The performance of materiality in the automobile industry

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Sao Paulo (BRAZIL) (2018)


PURPOSE: Sustainability is increasingly on the agenda of major industries – and in the automotive sector could not be different. The industry is responsible for major actions that can, if not neutralized, undermine the sustainable development of the nation. It is necessary to incorporate the theme into the managerial processes, making the value chain bring benefits to society and consecutively to the organization itself (PORTER, 1998; ECCLES et. al., 2014). This sustainable demand emerges strategic mechanisms to minimize and even extinguish negative consequences in all operations management. The automobile industry is one of the main emitters of pollutants in the atmosphere, either in the manufacture of new vehicles or in the use of the automobile by consumers (PWC, 2007; EPA, 2013). It is also indirectly responsible for the lives of consumers. Often cars are equipped with safety items that propose to minimize the high number of 1.3 million of deaths caused by road accidents (FORBES, 2016). These actions demand a high capital expenditure, either by the company in research and development costs or by Governments in an attempt to educate and treat victims of transit (FORBES, 2016; AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT, 2018).
In the same order, these events are aligned with the prospects of sustainability, the triple bottom line: environmental, social and economic dimension (ELKINGTON, 2001). Based on these pillars The theory of materiality gains emphasis on addressing that organizational resources should be ranked in order of importance. Materiality requires the organization to synchronize its own needs with the needs of its stakeholders. Thus, only issues that affect both business and stakeholders, to a greater extent , should focus on organizational efforts - be they monetary or temporary efforts.At present, there are no studies that investigate materiality in the automobile industry. Therefore, due to the importance of this theory, the purpose of this article is to investigate how the automotive organizations manage the materiality. As a limitation, only the companies that operate in the Brazilian scenario will compose the sample of this research.
In the first moment a documentary research was carried out through the sustainability reports of the companies operating in Brazil. Companies that do not publish their sustainability reports have been excluded from the sample. Another excluding factor was the selection of the year 2016, i.e. reports that do not have the base year of this date were excluded from the selection. The content analysis was used to extract the main points of these documents. As a technological support tool, the Atlas.TI software organized the reports for the management of the codes. Codes are fundamental to detect patterns, gaps and strategies contained in materials. After the previous projection, a case study was applied. The intention was to verify in practice, in the business environment, how materiality is operationalized.. The practical application was in Renault do Brazil, located in Sao Jose dos Pinhais (State of Parana). FINDINGS: The results found suggest that the theme is not managed effectively. Its use can be empowered and be directed towards decision making. To date the materiality information listed shows a limited strategic use in the automobile industry---Brazilian scenario. The exploratory potential for the sector is great, as the tool is essential for the choice of projects, resource allocation and composition of strategies in sustainability. Also, companies that have a certain maturity with the theme – which has been interpreted as periodicity in the publication of reports – still do not present a robust resource management strategy.

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