Insights | July 4, 2024

Data and Sustainability: In conversation with Mark Dearnley, Inchcape’s Chief Digital Officer

Recently, we published our Sustainability Report. Following this, we sat down with our Global Chief Digital Officer, Mark Dearnley, to discuss how Inchcape’s proprietary technology underpins our broader approach to sustainability.

Why is data so important in the mobility transition?

Ultimately, high-quality data helps businesses make smarter and better decisions. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. The more we can understand about our markets, our business, and our impact, the better equipped we are to find the most sustainable solutions for our teams at Inchcape, our OEM partners and end customers.

What specific insights has Inchcape gained from its data that are enabling the reduction of the company’s own emissions?

Looking at our own operations, as custodians of our OEM partners’ brands as well as our own, it’s essential that we maintain strong and robust practices by looking ahead for potential risks. This is a core aspect of our business strategy and values, with every member of the Inchcape team having a role to play in creating a Responsible Business. Demonstrating our commitments to sustainability by transparently reporting our own progress, and making sure that we as a business have robust data to back this up, helps us lead from the front.

To take an example, we undertook a regional hotspot analysis of our sites, which was a data-driven approach to understand sources of emissions, market by market. The results of the analysis were used to build four key delivery programmes around energy efficiency, electrification, onsite generation of electricity and green tariffs.

This provided focus, allowing us to effectively allocate our resources to develop bespoke programmes to reduce and decarbonise our operations. The findings of this analysis and the resulting programmes have been rolled out in all our regions, and are already delivering results against our targets. In 2023, we reduced our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 6.6%, installed solar panels in 40 sites and developed a five-year costed plan for the implementation of all four programmes.

What are the ways in which Inchcape’s data-driven approach is benefiting its partners’ operations?

We do this in three ways:

First, as a responsible distributor we gather data to measure our own sustainability performance.  Our stated goal is to be the “lowest carbon route to market” partner for our OEMs and having data on our own ESG performance is central to this.

Second, data also helps us track the ways in which we can improve efficiencies, costs and reduce emissions within our supply chains, which ultimately benefits our customers. For example, we have developed an AI driven forecasting algorithm for parts which is embedded in our supply chain management processes. In the Americas, where we have rolled this out, this algorithm has resulted in profit growth, improved efficiencies and increased customer satisfaction. This includes a 60% reduction in expensive and higher emissions air freight orders. Our data capabilities can simultaneously increase profit for our customers while driving down their emissions.

Third, our industry-leading digital and data analytics capabilities give us a deep understanding of consumers – their preferences around vehicle types and their buying journey, providing market intelligence for our mobility partners that keeps them ahead of the pack.  Because of this deep local market understanding and understanding of our own operations, we’re the trusted and lowest carbon route-to-market for our brand partners across our markets. Each of our OEMs partners have their own sustainability goals and the distribution partner that they use, like Inchcape, is central to the achievement of these goals.

How does Inchcape position itself as the distributor of choice in the context of the mobility transition, and how is data playing a role in this?

At Inchcape, we understand that the mobility transition is different across the markets where we operate – it’s not just about increasing sales of EVs, or NEVs (New Emission Vehicles), it’s about the infrastructure, regulatory environment and wider consumer understanding that creates the conditions for the adoption of these vehicles.

For example, take Singapore. As a facilitator of Singapore’s sustainable mobility transition, Inchcape Singapore plays a significant role in the country’s mobility journey through enabling EV upskilling, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions, for example through our work with Grab, and the adoption of low-carbon vehicles.

By using our insights and data, they know where to focus attention, where more education is needed, and where we can help them bring more inclusive solutions to the market.