Next Level Sustainability

Sustainable mobility means more than just selling battery-electric vehicles. This is why the BMW Group follows a 360˚ approach that considers environmental, social and economic aspects, from raw material procurement to development and production through to recycling.

Reduction of CO2 emissions is a key building block on the path to more sustainable action. The BMW Group has thus set clear goals: to reduce carbon emissions per vehicle by an average of 40 % by 2030 compared with 2019. In doing so, the BMW Group maintains an overview of a vehicle’s entire life cycle. As a member of our global society, the Company takes a holistic approach that considers not just environmental aspects but also the economic – and especially social – facets of sustainability.

40 % less carbon emissions by 2030 compared to 2019

An all-round solution

The battery is one of the most important factors for the carbon footprint of all-electric vehicles. For this reason, the BMW Group Battery Cell Competence Centre in Munich is developing new, more sustainable generations of batteries with higher power density. Round-format battery cells are going to be used for the first time in BMW’s NEUE KLASSE models. “The sixth generation of our lithium-ion cells will enhance range by up to 30 % and improve charging speed by up to 30 %,” says Frank Weber, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for development.

CO2 emissions from the production of these batteries are expected to be reduced by up to 60 % compared with the previous generation. To achieve this, the BMW Group requires its partners in cell manufacturing to use green electricity and to reduce their consumption of primary raw materials. This means lithium, nickel and cobalt are partially used from secondary material that does not need to be newly mined. Any additionally required cobalt and lithium come from certified mines to guarantee responsible extraction. Furthermore, the Company requires members of its entire supply chain to adhere to strict environmental and social standards.

Up to 30 % more charging speed from 10 % to 80 %
Around 30 % more range

Recycling and “circular design”

Raw materials and their procurement are not the only factors, though – component recycling is also a key aspect of comprehensive sustainable thinking. There are already innovative recycling processes which allow more than 90 % of materials to be reused. Reusing materials in the battery and in the entire automobile is of utmost importance. The visionary BMW i Vision Circular vehicle demonstrates the way in which future vehicle design could be based on principles of the circular economy. The overriding objective was to conceive a vehicle that is optimised for closed material cycles and is made of 100 % recycled materials or is 100 % recyclable. Circularity was considered from the beginning of the design process.

Materials of the future

In addition to using recycled materials, the BMW Group increasingly relies on natural substances and bio-based materials, and dispenses with animal products in its efforts to further reduce carbon emissions. Beginning in 2023, models offered by the BMW and MINI brands will be produced with completely vegan interiors. Vegan materials with leather-like characteristics will be used for steering wheels, for example. This reduces carbon emissions for the respective component by approximately 80 % along the value chain in comparison with leather. Natural fibres are used in door panels and in the supporting structure of the new BMW 7 Series centre armrest. An additional innovation in NEUE KLASSE models will be plastic panelling components whose source material consists of up to 30 % old fishing nets and ropes. This results in a carbon footprint that is approximately 25 % lower than components made of conventionally finished plastic.

Panelling components in the NEUE KLASSE made out of 30 % old fishing nets and ropes
25 % less carbon emissions compared to components from conventionally finished plastic

PET bottles

Recycled plastic bottles are finding a second life, for example in the surface covering of things such as vehicle roof linings.

Hemp, kenaf, flax

Tear-resistant natural fibres of plants such as hemp, kenaf and flax are suitable for sustainable panelling in vehicle interiors.

Organic waste

Organic materials such as biodegradable waste, or waste from wastewater treatment plants, can take the place of fossil raw materials to form the basis of a more sustainable automotive paint.

Fishing nets

Maritime waste like old fishing nets and ropes can be recycled and used in both the exteriors and interiors of future automobiles.

Responsibility in production

Whether in Leipzig (Germany) or Spartanburg (USA), at each of its production sites the BMW Group sees itself as an integral part of society. In order to meet the associated responsibility, production with state-of-the-art technologies designed to conserve resources and enable circularity is important. The BMW Group already obtains the external electricity it requires entirely from renewable energy sources. Electricity is also produced from regenerative sources on plant premises; many sites, including Shenyang (China), Oxford (UK) and San Luis Potosí (Mexico), generate electricity from solar energy with their own photovoltaic systems. But the best energy is energy that is not needed in the first place. So experts continually monitor and optimise the energy efficiency of our operations using data analytics and artificial intelligence.

100 % external electricity from renewable energy sources at BMW Group plants

Digitalisation as the key to increased sustainability

Catena-X is a good example of how digitalisation contributes to a more sustainable mobility. This open and collaborative data ecosystem is currently under development. The BMW Group is not just a member but an initiator of this network, which comprises more than 133 suppliers, automobile manufacturers and IT companies. It enables data exchange across the global automotive industry’s entire supply chain. Based on standardised information and methods, Catena-X helps network partners reduce their carbon emissions along the value chain, for example, thus making the automotive industry more sustainable.

Shaping the transformation together

With regard to social sustainability, a 360° approach also means taking responsibility as an employer. This includes joint creation of transformation processes. By developing expertise in the workforce, the BMW Group fosters employee motivation and creates future-proof jobs.

Last year, the BMW Group invested € 416 million in the training and further education of its employees. The training programmes in 2022 focused on the future-oriented fields of electrics and electronics, data analytics, artificial intelligence, innovative production technologies and new working methods.

Spending on employee training and development in 2022
€ 416 million

With sustainable development opportunities and future-proof jobs, the Company reinforces its excellent position as a reliable employer. This makes the BMW Group attractive for talented young individuals. The Company’s Global Leader Development Programme (GLDP1) and ProMotion doctoral programme offer diverse entry opportunities for new recruits. After all, employees are the Company’s most important capital, both today and tomorrow. Only with them can the transformation succeed.

From the supply chain to production to recycling, from employees to global society to customers, the BMW Group’s holistic approach manifests itself in its 360° concept, which considers all facets of automotive value creation. The Company is thus paving the way for a future of a more sustainable mobility.

1 From April 2023, the upgraded GLDP will be launched under its new name, AcceleratiON.

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