Sustainability 30.03.2021 10 Min.
Delivered as promised!

Promised – delivered. When it comes to sustainability, the BMW Group doesn’t just talk the talk. We deliver as well. From CO2 emissions to diversity, the BMW Group Report 2020 presents some of the goals the company has set itself – and achieved. The following interview offers some insights into these goals.


CCO2 fleet emissions – Target overfulfilled

Promised: We aim to reduce CO2 emissions from our European new vehicle fleet by half between 1995 and 2020. Delivered: We even managed to overfulfil our promise with a reduction of minus 53 percent.

The BMW Group overfulfilled the EU’s CO2 fleet limit for 2020. Christian Miedaner is responsible for CO2 reduction during the product use phase. In this interview, he explains how the BMW Group succeeded.

A CO2 strategy for the product use phase – what does that mean?

Christian Miedaner: The task is to ensure our products meet all market-specific regulatory requirements for fleet consumption and CO2 fleet emissions – not just in the short term, but also medium and long-term. A lot of markets still haven’t even passed legislation for the period after 2025. But we have to make sure the vehicles we are currently developing will comfortably meet requirements at that time. 

The key figures usually refer to CO2 fleet emissions for new vehicles in the EU why is that?

Christian Miedaner: The European Union’s CO2 limits have been among the strictest for years worldwide. And its targets will remain the most ambitious in the future. In many respects, meeting their requirements is the biggest challenge. That’s why we make fulfilling EU targets our main focus. Think of it this way: Once you’ve met European requirements, it’s a lot easier to fulfil those in other markets and regions.

The BMW Group was always confident it could meet the EU fleet emissions targets. How did it do it?

Christian Miedaner: We succeeded because we always took a forward-looking approach and made the right decisions – important decisions – proactively: for instance, the decision to offer electrified vehicles in every segment today. At the same time, we also decided to continue making our conventional drive trains more efficient. Our Efficient Dynamics technologies have been in use since 2007 – and, today, aerodynamics, lightweight construction, energy management and the integration of innovations are a priority in every one of our new vehicles. Another important step was wide-scale use of 48-volt-systems.

For a more detailed version of the interview, click here.

Christian Miedaner


Sustainable action – of the right kind!

Promised: We aim to reduce CO2 emissions per vehicle produced. Delivered: Since 2020 the electricity for all BMW Group plants has been sourced from 100% renewable energies.

Sustainable action affects the entire value chain. Patricia Perez Szmak is project manager for Sustainability in the Supply Chain, and Jury Witschnig is responsible for environmental protection in production. We asked them what that means for the supplier network and production at the BMW Group.

Mr Witschnig, Environmental Protection in production sounds like it involves a lot of different factors, right?

Jury Witschnig: Yes. It covers all key resources for production – on both the input and output sides. For example, water – where the focus is naturally on reducing consumption. But we don’t ignore wastewater, either. What can we use again within the cycle? And what is the environmental impact of wastewater that can’t be avoided? We also take an equally comprehensive view of waste, energy, solvents, etc. Our goal is clean production, with minimum impact on the environment.

What have we already achieved in production?

Jury Witschnig: In our most recent target period from 2006 to 2020: quite a lot. If we look just at the key figures, the most impressive aspect is probably the 80% reduction in waste from production. But we also made really good progress with water, energy and solvents. One milestone is that, since 2020, 100% of the electricity for BMW Group plants worldwide has been sourced from renewable energies. 

The goal is to reduce CO2 emissions per vehicle from production by another 80% by 2030. How will you do that?

Jury Witschnig: We approached the previous goals in several steps. We started by identifying best-practice solutions for technology efficiency in our own network. We are also looking at how our products are designed. We want to understand what we need to do in development so we can produce vehicles even more sustainably later on. We are transferring these concepts to our global production network, developing them further and making them our standard. 

A further goal is to reduce CO2 emissions in the supplier network by at least 20% by 2030. Ms Perez Szmak, how will you do that?   

Patricia Perez Szmak: We have a concrete ten-year plan. Together with our partners in the supplier network, we are focusing on two main topics: We want to increase the percentage of renewable energies and, at the same time, use more secondary material – that is, high-quality, recycled material. This is another important step towards a circular economy. Expanding the use of renewable energies in our global supplier network is quite challenging – but it is also the most important lever for reducing CO2.

To read a more detailed version of the interview, click here.

Jury Witschnig und Patricia Perez Szmak


Diversity as a strength

Promised: The BMW Group sees diversity as a strength. That is why it has set targets for the long-term advancement of women at all levels of the company. Delivered: The number of female managers at BMW AG has more than doubled since 2011.

Sabine Distler and Gabriele von Stetten are both responsible for diversity. We asked them how this goal was achieved.

How important is diversity to the BMW Group?

Gabriele von Stetten: We firmly believe diversity makes us more attractive as an employer, more competitive, and enhances our performance capabilities. Studies show that diverse teams are more innovative.

Sabine Distler: There’s another aspect. Our customers around the world are diverse, too. If we want to understand these customers, win them over and engage them, then we also need this kind of diversity among our employees.

One of the ways BMW Group measures diversity is through the percentage of women in management. What do you think about having a “quota” for women?

Gabriele von Stetten: Like I said: We strongly believe that we need diversity, because it makes us more innovative and more competitive. The same applies to gender diversity. That’s why we are working towards and intend to achieve our targets. A quota for women, as defined by law in Germany, can support that, but it’s in our own interest for men and women to work side by side in the workforce in general and at management level. We are addressing this, even without stipulations – but measurable goals do help.

The BMW Group overfulfilled its goals for 2020 and has now set itself ambitious new targets. Where do you see the challenges?

Sabine Distler: We have achieved a great deal in recent years – including more than doubling the number of female managers. And we have set ourselves ambitious goals for the years up to 2025. One aspect that will be crucial to meeting these targets is identifying female talents early and developing them selectively. In the long run, it will also be important to bring qualified women into the company. We have several diverse talent development programmes where we already make sure we have a corresponding percentage of women.

To read a more detailed version of the interview, click here.

Gabriele von Stetten und Sabine Distler

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