Page Overview: Environmental and Social Standards
Umwelt- und Sozialstandards

ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL STANDARDS.

The BMW Group takes its corporate due diligence in the supply chain very seriously indeed and is committed to the principle of “engagement before disengagement”. As early as 2008, we defined comprehensive preventive measures, such as contractual obligations to comply with environmental and social standards, which we stipulated for the first time when commissioning suppliers for the BMW i3. In 2014 these standards were then expanded to include a multi-stage due diligence process covering the procurement of production materials for all vehicle models as well as for non-production-related goods and services. This includes, for example, the risk-based contractual commitment to uphold extended environmental and social standards, human rights as well as management systems for occupational health and safety and environmental protection. Depending on the size of the company, suppliers who work directly with the BMW Group must pass on these requirements to the respective sub-suppliers, based on the risk factors involved.

Joachim Post

We are conscious of our responsibility and firmly committed to ensuring compliance with environmental and social standards in our supplier network. These requirements apply to all our suppliers worldwide and are an integral part of the purchasing process. We are working closely with our suppliers to create transparency around sprawling, dynamic supply chains and make goods flows traceable.

Joachim Post

Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for purchasing and supplier network

RESPONSIBLE RAW MATERIAL MANAGEMENT.

A particular focus lies on exercising corporate due diligence in the raw material supply chain. The BMW Group aims to ensure compliance with environmental and social standards in particular already at the extraction and processing stages of the raw materials. Raw material supply chains are multi-layered, dynamic and globally interconnected, and as such are highly complex.

To pursue compliance with environmental and social standards, the BMW Group follows a two-stage raw material-specific process:

STEP 1.

Analysing the raw material supply chain and identifying potential risks and violations of environmental and social standards during extraction and processing of raw materials.

STEP 2.

Deriving and developing measures to reduce identified risks and avoid future violations.  


Beyond this, the BMW Group supports the establishment of international standards for the extraction and processing of raw materials and is involved in standardisation initiatives aimed at both general and specific raw materials. The idea is to lay an internationally standardised foundation for the certification of raw material extraction and processing.

A particular source of added value can be found in multi-stakeholder initiatives, as negative impacts on people and the environment can generally occur with any mining project as well as the production of natural and agricultural products, if appropriate measures are not taken to control them.  

For this reason, regular exchange with civil society and other relevant stakeholders in the supply chain is a key component in dealing with critical raw materials:

  • All relevant parties work together to develop better environmental and social standards within the industry.
  • The voices of NGOs and affected population groups from mining lands are heard and included in decision-making processes.

Plus, targeted analyses and surveys among direct suppliers help to improve transparency in the raw material supply chain.

C4D

Cobalt4Development

Insight into responsible raw material management.

The BMW Group employs a whole host of measures to achieve its objective of compliance with environmental and social standards in the extraction and processing of raw materials.

The following raw material profiles outline the BMW Group’s work around responsible raw material management:

LOCAL PROJECTS.

As part of its corporate due diligence, the company takes responsibility and engages in local projects as per the principle “engagement before disengagement”.

cobalt

Cobalt4Development

COBALT FOR DEVELOPMENT (C4D)

Short description
Piloting a novel pathway to formalize ASM in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Region
Kolwezi, Lualaba Province

Country
DR Congo

Raw material
Cobalt (copper)

Project partner - Implementation
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Project partner - Supplier
BASF, Samsung SDI, Samsung Electronics, VW, STIHL

Project start date
March 2019

Planned project time
3+2 years

ABOUT THE REGION AND THE CHALLENGES.

The DR Congo is home to the majority of the world’s cobalt production and reserves. Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) accounts for up to 20% of Congolese cobalt production and is a primary source of income for the region despite the major risks involved. Up to 100,000 – 200,000 Congolese women and men work directly in artisanal cobalt mining. Taking into account auxiliary tasks (i.e. transport, commerce, restaurants, etc.) and the families of miners, more than one million people depend on artisanal cobalt mining, making it one of the region’s main livelihoods.

Region and the challenges

Cobalt4Development

Affected Communities

Cobalt4Development

ABOUT THE AFFECTED COMMUNITIES AND THE CHALLENGES.

As such, ASM holds significant potential for communal development. If artisanal operations can be improved to ensure compliance with Congolese and international laws and standards, including ASM in global supply chains could have a net positive effect on local development and human rights. Therefore, while artisanal cobalt mining is linked to certain supply chain risks, it is also a great opportunity to boost local development.

OVERALL OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT.

Artisanal miners extract cobalt ore under dangerous and precarious working conditions without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). C4D has developed innovative training materials and methods to boost awareness, improve health and safety conditions and promote environmental management. At the same time, C4D aims to sustainably improve the living and working conditions of the people employed in the artisanal cobalt sector as well as the surrounding communities. C4D increases access to education, strengthens alternative livelihoods and supports households to increase their savings.

Objectives

Cobalt4Development

STRATEGIC GOALS FOR DEVELOPMENT SDG.

lithium

RESPONSIBLE LITHIUM PARTNERSHIP.

Short description
Promote sustainable use of resources in the Salar de Atacama

Region
South America, Salar de Atacama

Country
Chile

Raw material
Lithium

Project partner - Implementation
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Project partner - Supplier
Mercedes, VW, BASF, Fairphone

Project start date
November 2021

Planned project time
3+1 years

ABOUT THE REGION AND THE CHALLENGES.

The Salar de Atacama, Chile is located in the so-called lithium triangle (Chile, Argentina, Bolivia). The region is one of the driest regions in the world and contains large reserves of lithium in the form of so-called brines. There are concerns that pumping fresh water, brackish water and lithium-bearing brine from the ground will destabilize the fragile ecosystem by repositioning lagunas and modifying freshwater aquifers. Due to the importance of lithium for the battery industry and fresh groundwater preservation for communities and ecosystems, sustainable and ecological lithium mining is being promoted.

ABOUT THE AFFECTED COMMUNITIES AND THE CHALLENGES.

Water in the highly arid region is the basis of life for the local communities. The tense situation and the lack of overall trust between the indigenous people and the mining companies is being resolved by means of a multilateral approach.  The dialog is necessary to exclude uncertainties about ecology and the (fresh) water supply and to improve communication between all stakeholders.

OVERALL OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT.

Players from lithium and copper mining, agriculture, tourism, indigenous communities and state actors were invited to a local multi-stakeholder platform (“Mesa Multiactor”) to jointly develop measures. In addition, a joint action plan to improve the long-term management of natural resources has been developed and first steps have been implemented . The local participants have agreed on 30 measures in the Action Plan, including the creation of a cadastre of water rights holders on the river basin, geological and hydrological mapping, campaigns on the challenges of water scarcity, provision of drinking water to local communities, and recycling of grey water. Several of the actions are already completed, others are underway or prioritized for the future.  Furthermore, the “Mesa Multiactor” has addressed scientific uncertainties surrounding water in the Salar by screening and making available more than 300 studies and reports through a public and accessible library.

STRATEGIC GOALS FOR DEVELOPMENT SDG.

rubber

Hutan Harapan base camp lake. Doc. Hutan Harapan | Aulia Erlangga

JOINT PATHWAY FOR SUSTAINABLE RUBBER.

Short description
Deforestation-free rubber supply chains

Region
Sumatra Island

Country
Indonesia

Raw material
Natural rubber

Project partner - Implementation
BirdLife International

Project partner - Supplier
Pirelli

Project start date
September 2021

Planned project time
3 years

ABOUT THE REGION AND THE CHALLENGES.

Hutan Harapan, the “Forest of Hope”, is Sumatra’s last large lowland rainforest on mineral soil, covering an area of about 100,000 hectares. Hutan Harapan is inhabited by more than 307 species of birds, 64 species of mammals, 123 species of fish, 55 species of amphibians, 71 species of reptiles and 728 species of trees. Some of these flora and fauna are not found in other forests in Indonesia, or even in the world. Some are already very rare and endangered, such as Sumatran tigers, Asian elephants, sun bears, agile gibbons and hornbills.

The area of lowland natural forests in Sumatra was reduced to 13.8 percent in the period 1900 – 1997, from 16 million hectares to 2.2 million hectares. In the early 2000s, the Central Sumatra lowland natural forest that functions as a production forest was estimated at around 500,000 hectares. Deforestation for agricultural land use or infrastructure projects around Hutan Harapan creates pressure to protect the precious ecosystem. Therefore, serious efforts and directed management are essential to preserve and restore the remaining forests of the Sumatran plains.

Since 2007, the local community, PT Restoration Ecosystem Indonesia (PT REKI), a legal entity of Burung Indonesia, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and BirdLife International as well as KfW Entwicklungsbank (2019 – 2026) have been working together to protect and restore the valuable lowland rainforest. The Hutan Harapan project contributes to the current UN Decade for Ecosystem Restoration 2021 – 2023. KfW is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV).

Region and the challenges

Sundaic Silvered Langur (Trachypithecus cristatus). Hutan Harapan | Fadlurrahman

Affected Communities

The Batin Sembilan women are going fishing and collecting rattan. Hutan Harapan | Aulia Erlangga

ABOUT THE AFFECTED COMMUNITIES AND THE CHALLENGES.

The forest’s countless ecosystem functions secure the livelihoods of the indigenous Batin Sembilan and other local population groups. Agriculture sustainability is a pressing and fundamental concern in agroforestry. It plays a pivotal role in meeting the growing global demand for food while safeguarding the environment and supporting rural livelihoods. At its core, sustainability in agriculture refers to the ability to maintain or improve agricultural practices, productivity and ecological balance without compromising the needs of future generations. The balance also reflects the interconnected nature of all activities of agriculture sustainability.

OVERALL OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT.

Alongside Thailand, Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of natural rubber. The cultivation of natural rubber is characterized by the fact that the majority of the raw material is not produced industrially, but instead by more than 6 million small-scale farmers. Due to long and complex supply chains, the prices paid for the raw material have decreased for the farmers over the past decades, leading in part to a shift to better-paid agricultural goods such as oil palms. The “Living Rubber” project aims to provide improved living conditions for the local indigenous community, especially for farmers and women, and thus contribute to an ecologically and socially resilient natural rubber supply chain. The project focuses on the protection and conservation of native plant and animal species on the 2,700-hectare “Living Rubber” area, thereby safeguarding an important part of the ecosystem of southern Hutan Harapan in Indonesia.

Objectives

A Batin Sembilan is cutting the rubber. Hutan Harapan | Saleksa Srengenge

STRATEGIC GOALS FOR DEVELOPMENT SDG.

mica

BAL MITRA GRAM.

Short description
Child-friendly village

Region
Jharkhand and Bihar

Country
India

Raw material
Mica

Project partner - Implementation
Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF)

Project partner - Supplier
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Project start date
May 2022

Planned project time
3 years

ABOUT THE REGION AND THE CHALLENGES.

The States of Jharkhand and Bihar, known as the mica belt, are home to major mica deposits of economic importance. As income opportunities in the region are very limited, the majority of communities focus on informal mica mining. The majority of child labor in the villages is in such artisanal mining. Over 680 villages have been identified in the region that are linked to the mining of the raw material. Child labor, child marriage and malnutrition are widespread problems that are directly linked to poverty in the villages.

ABOUT THE AFFECTED COMMUNITIES AND THE CHALLENGES.

Many families in the region often live below the poverty line. The lack of alternatives forces many parents to take their children with them to the mining areas. The children are denied the right to education and a safe childhood, making it difficult for them to escape poverty.

OVERALL OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT.

With “Bal Mitra Gram” (“child-friendly village”), the KSCF has created an internationally recognized model for child-friendly rural development. The BMW Group is supporting the KSCF in implementing the model in 20 villages in the States of Jharkhand and Bihar, the so-called mica belt. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) was commissioned by the BMW Group as an external consultant to translate the local project results into measurable key indicators. 

STRATEGIC GOALS FOR DEVELOPMENT SDG.

Responsible raw material management in the supply chain.

The BMW Group’s responsible raw material management thus forms a vital basis for the company’s multi-stage due diligence process and its responsibility for the supplier network.

Bofadeles

DUE DILIGENCE IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN.

To support our supply chain due diligence, we set mandatory sustainability standards for our suppliers.

THIS FOCUS TOPIC CONTRIBUTES TO THE FOLLOWING SDGs: