Diversity and Responsibility
Diversity and
How BMW Group employees actively engage

As a global company, the BMW Group is part of a diverse, global society. The company promotes projects, such as the One Young World Forum and the Intercultural Innovation Award in support of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, through long-term programmes and investments. Milena Pighi is building intercultural networks as one of the many corporate social responsibility activities within the BMW Group. And last but certainly not least, the BMW Group is fulfilling its responsibility thanks to the commitment of countless colleagues.

Diversity in numbers

> 110
nationalities are represented at the BMW Group
47 %
of the trainee program participants are women
anniversary of the BMW Group employee Award for Social Engagement
Milena Pighi

“Each of our locations is part of a community.”

Milena Pighi, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility

The BMW Group employed almost 120,000 people in 2021. If we compare this to some of the BMW Group’s production sites, that is slightly less than the population of Oxford and Regensburg but more than three times that of Spartanburg. The BMW Group manufactures in 31 countries and operates in 140. The company is therefore at the heart of a diverse, global society. “And we’re not passive,” says Milena Pighi, Spokesperson for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at BMW Group. “We’re active and involved. We always say: If you want to be the best in the world, you have to be the best for the world. Accepting responsibility is who we are.” To act as a “corporate citizen” encapsulates this approach perfectly.

Milena Pighi was born in Verona and has worked for the BMW Group since 1998. She became responsible for CSR in 2013. In this role, Milena examines projects on site. “People engage most where they live,” she explains, “and each of our locations is part of a community.” That is why, together with her colleagues, she is building what she calls decentralised, intercultural “networks of dedicated people”.. Milena also formulates guiding principles for the BMW Group – as a member of society – to champion equal opportunity, diversity and sustainability around the world.

However, it’s important to her that employees participate in social initiatives and projects of their own volition because they have realised: I want to achieve something. I want to make a difference. Here are four examples from around the world of what people in the BMW Group are doing for their communities.

“For me, cars represent freedom. I want my community to experience the joy of driving.”

Tina Schmidt-Kiendl

Project Manager BMW M
Instructor BMW Driving Academy

Four years ago, following an operation on one of her spinal discs, Tina Schmidt-Kiendl received a devastating diagnosis: paraplegia. An industrial engineer, she had been working as an instructor at the BMW Driving Academy for many years. For a moment she thought: “I guess that’s that.” But this soon gave way to a new idea. “I thought to myself: I want to relearn how to drive a car – and if I can, then I can also teach others,” she reflects. Tina went on to create driving training for people with physical disabilities at the BMW Driving Academy. “For me, cars represent freedom,” she says. “I want my community to experience the joy of driving.” And there’s also a positive side effect: People get to know each other and start up conversations during the training sessions. “It’s creating a community and just seeing that motivates me even more.”

“I want to make 100,000 more people aware of sustainability each year.”

Rajesh Kumar

Purchasing and Quality Management
BMW plant Chennai (India)

Rajesh Kumar views responsibility in many different ways. His role in the company is to ensure that the supply chain in India is sustainable. This naturally comes with high demands and is a very fulfilling position. But Rajesh is looking at the bigger picture, too: He plants trees and was previously part of the “Make a Difference” CSR team which promotes local projects in India. As a quality manager, he likes setting precise goals. It’s no surprise then when he says, “I want to make 100,000 more people aware of sustainability each year,” Rajesh is using both his professional and private networks to reach this goal. Environmental and social responsibility is a question of attitude for him. He stresses: “Sustainability is my approach to life.”

“It’s about recycling materials. For example, using a PET bottle for a car seat.”

Jessica Dettinger

Senior Designer at BMW Group
Founder of the “Form of Interest” fashion brand

“We’re redesigning the world,” says Jessica Dettinger. If you want to know what she means by this, look no further than the fashion items currently offered by her “Form of Interest” fashion brand. You’ll find fashion without any stereotypes or gender labels and clothing that can’t be pigeonholed into categories or the proverbial clothes drawers. She also brings this way of thinking to the BMW Group as a Senior Designer by developing sustainable materials for vehicles. “It’s about recycling materials. For example, using a PET bottle for a car seat.” Circularity in design, diversity through design – that’s how you redesign the world.

“We have the expertise at BMW to find the right solutions.”

Jacob Hamar and
Sabrina Kolbeck

Doctoral candidate in battery development and controller at BMW Group
Co-founders of the “PowerUp – Empowering Social Mobility” project

Batteries used in the development of new electric vehicles cannot be used in the vehicle again following the test phase. This also happens within the BMW Group. However, the batteries are still powerful and safe, which means they could be useful somewhere else. During a visit to Zimbabwe, Jacob realised the positive effects that a reliable energy supply can have on a village school or hospital. “A traction battery supplies enough power for both,” Jacob says. “The PowerUp project aims to ensure that used BMW batteries find new use in countries like Zimbabwe.” Although it might sound easy, the project presents numerous technical and logistical challenges. “But we have the expertise at BMW to find the right solutions,” his colleague Sabrina Kolbeck asserts.

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