In the “WEffect” sustainability series, the BMW Group highlights the sustainable contribution made by a wide range of people in the company – and the motivation that inspires them. Today: Sina Beckmann.
Sustainability has many facets at the BMW Group because we are using this term to harmonise business, the environment and society. If we are to successfully put these high standards into practice, we need our employees’ commitment. Everyone can play their part in making the BMW Group sustainable.
So, who are all these colleagues who make sustainability part of their everyday work? What drives them to roll up their sleeves throughout the company? In its “WEffect” sustainability series, the BMW Group introduces employees who play their daily part in the broad and responsible further development of our company.
In this edition of our series, Sina Beckmann, Project Manager Sustainability Strategy BMW Motorrad Production at the BMW Group Plant Berlin, reveals why BMW motorbikes and sustainability go together, the role a moral compass plays in this and how to motivate others.
Sina Beckmann, how do motorbikes and sustainability go together?
Sina Beckmann: A motorbike plant is a production plant like any other. Our product is changing a lot at the moment and we have the same levers and opportunities to put environmentally friendly, CO2 neutral production in place as the car plants do. Many motorcyclists are very close to nature and live close to nature on their journeys. Also, in my experience, they tend to be enthusiastic and passionate. We definitely need both in our commitment to climate protection. Plus, motorbikes and sustainability go well together!
You are a political scientist with a focus on the environment and climate; your enthusiasm comes across in abundance. What is the motivation behind this?
Beckmann: I grew up with very strong values. While other kids were out playing, my father took me to anti-nuclear demonstrations and planted sunflowers with me. I had a real hippie childhood. That is where I come from. Today, I feel a very strong social responsibility and follow a clear moral compass. I have two small children now and that certainly adds to my drive. I want to leave behind a planet that future generations can live on. That’s why I was attracted to work for a company that is moving from being the “problem” to being part of the solution when it comes to global warming. The BMW Group is courageous and progressive. We are really doing something! I am as proud of this as I am of the fact that I have turned my greatest interest into my profession. I was already specialising in sustainability during my studies, and today I am able to travel professionally in this role. That’s great, because it allows me to be really authentic. I also gain leadership skills in my role. Because I want to ignite the spark for people to become active themselves and live sustainably or implement sustainable practices in their work. Arousing enthusiasm and initiating action – that is what leadership means to me.
What exactly is your job at the plant?
Beckmann: I steer the sustainability strategy for BMW Motorrad
production at the Berlin plant and cover all motorbike production worldwide. It’s also about 80 per cent less CO2 emissions in production for us by 2030, based on 2019 figures. These are truly progressive targets. My role is to shape this journey, interpret the Group’s overarching sustainability goals for our factory, and then bring them to fruition. Let’s take the phrase “energy efficiency measures”. What does this mean in terms of motorbike production? Shutting down plants at night, for example, or using waste heat. Our employees bring a lot of ideas into the mix and want to know if they are really green, feasible and affordable. I can tell that this passion has already been ignited.
Do you come across days when things don’t run smoothly? What do you do then?
Beckmann: Of course I do. Sometimes I don’t understand why the person I’m dealing with does or doesn’t do something. Then it gets really tough and I get the impression that I’m always having to be the driver. On days like that, I need all my patience – and I’m actually not a naturally patient person. But I know I have to be patient for this goal because I cannot achieve it on my own. I have to bring other people along with me.
Imagine you meet the Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Oliver Zipse and he offers his support. What would your wish be?
Beckmann: I would ask him to visit us at the Berlin plant to demonstrate to employees that their contribution and their issues are being noticed, valued and appreciated. It would be perfect if we could combine this visit with a dialogue on sustainability.
So when is it good enough?
Beckmann: I have high standards. It will never really be good enough until we get warming down to less than 1.5 degrees.
As far as my role at the Berlin plant is concerned, it will be good enough when my colleagues set their own target visions, design roadmaps and free up capacities for sustainability. When others take these tasks on board as a matter of course, and the saturation curve gets reached and I don’t get any more calls. Then I’ll be able to move on to the next topic. There is still a long way to go until that day comes.
In the upcoming portraits from our “WEffect” sustainability series, committed colleagues will also describe their motivation and explain the contribution they are making to sustainability within the BMW Group.