BMW Group is a global company operating in a highly connected world. Our activities have a significant impact on the business environment in which we operate and affect the interests of a wide variety of stakeholders. Geopolitical instabilities, megatrends, sustainability aspects and social expectations in the face of climate change all shape the conditions under which we do business. In view of this, BMW Group engages in active, transparent dialogue with decision-makers and political and trade union representatives as well as representatives of various associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to help shape the political framework conditions for its business activities in a constructive, open manner.
The strategy of BMW Group is based on the analysis of global megatrends that are of vital importance for the transformation of the automotive industry. Currently, the most important megatrends with long-term effects on the business model of the BMW Group are climate change and the reduction of carbon emissions, electromobility, digitisation and connectivity, including automated and autonomous driving, and mobility behaviour in society.
As a global company with a complex value chain, our activities and products affect not only our workforce and customers, but also the interests of various stakeholders. In the other direction, social developments impact the business activities of the entire Group in many respects. Business partners, suppliers, lobbyists, the media, the political and scientific sectors, industry associations, NGOs, investors and other stakeholder groups have different views and expectations with regard to our company. Responding to their needs can positively impact our social legitimacy, competitive advantage and success as a company.
In view of this, BMW Group engages in constant exchange with its stakeholders worldwide. We incorporate the various perspectives into our decision-making, taking care to also consider the respective regulatory framework. This enables us to identify new political and social trends and develop sustainable solutions for the challenges of the future. We encourage stakeholders to raise any concerns they may have about BMW Group activities at an early stage and openly discuss solutions where potential conflicts of interest arise. Furthermore, we enhance the transparency of our decisions by sharing information about the BMW Group strategy as well as our positions on political, regulatory and social topics.
Striking a balance between economic, environmental, and social concerns is a key prerequisite for the economic success of our company. Economic success is also a necessity for the company to develop sustainable technological innovations, ensure job security and collaborate with all partners along an increasingly sustainable value chain.
For this reason, since the financial year 2020, BMW Group has kept its stakeholders informed about the business development of the company in the form of an integrated report. This enables us to provide a holistic, well-founded insight into the BMW Group, as we are also doing in the current integrated Group report. We report on both the company’s business activities and sustainability activities in a transparent, comprehensible manner.
The company engages in active, open and transparent dialogue with decision-makers and political and trade union representatives as well as representatives of various associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to help shape the political framework conditions for its business activities in a constructive, transparent manner. BMW Group is a member of numerous associations in various countries. While these memberships and the commitment of the BMW Group are voluntary in most cases, this cooperation may also be based on statutory requirements in individual instances, e.g. for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria (IHK München, Oberbayern) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin (IHK Berlin).
The engagement of the BMW Group with associations ranges from board memberships in various association committees and participation in working groups to roles with observer status only. The company strives to align with the respective associations concerning positions on relevant strategic topics. In the case that the BMW Group observes deviations between the positions of the associations and those of the company, the company enters into a dialogue to improve the alignment. The BMW Group brings the positions of the company into the associations’ opinion-forming processes, thereby actively participating in discussions on key strategic topics such as climate protection, human rights, the circular economy, carbon footprint reduction to achieve climate goals under the Paris Agreement, and transparent supply chain management.
Within the BMW Group, understanding the valves and aims of the people around us, managing relationships, and communicating with stakeholders are led by the Corporate Communications and Government Affairs department.
The Government Affairs organisation of the BMW Group is an integral part of this department and is responsible for relationships with political and regulatory stakeholders, NGOs and the scientific community worldwide. This enables us to ensure the consistency and transparency of our core political messages and positions.
The Government Affairs organisation in Munich exchanges with regard to three broad areas: e-mobility and the environment, trade and geopolitics, and digital cars and mobility. Our goal is to establish uniform, legally compliant framework conditions. These should be flexible and agile to facilitate the development of innovative products. The team in Munich also coordinates our relationships with core automotive manufacturers’ associations such as the German Association of the Automotive Industry (Verband der Automobilindustrie, VDA) and the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).
At international scale, we focus on the four regions of the Americas, China, Asia-Pacific and Europe/Africa/Middle East. The BMW Group maintains Government Affairs offices and/or employs local staff for direct interaction with the political and regulatory environments within the key individual markets and in selected growth markets. These act as permanent points of contact for local decision-makers and are available to address queries directly and in the language of the respective country. Our stakeholders make active use of this opportunity.
In its activities, the Government Affairs organisation strives to ensure the highest possible level of transparency, fact-based information and credibility. Comprehensive compliance regulations are in force on a company-wide basis to govern contact with external stakeholders and shape the nature of our interaction with them.
Various transparency registers have been drawn up in different countries and regions where interest groups, such as private individuals, companies or NGOs, are involved in the political decision-making process. These registers may be voluntary or compulsory depending on the country. People and organisations who wish to contact political institutions or decision-makers with a view to influencing political decision-making processes enter various details in these registers. The purpose of such registers is to help increase public trust in politics and to make the way lobbyists and representatives exert their influence more transparent.
The BMW Group has been listed in the ↗ European Commission’s EU Transparency Register since 2008. The Company provides information on the number of employees and the budgets it allocates to influencing European legislative processes and the areas of relevance to the BMW Group, as well as details of its memberships of associations relevant to EU policy-making. In addition, laws on lobbying covering the German Bundestag and the Bavarian State Parliament, which provide for the establishment of public lobbying registers, have been in force since 1 January 2022. BMW AG is also entered in these registers. It provides extensive information about its political activities and its work with associations, as well as its financial expenditure in connection with political lobbying in accordance with the relevant requirements.
The BMW Group supports the creation of transparency and lobbying registers. They contribute to transparency as well as increasing trust in the democratic legislative process and in the political work of all those involved in the legislative process.
OVERVIEW OF OUR CORE AREAS.
We support the transformation of the automotive industry in six core policy areas.
Electromobility and reducing emissions.
There is no universal solution that will meet our customers’ mobility requirements. Alternative drives and digitalisation are transforming mobility. However, this process is occurring at different speeds across the various regions of the world. The BMW Group believes that openness to various technology types is of decisive importance for the mobility of the future.
In view of significant uncertainties with regard to the required framework conditions, no drive technology can currently be ruled out. Well-founded, regular reviews should form the basis for setting further goals. The infrastructure development status and current geopolitical situation, including all relevant dependencies, must be taken into account as part of this process. The degree of electrification ahead of us will bring with it huge demand for the raw materials used to make the batteries (such as lithium and cobalt). These raw materials are mined and refined mainly outside of Europe, with these processes sometimes concentrated in high-risk regions.
At the same time, the forecasts for future CO2 fleet targets in all major markets are extremely ambitious. To achieve these goals, the framework conditions must be shaped decisively and bindingly by all political stakeholders. In particular, this concerns the presence of a charging and H2 refuelling infrastructure that offers customer value, as well as sufficient availability of renewable energies. Today, there is a direct correlation between infrastructure density and electric vehicle market shares.
Switching to zero-emissions mobility requires holistic framework conditions. An approach that is open to technology with a diverse range of low- and zero-emissions drive options will ensure strategic resilience. Concentrating on a single technology with its individual limitations creates geopolitical dependencies and could lead to bottlenecks – concerning critical raw materials, for example – that would endanger the natural changeover of all customers.
By contrast, the raw materials and supply chains for fuel cell vehicles can be easily switched over because fuel cell systems are comprised of common materials such as steel, polymers, aluminium and the amount of platinum needed to make one to two catalytic converters. Recycling industries are already well established for these materials, and large quantities of recycled material are available.
Climate and the environment.
In the transport sector, a swift transition to electromobility is a key prerequisite on the path to climate neutrality. The BMW Group is pursuing a clear goal of reducing carbon emissions holistically and across the entire value chain for its vehicles. As a result, BMW AG clearly and publicly supports the Paris Agreement on climate change and has pledged to do its part in achieving the climate goals under the Paris Agreement. In 2021, we became the first German automotive manufacturer to join the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C” campaign as part of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
In collaboration with suppliers, we are dedicated to decarbonising our value chain and exclusively using renewable energies. The long-term goal should be to establish national and multinational carbon limits and corresponding trade systems as leading instruments for the decarbonisation of all industries.
The European Union (EU) sees itself as a global trailblazer for the achievement of these climate goals, and the US and Chinse governments have also proposed ambitious climate protection targets.
The BMW Group is a staunch supporter of the superordinate objective of the EU taxonomy, namely to channel financial resources into environmentally sustainable activities. Nevertheless, the EU taxonomy has no holistic approach to corporate sustainability for the automotive industry, but rather focuses solely on carbon emissions during the utilisation phase. This approach does not take into account the question of sustainably in vehicle production. In this context, the circular economy along the entire value chain makes a significant contribution towards achieving the 1.5°C target.
Digitalisation concerns all areas of the mobility sector. We continuously offer our customers new opportunities to use digital services and automated driving functions. Digital progress has reciprocal effects on our products: it opens up new opportunities but also presents new challenges, e.g. in relation to cyber security as a result of the increasing connectivity of vehicles. The BMW Group is committed to ensuring our customers can enjoy the best possible digital experience – always taking into account the underlying data protection and cyber security requirements.
As a globally active company, we are focused on establishing uniform, legally compliant framework conditions. These should be sufficiently agile and flexible so that they do not impair innovative capability while also allowing us to take full advantage of the benefits of digital progress. In this context, we must always comply with the respective vehicle approval guidelines as well as the relevant cyber security requirements.
We also take a stringent Security by Design approach when it comes to digital applications, eliminating areas that are open to attack, for example in the transmission of vehicle data. To ensure vehicle cyber security, BMW Group implemented the BMW CarData secure data transfer platform from 2017. BMW CarData gives BMW and MINI customers full control over the transfer and use of their vehicle data and enables them to transmit this data to other partners without delay.
Trade and market access.
The BMW Group is a global company with 30 production sites worldwide and an international supplier and distribution network. BMW Group products are sold in 140 countries. Securing our supply and distribution chains and our strong focus on exports require free access to third markets and open trade channels.
The BMW Group supports the liberalisation of trade and free trade at global scale. We also advocate for the reconsideration of particular barriers to trade, provided that doing so would not affect human rights, labour protection standards or sustainability aspects. In addition, the BMW Group supports de-escalation in global trade relationships and strong trade and investment agreements with partner countries all over the world.
BMW Group requests an open, rule-based trading system from the EU that creates a level playing field for local and foreign companies. Despite current geopolitical developments, we must endeavour to achieve global standards on the basis of openness, transparency and shared values. Common sustainability standards should be an inherent component of every free trade agreement.
The influx of people to cities is not only causing housing shortages but is also overloading the transport system. As a result, many cities and communities are introducing individual traffic control regulations and increasingly also bans.
The BMW Group aims to work together with cities and communities to develop and implement common solutions to address increasing traffic volumes and the related emissions. There is still enormous potential in collaboration between cities, mobility service providers and vehicle manufacturers.
In this context, we are focusing on measures to ramp up electromobility, such as the establishment and expansion of charging infrastructures in the right places or the implementation of “eZones”, in which plug-in hybrid vehicles switch automatically to electric mode.
In addition, we are also focusing on traffic management measures to maintain the flow of traffic. Among other aspects, this includes digital tools such as parking management systems that encourage people to switch to other forms of transport and prevent congestion caused by drivers seeking parking spaces.
The aim is to show cities a future in which the mobility needs of their citizens are fulfilled and sustainability goals can also be achieved.
Human resources and social policy
Our employees are the foundation on which the success of the BMW Group is built. We offer secure, attractive jobs and comprehensive development and qualification opportunities. We act as a role model in offering diverse working-hours models as well as our equal pay standard. At the start of 2023, we became the first German company to receive a top-level “Fair Pay Leader” certification. At the same time, we actively engage with legislative proposals in the areas of labour and social policy.
We at the BMW Group are committed to respecting internationally recognised human rights and also aim to exceed the minimum standards in terms of the working conditions we offer. This aspiration is not limited to our own factories; we also make every effort to ensure that these standards are met worldwide along the entire supply chain. We of course consistently comply with the applicable labour protection laws worldwide as well as setting our own, higher standards for improvement in this area.
We are a globally active company that values the diversity of our workforce. People from over 100 nations work together at BMW Group. They bring a wide range of perspectives, experience, and expertise to their daily work, thereby strengthening our innovative capabilities and our competitivity. In 2011, the BMW Group signed up to the Diversity Charter, pledging to create a working environment that is free of prejudice. Because we feel it is important to shape change in a sustainable manner, we strive to inspire more women to pursue technical careers as part of our efforts for the promotion of young talent. The proportion of women in the company has been increasing continuously for many years, and we continue to set ambitious goals in this respect. For example, BMW Group aims to ensure that at least 22 per cent of management roles are held by women by 2025.
For further information from the BMW Group regarding Government and External Affairs please contact us at this email address.