How EV maker Rivian plans to halve the carbon footprint of its vehicles by 2030

EV maker Rivian has pledged to introduce a vehicle with half the carbon emissions footprint of its original models by 2030, according to its inaugural "impact" report, released Jan. 12.

Among other things, Rivian’s emissions reduction strategy will lean heavily on increasing the recycled materials it uses to produce its pickup trucks, SUVs and commercial vans — such as the ones it supplies to e-commerce giant Amazon.

This is the company’s first environmental impact disclosure, so there are no past-year comparisons for its results. Rivian isn’t officially part of the Science Based Targets initiative, although Rivian CSO Anisa Kamadoli Costa told GreenBiz the company is following the "same goals."

"We are committed to always operating with a full awareness of the challenge," said Kamadoli Costa in the report.

Details on Rivian’s CO2 per mile baseline

The company reported emitting 130,306 metric tons of Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gases in 2022, and 2.05 million metric tons of Scope 3 emissions. It consumed 350,323 megawatt-hours of energy, about 54 percent was electricity; 3.7 percent of its electricity came from renewable energy resources. Rivian has signed several contracts to buy solar power, including a $1 billion deal to build a solar farm on a former coal mine in Kentucky.

Rivian also shared life-cycle assessments for five vehicles, describing the emissions from its supply chain and raw materials, on-site production and logistics, customer operations and service, and decommissioning.

The smallest of Rivian’s commercial vans, for example, emits 364 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per mile. The methodology is in a separate report, and Rivian encourages other automakers to do the same for measuring per-vehicle emissions — most don’t at this time.

"We believe a common [life-cycle assessment] methodology in the automotive industry would encourage a faster decarbonization of the transportation sector and better inform customers about the benefits and trade-offs among vehicles," the company said.

The assessments show an 8 percent decrease in lifetime emissions from Rivian’s first trucks and SUVs compared to its more recent models. That evaluation identified top priorities for Rivian’s sustainability team, Kamadoli Costa said. Those include:

  • Reducing carbon emissions related to materials. Its biggest impacts come from the steel, aluminum and battery supply chains. A priority list will be drawn up by 2025.
  • Cutting production energy per vehicle.
  • Improving operational efficiency through software and design, such as aerodynamic changes and improved propulsion systems.
  • Increasing renewable energy investments, particularly related to the Rivian charging network.

‘Zero materials waste and zero pollution’

Rivian’s plan is to "slow consumption of primary materials, reduce waste, limit biodiversity loss and decarbonize our business." 

At its facility in Normal, Illinois, Rivian diverted 82.3 percent of its manufacturing waste from landfill; its 2030 goal is to reach 90 percent.

Rivian already uses recycled materials in its EVs but hasn’t disclosed details, Kamadoli Costa said. Its specific goals for recycled content are to incr

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