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BMW pledges climate neutrality across supply chain, focus on circular economy as it reviews non-financial KPIs

“The interior of a car must increasingly be made of monomaterials…”

BMW circular economy

BMW has vowed to halve CO2 emissions per vehicle and kilometre driven from 2019 levels by 2030, while pledging to “hugely” increase  its use of secondary materials in a major circular economy push. The German marquee also vowed to cut production and supply chain CO2 emissions per vehicle down 40%.

BMW Group new “Circular Design” concept will see it guarantee the economical dismantling capacity of vehicles, the automaker said in a September 2 blog.

“It is essential that disassembly of the vehicle and its individual components is fast and cost-efficient to ensure that prices of secondary materials are competitive. It all starts with the construction of the vehicle, which must be done in such a way that allows materials to be removed at the end of the vehicle’s service life without different types of material being mixed with each other” the company noted.

“To support this early and easy extraction of materials, the interior of a car must increasingly be made of monomaterials, so that at the end of the car’s lifecycle, as much as possible can be transferred back into the usable material cycle. Basically, reducing the number of materials can help to improve the quality of recycled materials. Currently, vehicles consist of about 8,000 to 10,000 different materials.”

BMW Circular Economy Pledge Comes with just 1 Hard Number

Few hard numbers were provided on the BMW circular economy push, although it noted that its vehicles are manufactured using almost 30 percent recycled and reusable materials. With a “Secondary First” approach, BMW Group plans to successively raise this figure to 50 percent, it said, noting that “supply of secondary materials is considerably less CO2-intensive than… primary materials and can significantly improve CO2 footprint, especially within the supply chain.”

No hard numbers on reduction of materials used in its interiors were provided.

The automaker, which boasts vehicles like the huge X7 M50i (CO2 emissions of 258 g/km; 21.6 mpg driven carefully) in its line-up, says it is also committed to the goal of full climate neutrality over the entire value-added chain by 2050 at the latest.

Can we expect it to drop particular engine types or materials? Perhaps not. BMW said it “convinced that this can be achieved using innovation, rather than any overall ban on individual technologies” but noted that it continues comply with the stringent criteria of the Science Based Targets Initiative, when it comes to measuring the reduction of worldwide CO2 emissions of the company’s vehicles.

“For example, emissions from the production of fuel or electricity are included in the calculation and consumption is based on the WLTP cycle plus ten percent”, BMW said, adding that the company is on track to meet 2030 EU fleet targets.

“The most powerful driver on this path to climate neutrality is electric mobility,” BMW added, saying “during the next ten years or so, the company will be putting around ten million all-electric vehicles on the road. As early as 2030, at least half of global BMW Group sales will be all-electric vehicles, with the MINI brand offering exclusively all-electric vehicles from 2030”.

BMW in 2020 opted to roll its annual “sustainable value report” into its Annual Report, saying it wants to “inform stakeholders about the BMW Group’s business
performance in a single integrated report.”

The company added that “In light of the announcement that the major standards institutions (GRI, SASB, CDSB, CDP / TCFD and IIRC) intend to collaborate, alongside regulatory developments relating to non-financial reporting (including the revision of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive), the reporting environment is likely to continue gaining momentum. At the same time, the BMW Group sees the development of business strategy as an ongoing task, in order to remain flexible within an increasingly dynamic environment. Both aspects will play a key role in future reporting. For this reason, the BMW Group plans to review its non-financial performance indicators in 2021.”

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