CLEPA | Innovating, cooperating, and achieving a future with safer roads

This week marks the 6th annual Global Road Safety Week, a time for society to reflect and be educated on an often undervalued concept of daily life. Under the patronage of the UN World Health Organisation, many stakeholders will take a concentrated stance this week to inform people and policymakers of new developments in road safety requirements, to prevent loss of life and the bereavement that devastates friends and families of people involved in fatal collisions.

in CLEPA, by Sigrid De Vries, 20-05-2021

This year’s road safety week coincides with the UN Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC) issuing its draft of the new Decade of Action (DOA), which, once finalised, will serve as the foundation for new policy guidance on road safety from 2021-2030. Great strides have been made in safety during the last decade, but more needs to be done to prevent unnecessary injury and loss of life on roads.

The UN will enter the new Road Safety Decade with expert allies to achieve its plan of action

CLEPA has recently joined the UNSRC, the consultative global mechanism whose goal is to facilitate international cooperation and strengthen global and regional coordination among UN agencies, governments, civil society and other international partners to implement UN General Assembly Resolutions on road safety. A draft plan of intended actions has been released for public viewing and interaction by the World Health Organisation and includes a list of resolutions under the Stockholm Declaration declaring the official goals of the DOA, intended approaches to encourage state and private entities to cooperate to achieve these goals, and state engagement to encourage standardising UN safety standards across the world.

Road safety is an aspect within national policies that rightly claims high priority, with figures to date showing over 3700 daily, or 1.35 million annual fatalities occurring globally. These incidents result in injury, emotional devastation, loss of life, and from an economic perspective, a 2010 study funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention placed an estimated global cost of road collisions at $1.8 trillion from 2015-2030.

The UN Road Safety Week hosts a range of online activities this year that are accessible to all, with educational webinars delivered by international entities such as the World Bank’s “Saving lives on the road through streets”, and “Road safety and security in the age of new mobility” brought by the International Transport Forum. In the spotlight, at this year’s Road Safety Week is the Streets For Life Campaign, which is calling for 30 km/h streets where people and traffic mix help prevent road traffic deaths and promote physical activity. The policy associated with the campaign has been derived from standard UN Safety Policy values and the Stockholm Declaration, with an open letter appealing to the public and policymakers to support it.

CLEPA and the UNRSC will strive for road safety in the next decade in cooperation with a diverse range of state representatives on an international scale, UN agencies such as UNECE, Development Banks including the World Bank, NGOs, academia, philanthropic foundations, and private sector to deliver the next DOA which aims to reduce global road deaths and injuries by 50% before 2030.

Technology and innovation are what bring these safety advancements to reality

The automotive supplier industry in Europe has been at the core of the technology innovations that have helped in making safety milestones to date a reality. Suppliers pursue a future of zero mobility-related road deaths through a roadmap encompassing a combination of technology, infrastructure improvements, regulatory initiatives, safety education, and cooperation between stakeholders and policymakers.

Early traditional approaches to road safety were focused primarily on vehicle technology and driver protection, rather than acknowledging that existing road infrastructure and other factors were also key contributors.

The “Safe System” perspective, rather, is used in modern strategies such as “Vision Zero” and holds every part of the road safety system accountable for collisions, while advocating for “forgiving infrastructure”, so that if one part of the system such as the driver, vehicle design, or road infrastructure is compromised in a potential incident, the other parts of the system can compensate and prevent an incident or minimalise impact. The adoption of this system and its universally recognised value both on the innovators and policymakers side of the fence has been instrumental in the success of global safety campaigns and must be employed to an even greater level of cohesion to keep the next DOA on track towards its goals.

Automotive suppliers hold road safety as a devoted priority and have delivered life-saving innovations in passive safety systems like seatbelts, and airbags, which suppliers are currently in the process of reinventing through more diverse testing procedures and crash impact simulations. Automotive innovators continue to astound through active safety system developments in areas like anti-lock braking, electronic stability control, blind-spot detection, lane-keeping assist, emergency braking and a range of other advanced driver-assistance systems.

As technology is developed and improved, society will see increased levels of automation and the active safety benefits associated with it. The mechanism of new car seating positions and new seatbelt requirements following the dawn of autonomous driving is something suppliers have anticipated and prepared for, where in recent years testing procedures for force application have become increasingly more diverse and scientific, to encompass humans from any gender, age, or physical build.

Many of the technologies underpinning this goal are already in production with increasingly more sophisticated and effective safety systems being developed. More advanced virtual testing software and tools, as well as completely new protective technologies for driverless vehicles, are on the way.

The ambition to reduce a further 50% in road casualties by 2030 is something the automotive industry is committed to making a reality. Such is evident in the pledge between automotive suppliers through CLEPA, vehicle manufacturers through ACEA, and the road and vehicle users through the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) in 2019 which states the intention to work towards these goals, where cooperation between industry and policymakers will be of paramount importance when formulating standards and implementing safety applications and systems in vehicles.

Optimism in cooperation, entering the new decade

The previous DOA has laid the foundation for the next, and we will enter the new era of road safety with a wealth of testing evidence, global safety bodies, and partnerships. Perhaps the most significant development in the approach to road safety is in the fact that the new DOA encompasses road safety as a key pillar of governance alongside healthcare, education, and employment, and declares that road safety cannot be traded off or compromised for other social benefits.

The EU Commission has proven itself as a strong ally for automotive suppliers in its valuation of safety standards, such being evident in the recently approved General Safety Regulation and Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy, which seeks to assert the EU mobility safety standards on a global stage to further solidify cross-continental cooperation and make mobility safer for all road users, wherever they may be.

From industry expertise to the frameworks of partnerships and collaboration, CLEPA is confident that the next decade’s goals to minimise road tragedies can be achieved through the cooperation of stakeholders, innovators, and policymakers. Automotive suppliers will stand ready and eager to work in conjunction with new safety policy alongside the UNRSC membership to deliver a societal framework of mobility where road tragedies are a thing of the past.

Sigrid de Vries

CLEPA  Secretary General



Automotive suppliers work towards carbon-neutral mobility, prioritising both human health and the environment

  • Safe manufacturing, use and proper disposal of vehicle parts are a high priority for automotive suppliers.
  • The sustainability criteria are followed both for materials sourcing, and during the design and production of vehicle parts, components, and systems.

in CLEPA, 06-05-2021

The 13th edition of the CLEPA Materials Regulations event confirms that sustainability ranks high on the list of priorities for the automotive supply chain. New developments such as new powertrain technologies, lightweighting, and the use of recycled and bio-based materials are a few of many that are contributing to the long-term success in reducing emissions of the sector, building on consistent innovation strategies and global efficiency in the value chain. The annual edition of the CLEPA Materials Regulations event gathers experts in the field, discussing the impact of regulation on materials & substances and presenting the efforts that are delivering towards the sector sustainability.

The Green Deal objectives include the implementation of the EU’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, setting new requirements for materials compliance that bring considerable challenges for the automotive industry. This strategy includes no less than 56 legislative and regulatory actions, such as the revision of REACH and meets circularity objectives as will be transposed in the End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) Directive, and reporting duties in the SCIP database.

In her keynote speech, CLEPA Secretary General Sigrid de Vries remarked the importance of the EU chemicals regulation “Since REACH came into force, the automotive industry has put considerable effort into implementing the complex requirements of EU chemicals regulation throughout its complex and global supply chain, to follow the sector-specific guidelines. Any new regulatory measure needs to take into account the actual exposure to chemicals, the wider benefit for society and the need for a level-playing field that does not undermine the competitiveness of the EU automotive industry. This can only be achieved by an effective dialogue between policy-makers and industry, as well as the involvement of stakeholders at each stage of the process.”

The opportunities that come with the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan were also part of the discussion. Suppliers are at the forefront of these initiatives, which includes optimisation in the use of materials and minimisation of waste through advanced design and zero-defect manufacturing, providing high-quality products with long lifetimes and promoting repair, remanufacturing and recycling to allow for re-circulation of a larger share of materials. “Making our value chains more circular brings about new business opportunities and helps reinforce the security of supplies. CLEPA is committed to a high-level dialogue to co-create an adequate path to circularity, combining the objectives of the Green Deal and smooth implementation” added de Vries.

The event counted with experts from the European Commission, who presented the possible outcome of the revision of the End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) regulation, and is currently consulting with stakeholders with the intend to present the first results of the exchange in a workshop planned in Q4 2021. The legislative proposal is planned to be presented in Q4 2022.

The several activities carried out by suppliers in the different regions of the world were also presented, such as the developments and implementation of the SCIP database, provisions for ELV and chemicals in Asia and the US. Global management via GADSL and the International Material Data System (IMDS) were also discussed.

On the second day, the focus was on Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility, including some key initiatives from the industry.

In his closing remarks, Mathieu Schwander, CLEPA Technical Regulations Manager highlighted that “Sustainability is a key priority for automotive suppliers. CLEPA, through its different specialised groups, is driving sustainable growth in the industry both in the technical implementation and the societal dimension.”

The 14th edition of the Materials Regulations Event is scheduled for Spring 2022 and it may take place in the Stuttgart area (Germany).


EU Industrial Strategy: In-depth review comes at the right time; building on existing technology strengths is essential

  • Commission sees automotive as one of the 14 critical ecosystems in the EU.
  • Industrial policy should provide the right conditions to boost high-quality jobs and sustainable and safe mobility globally.
  • It is crucial to strengthen critical supply chains, but to keep a strong industrial base the EU should also build on existing strengths in areas such as connected and autonomous driving technologies.
  • Even if public investment has a strong role to play towards accelerating innovation to deliver the green and digital objectives, the industrial strategy should not overlook the importance of providing the right conditions for private investment and access to scalable markets.

in CLEPA, 05-05-2021

CLEPA welcomes today’s publication of the European Commission’s updated industrial strategy and the announced in-depth review to strengthen the resilience of supply chains in critical areas including raw materials and semiconductor technologies. Europe’s automotive suppliers will be a crucial partner to deliver climate neutrality by 2050 while safeguarding jobs and capitalising on the opportunities of the digital transition. The EU’s new industrial strategy has the potential to provide favourable framework conditions for private investments, enable businesses to diversify sourcing where appropriate, and address undesirable independencies while maintaining the advantages of a global supply chain and access to markets.

Public investment in infrastructure and a framework of Important Projects of Common Interests can co-finance and accelerate private investment in critical technologies that are not yet commercially viable but are necessary to enable the green and digital transition. Nevertheless, private investment will play a leading role and an excessively restrictive definition of green taxonomy and regulatory standards with limited technology openness could make it harder for automotive suppliers to deliver the green transition.

CLEPA Secretary General Sigrid de Vries says: “The Commission identified automotive as one of the 14 critical ecosystems for Europe’s economic and industrial fabric. The relevance of automotive for other industries in Europe is particularly strong. Automotive suppliers directly employ 1.7 million people, on top of the 1.2 million people employed by vehicle manufacturers and create significant employment further down on the supply chain in sectors such as steel, chemicals, and capital goods. The automotive sector can play a crucial role in the continued development of the adjacent European electronics ecosystem. Analysts estimate that under the right conditions, the automotive industry alone could create 400,000 European jobs related to electronic and software components for vehicles.

Advanced driver-assistance systems and innovations to optimise powertrains have increased the value share of electronic and semiconductor systems to 35% of a car’s cost, and are likely to rise to 50% with the continued development of autonomous driving technologies and electrification. The current shortage of semiconductor chips unveils supply chain vulnerabilities, but also brings forward new opportunities for a policy that builds on the global leadership of the EU’s automotive sector to stimulate growth in adjacent sectors—like the semiconductor industry. The automotive industry is accountable for 37% of the demand for European semiconductors, highlighting the importance of our sector to meet the EU’s objective to manufacture up to 20% of all leading-edge semiconductors by 2030.”

In this context, the European Commission identified earlier this year connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) as a strategic cluster that offers the EU economy significant potential. The European supply industry holds roughly 60% of all global patents in autonomous driving and an estimated 70% of CAV innovations come from European suppliers. An accommodative policy framework that allows industry to expand its leadership on CAV technologies will result in higher demand for more advanced semiconductor chips and increase the EU’s attractiveness as a location for investment in semiconductor production capacity. Research and Innovation funding along with other forms of public investment could help CAV technologies to make the jump from research labs to the market. Where possible, the European Commission should therefore reassess whether committed budgets to projects such as the Cooperative, connected and automated mobility (CCAM) partnership are sufficiently ambitious.

A successful industrial strategy will be reliant on the long game of supporting R&I investment, standard-setting and improving Europe’s role in artificial intelligence research, skills and a strong research and education ecosystem to develop talent. It is furthermore of critical importance that suppliers keep access to markets to allow the production of fledgling innovative technologies at a global scale and remain open for foreign direct investment. If the right conditions are provided, the automotive sector has the potential to be a global leader of sustainable and safe mobility solutions while serving as an essential bridgehead for the wider European industrial base, and an example of a more sustainable, digital, resilient, and globally competitive economy.