Hyundai cleans up cars and the ocean in sustainability drive

09 March 2022

sustainability cars

Car companies are increasingly expanding their sustainability efforts, with Hyundai Motor extending its partnership with green organisation Healthy Seas to tackle marine pollution. The carmaker wants to use the nylon found in recycled fishing nets to equip its vehicles with more sustainable products.  

The alliance, part of Hyundai’s circular-economy strategy, aims for three big clean-ups in 2022 in Europe and Hyundai’s home market, South Korea. The cooperation also focuses on educational events, primarily geared towards schoolchildren, to spread the word about marine preservation and how to prevent pollution in the seas.

Sustainable car products

The parties first struck up a partnership in 2021, collecting waste from beaches, and recovering abandoned fishing nets – known as ghost nets – that cause the continuous death of marine animals. The collaboration sees Hyundai use recycled nylon from fishing nets to produce floormats for its Ioniq 5, a midsized all-electric SUV.

‘What the partnership achieved last year was an extraordinarily positive first step,’ said Michael Cole, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor Europe. ‘Now, in 2022, I am very excited by the ambitious scale that Hyundai and Healthy Seas have with its plans to protect our marine environment for future generations.’

Healthy Seas launched in 2013 and works with 250 volunteer divers, as well as 1,250 fishermen and fish farmers. The organisation is active in six regions, including the Pacific Ocean, the North, Baltic, Mediterranean, Red, and Adriatic Seas. Last year, it recovered 188,500kg of fishing nets and other wastes. Healthy Seas said around 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear is lost or abandoned every year.

Zero-emission cars

In 2021, Hyundai supported Healthy Seas’ diving expeditions to recover ghost nets in the Netherlands, Italy, the UK, Spain, and Germany. Those activities helped retrieve more than 78 tonnes of marine waste. Following last year’s achievement, Hyundai wants to ‘solidify’ the collaboration and broaden its scope by also organising a clean-up mission outside of Europe.

‘For Hyundai, as a purpose-driven company, sustainability is not just a trend but a societal need. Through our partnership with Healthy Seas, we can leave a positive effect on the environment as well as local communities,’ added Cole.

While Hyundai customers in Europe can already opt to furnish the Ioniq 5 with sustainable floor mats, in 2022 this will be taken to the next level. The carmaker said it would expand regenerated material to more Hyundai vehicles, with these products also making their way to the company and its partners to be used as carpets, employee merchandising and branded gifts.

Clean mobility

The automotive company said it would use its expertise in clean-mobility solutions to help Healthy Seas operate sustainably ‘through the use of zero-emissions cars, and the ongoing investigation in search of the right technologies and most sustainable solutions.’

This comes after Hyundai last week announced plans to scale up its electrification efforts, targeting annual sales of 1.87 million battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2030. The automaker plans to launch 17 new BEV models by the end of the decade, including 11 Hyundai models and six for its luxury brand, Genesis. During its latest investor day, Hyundai also announced it would invest around 19.4 trillion won (€14.5 billion) in its electric-vehicle business.