Toyota have served as co-chairs of the project, in which over 200 personnel from the various companies have participated.