Kia Motors announced that the brand’s global vehicle production was greener and more sustainable in 2013 than at any point in the brand’s history, despite growing sales and production levels around the world.

The Korean automaker stated year-on-year global sales grew by 1.4 percent in 2013 to 2,746,643 units, yet an ongoing focus on improving sustainability across the brand’s manufacturing facilities has led to a smaller environmental footprint.

Across the brand’s three major vehicle manufacturing facilities in Korea – Hwasung, Sohari and Gwangju – a focus on recycling, employee initiatives, greater investment, reducing unit waste and heat capture technology has yielded reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, water consumption and waste materials, said Kia. Combined, these three facilities produced 1.31 million cars in 2013 – around 46 percent of Kia Motors’ total global production – and 1.26 million engines.

In 2013, Kia said its Korean plants increased production by 12,947 units, yet saw a 4.7 percent reduction in CO2 emissions per unit produced (29.4 kg per car), and a total drop of 30,507 tons to 788,000 tons. Total CO2 reductions in 2013 amount to the annual carbon intake of around 30.44 million pine trees.

Total energy consumption was also reduced by 3.7 percent (618 terajoules) to 15,930 terajoules, a reduction of 596 megajoules per vehicle produced. Kia explained this was achieved by minimizing unnecessary use of equipment and machinery across all manufacturing sites to curb emissions.

Water consumption was also slashed. In 2013, Kia Motors’ total water consumption at the Hwasung, Sohari and Gwangju plants decreased by 305,000 cubic meters from the previous year to 6.17 million m3 – a 6 percent year-on-year reduction in per unit consumption, and a 30 per cent drop since 2003, added Kia.

Meanwhile, on the waste side, 2013 saw a 3.6 percent year-on-year reduction in waste output, with 8,399 fewer tons of waste produced than in 2012 – an 8kg, 4.6 percent year-on-year reduction in waste for each Kia model manufactured in Korea, stated the carmaker. This also represents a 26.9 percent per unit reduction in waste output compared to a decade ago.