Faurecia finds new allies for war on plastic

Leading automotive tech company uses tech-savvy Gen Zs to cut plastic waste!

 

Take a teenager’s phone away in 2020 or cut a teenagers hand off in 1970: What difference in reaction will you observe? Surprisingly, they will be very similar. Apart from the blood, obviously, both will scream and, most importantly, feel like they are losing a part of their self.

 

The role of technology in our lives is changing quickly.

A company understanding the relationship younger generations are building with technology will have an advantage in the years to come. With this in mind, Faurecia decided to engage Generation Z (those born in 1997-2012) to address the issue of climate change.

 

As a global leader in automotive technology, Faurecia faces the challenge of environmental transition. Their main business is composed of the development, manufacturing and marketing of equipment for automakers – such as seats, interior systems and emission control technologies. At the heart of an industry in full transformation, they provide innovative solutions while seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.

 

“Faurecia wants to work in a more sustainable way in the face of environmental challenges. It is in this context that a new Clean Mobility Division has been created,” 

Hugo Piccin, Decoration Product Line Team Leader & Expert, Faurecia

 

Plastic is an important component of Faurecia’s production line, and they are actively looking for viable alternatives.

So, they decided to engage in the open innovation program “Deplastify The Planet” with Schoolab and UC Berkeley. Their aim would be to improve the supply chain and sourcing of NFTT (natural polypropylene fibers), a structural filling material for car doors.

The “Deplastify The Planet” program is a six-month program where UC Berkeley students work on corporate innovation challenges around plastic waste. Schoolab provides the mentorship and professional relationship needed between industry players (such as Faurecia) and the university.

Participating in this program gave Faurecia the opportunity to innovate on specific products that are particularly difficult to tackle internally. The costs of research for such projects, coupled with the uncertainty of the results make it almost impossible to address within the organization. They were able to operate with greater flexibility in terms of prices and removed any feeling of pressure that might be generated by a demand for results.

 

“It is often complicated for companies to innovate on completely new subjects. Outsourcing this first phase of research and ideation brings flexibility and allows corporations to bring new and fresh brain power to their toughest challenges.”

Mathieu Aguesse, CEO Schoolab San Francisco

 

After a semester of work, the UC Berkeley, the team was able to identify alternative material sourcing in order to reduce the ecological impact of the supply chain.

Now, Faurecia has signed up to participate in the program for another semester to continue the project where the last class left off. This new team is currently conducting tests, negotiating with suppliers and recovering and testing material. The results will enable Faurecia to take a decision on the viability of the prototype and whether or not to allocate the necessary budget for this project.

 

Faurecia chose this program for several reasons. First, it made it possible to explore topics that normally may not be addressed due to a lack of time, manpower or financial resources. Secondly, working with students from different backgrounds and nationalities allowed for the creation of a certain synergy and the emergence of creative ideas. Students bring a new vision to the company that is particularly needed in innovation. Finally, participating in a program such as “Deplastify The Planet” has also been a way for Faurecia to develop its brand among students and to recruit desired talent.

 

 

“It was very interesting to work with students from different backgrounds and nationalities. The coaching by Schoolab was very well done, which allowed the formula to work well”

Hugo Piccin, Decoration Product Line Team Leader & Expert, Faurecia

 

[Article by Marie Perche UC Berkeley Graduate Student & Alexandre Truan, Product Manager
at Schoolab San Francisco. MAY 2020]
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