“Sustainability” has become a buzzword throughout the auto industry, but unlike some other major brands, BMW has been incorporating this important ecological concept into its global operations for quite a long time. In fact, BMW’s commitment to sustainable practices has been recognized time and again by major environmental groups and industry organizations alike with the most recent praise coming from the Sustainable Asset Management (SAM) Group.
SAM is an investment group dedicated to analyzing companies from a unique perspective – that is, to chart not just their financial progress, but also their commitment to sustainable business practices. These two crucial aspects of corporate responsibility, along with several others, are evaluated and ranked by the SAM Group in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI), which track 57 industry sectors.
For those familiar with BMW’s dedication to sustainability, the revelation that the BMW Group once again topped the automotive industry with its DJSI performance should come as no surprise. Equally impressive is BMW’s track record when it comes to its Sustainability Index standings: The company has maintained a listing every year since the initiative began in 1999. What’s more, for the past six years, BMW has also enjoyed Supersector leader status on the DJSI, meaning the automaker reigns supreme as the most sustainable automotive company on the planet.
For Dr. Norbert Reithofer, BMW AG’s Board of Management chairman, SAM Group recognition of the company’s sustainability programs is yet another confirmation of BMW’s corporate leadership. “This independent ranking confirms once again that the BMW Group plays a leading role in the automotive industry of the future,” he said, when asked about the significance of achieving the position of Supersector leader for the sixth year running.
Reithofer also linked BMW’s corporate sustainability efforts to its overall philosophy regarding future vehicle design and civic responsibility. “For us, being the world’s most sustainable automobile company means accepting responsibility as a good corporate citizen,” he said. “It motivates us to continue along this path towards our vision of sustainable individual mobility.”
Taking a closer look at the BMW Group’s sustainability campaign, which guides its efforts in the areas measured by the DJSI, reveals a carefully plotted path. BMW’s Efficient Dynamics strategy, which includes the advancement of technologies specifically designed to reduce fuel consumption and vehicle greenhouse gas production, has been gradually marching toward the zero emissions goal. Billions of dollars of investment have dropped the emissions of BMW automobiles by almost one third over the past 13 years, and have developed the first BMW ActiveHybrid vehicles. The next stage for BMW is the electro-mobility concept, which will bring battery-powered automobiles and infrastructure design further to the fore.
Sustainability at BMW also means investigating alternative fuels such as hydrogen and renewable energy, both of which are tied into the idea of low to zero emissions. BMW’s interest in renewable energy extends to its production plants and other facilities where sweeping electricity-saving initiatives, as well as energy production from sources as diverse as landfill-produced methane and solar collectors, have dramatically lowered the company’s carbon footprint. BMW facilities also recycle an incredible 96 percent of the waste associated with automobile production, a figure no other car company can match. Not satisfied with this impressive accomplishment, BMW’s goal is to increase this number to 100 percent in the near future – a figure it has already achieved when it comes to processing its wastewater.
The respect associated with BMW’s Supersector leadership of the DJSI is welcome recognition of the company’s efforts. Furthermore, the philosophy of sustainability at BMW draws its main rewards from the positive impact it has on the lives of those affected by the corporation’s actions, and by the environmental stewardship that goes hand in hand with the concept. By serving as an example to other automakers, BMW hopes to inspire the entire industry to follow in its footsteps.
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