BMW Group puts sustainability and efficient resource management at centre of strategic plan

The Group plans to increase the share of Secondary material in its vehicles significantly by 2030.

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Sustainable Initiatives
August 4 2020
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The BMW Group is making sustainability and resource efficiency central to the company’s strategic direction. Chairman of the Board of Management Oliver Zipse announced initial details of this strategic direction in Munich and presented the targets the company has set itself for the phase up to 2030.

As part of this process, the Group is setting itself clear targets for CO2 reduction up to 2030. For the first time, these extend throughout the entire lifecycle: from the supply chain through production to the end of the use phase. The aim is to significantly reduce carbon emissions per vehicle by at least one third across the entire spectrum, as per the press release. For a fleet of around 2.5 million vehicles, as produced by the Group in 2019, this would correspond to a reduction of more than 40 million tonnes of CO2 over the lifecycle in 2030.

“I firmly believe the fight against climate change and how we use resources will decide the future of our society – and of the BMW Group. As a premium car company, it is our ambition to lead the way in sustainability. That is why we are taking responsibility here and now and making these issues central to our future strategic direction,” said Oliver Zipse. “This new strategic direction will be anchored in all divisions – from administration and purchasing to development and production, all the way to sales. We are taking sustainability to the next level.”

The board of management and executive management will be measured against new sustainability targets.

“We have made a very clear commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. With this new strategic direction, we are therefore setting a course that is in accordance with the well below two-degrees target. We are not just making abstract statements – we have developed a detailed ten-year plan with annual interim goals for the timeframe up to 2030,” said Zipse.

Starting next year, the Group will publish its financial figures and general business development in an integrated report that will also include updates on its sustainability goals, so they will be subjecting their sustainability activities to even broader external and independent scrutiny than in the past “because transparency is the best way to strengthen credibility,” he noted.   

Resource management also plays a central role in the Group's business model. By making the recycling chain more transparent, the BMW Group aims to create high-quality secondary material and enable itself to track actual further use of raw materials in the cycle.

Vehicles already have to be 95 percent recyclable – but the percentage of secondary material in new vehicles is still relatively low. So, the Group plans to increase the share of secondary material in its vehicles significantly by 2030.  

Having already lowered carbon emissions per vehicle produced by more than 70% since 2006, the BMW Group now aims to reduce its emissions by a further 80% from 2019 levels by 2030, bringing it to less than 10 percent of what they were in 2006. In addition to sourcing 100-percent green power as of this year, the Group will systematically invest in optimising its energy efficiency and using the possibilities enabled by digitalisation.  

It plans to lower CO2 emissions on the road through millions of electrified vehicles with the aim of reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent per kilometre driven. Massive expansion of e-mobility is set to drive this, and the goal is to have a total of more than 7 million electrified vehicles on the roads in ten years – around two thirds of them with a fully-electric drive train.

“The best vehicles in the world are sustainable. That is why premium and sustainability will be even more inextricably linked in the future,” said Zipse.  

The Group also began utilising its vehicles’ extensive connectivity to increase the amount of electric driving by plug-in hybrids this year. One of the ways the Group aims to lower carbon emissions per vehicle by 20 percent from 2019 levels is by defining a supplier’s carbon footprint as a decision criterion in its contract award processes. The company is the first automobile manufacturer to establish concrete CO2 targets for its supply chain, which comprises around 12,000 tier 1 partners worldwide who supply material and components for vehicles, plus additional suppliers providing production equipment or tools, as per the statement.  

The circular economy plays a particularly crucial role when it comes to high-voltage batteries for electrified vehicles, which use a number of critical raw materials. Although the European Union currently requires a recycling rate of only 50 percent for high-voltage batteries, the BMW Group has partnered with German recycling specialist Duesenfeld to develop a method that can achieve a recycling rate of up to 96 percent – including graphite and electrolytes. The BMW Group already takes back all used BMW high-voltage batteries worldwide – even though there is no legal requirement to do so. Before recycling comes second-life usage at battery storage farms like the one at BMW Group Plant Leipzig.


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