Corporate sustainability at the BMW Group

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With its corporate Strategy Number ONE, the BMW Group is pursuing its vision of being the leading provider of premium products and premium services for individual mobility. The same aim applies to the principle of sustainability. All of the BMW Group’s activities are geared towards continuously increasing the company’s value over the long term. The company believes that long-term growth results from long-term thinking and sustainable development.


Sustainability throughout the entire value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to resource conservation go hand in hand with the success of the BMW Group. However diverse and complex the challenges may be, there are many different ways to approach this within the company. That is why sustainability at the BMW Group is not the responsibility of a single department or a specific division - it begins in the minds of its employees, and is realised every day in the work these employees perform for the company.


Listen, explain, understand


The BMW Group does not just react to external impulses – it actively and systematically seeks out dialogue with its stakeholders, because clear, unbiased dialogue opens up many opportunities: It helps the company to identify risks and potential early on, to uncover new approaches, and to correct mistakes quickly or even avoid them altogether. Furthermore, clarifying the motives and goals behind its actions strengthens the BMW Group’s reputation.


Accepting responsibility


Environmental protection was established as part of the corporate organisation back in the early 1970s. Over the years, the company’s social commitment has also evolved from its original, purely local activities to become a global commitment. Today, corporate sustainability is firmly established as a guiding principle of the company’s strategy and culture. The BMW Group complies with the ten principles of the Global Compact and the Cleaner Production Declaration of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). In addition, the company also adheres to the agreements of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the OECD’s guidelines for multinational companies and the Business Charter for Sustainable Development issued by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).


The BMW Group’s sustainability strategy


The goal of the BMW Group’s sustainability strategy is to integrate sustainability throughout the entire value chain and its underlying processes – creating an added value for the company, the environment and society. Key elements of BMW Group’s sustainability management include an “environmental radar” that is regularly extended to cover additional ecological and social aspects; ongoing dialogue with stakeholders; the inclusion of sustainability criteria in all decision-making processes; and a holistic approach to the entire value chain.


The company has decided to forge ahead in developing efficient drive technologies and to implement sustainable mobility concepts for urban centres. As for the production process, the goal is to further reduce the consumption of resources and minimize environmental impact – a reflection of the BMW Group’s Clean Production philosophy. As an attractive employer, the BMW Group aims to strengthen employees’ motivation and satisfaction and improve the expertise of its specialists and executives to face future challenges. It is also vital to integrate ecological and social standards in the supply chain. The core principles stipulated in the BMW Group’s sustainability strategy include a far-reaching impact assessment for decisions, cross-divisional cooperation and anchoring sustainable thinking in employees’ minds.


A large number of structural and organizational innovations have been implemented to ensure this is effectively pursued in the company’s operational business. In early 2009, sustainability was established Group-wide as a corporate target, measured by means of a balanced scorecard. As a result, detailed guidelines have been developed for all BMW Group divisions. This approach will help the company measure and manage its own sustainability performance more precisely. Each and every proposal is measured against the corporate goal of maximum sustainability. Each project submitted to the BMW Group Board of Management for approval must first be evaluated according to sustainability criteria.


The BMW Group’s responsibility for its products begins in the early phases of development. Vehicles are designed from the outset so that they can be manufactured using resources efficiently and later recycled in the most environmentally-compatible way. The BMW Group’s strategy for sustainable mobility, which ranges from efficiency improvements through increasing electrification of the power train to the long-term use of hydrogen as an inexhaustible energy store helps reduce CO2 emissions. The company is also committed to mobility projects to optimise the overall traffic situation and thereby contribute to further reductions in the CO2 emissions of traffic as a whole.


Why sustainable development?


Through corporate sustainability and its commitment to society the BMW Group is helping to secure its own future. By facing tomorrow’s challenges today, it is possible to find the right answers for the future; but those who set the wrong course now will soon find themselves at a dead-end. It is the aim of the BMW Group to be responsible and to add value at the same time.


This factor is also becoming increasingly recognised by the capital markets, where sustainability criteria are being incorporated into more and more company analyses. The BMW Group has an excellent rating in this area. For five consecutive years, the BMW Group has been named the world’s most sustainable automobile company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The BMW Group is the only automobile company to have been listed in the top three every year since the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes were initiated in 1999.


The company provides regular, in-depth information on the BMW Group’s sustainability activities in its Sustainable Value Report, which is available on the website


Embracing the principles of sustainability


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