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Case study: How the BMW Group optimises energy efficiency

Trying to become the most successful and sustainable premium provider of individual mobility globally, the BMW Group integrates sustainability along its entire value chain and into all basic processes, seeking to create added value for the company, the environment and society, not least by improving resource efficiency – including energy.

This case study is based on the 2017 Sustainable Value Report by the BMW Group published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Abstract

The BMW Group continuously works to conserve resources and reduce energy consumption  Tweet This!, by optimising processes and investing in more efficient technologies. In order to optimise energy efficiency the BMW Group took action to:
  • increase electricity generation from combined heat and power systems
  • replace lights by LEDs at production plants
  • improve processes to reduce energy consumption at plants
  • launch a digitalisation project for energy consumption and production data

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2017 Sustainable Value Report the BMW Group identified a range of material issues, such as fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions of vehicles, environmental and social standards in the supply chain / sustainable sourcing, occupational health and safety, pollutant emissions of vehicles, connected and autonomous driving. Among these, optimising energy efficiency stands out as a key material issue for the BMW Group.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups the BMW Group engages with:  

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Capital market

 

·      Dialogue

·      Conferences and technology workshops with investors and analysts on the strategic topics of electromobility and autonomous driving

Suppliers ·      Dialogue in the context of industry initiatives

·      Joint events

·      Training courses

·      Presentations

·      Supplier risk assessments

·      Learning from Suppliers forum

Networks and associations

 

·      Participation of Board members, technical experts or subject specialists in a number of initiatives, forums and events

·      Memberships of initiatives

Policymakers

 

·      Workshops on key topics

·      Regular “Green Tables” with German parliamentarians

Research

 

·      Round tables

·      Visits from universities

·      Lectures

·      Discussions

·      BMW Group Dialogue with students

Media ·      Dialogue within the context of press trips

·      Press releases

·      Informational events on new products

·      Test drives

·      Trade fairs

Business partners ·      Dialogue with sales organisations and the association of
 German BMW dealerships·      Business conferences·      Dialogue via the central coordinating units of importers
Local stakeholders ·      One-on-one dialogue

·      Plant visits

·      Neighbourhood dialogue

·      Press events

Civil society and NGOs ·      Face-to-face meetings/dialogue

·      Responding to enquiries

Employees ·      Dialogue with employees and managers

·      Employee survey

·      Idea management

·      Internal media

Customers ·      Customer survey

·      Social media

·      Trade fairs

·      Media

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics the BMW Group carried out telephone interviews with 13 representative stakeholders who included customers, suppliers, investors, authorities, NGOs and scientists from different regions of the world.

What actions were taken by the BMW Group to optimise energy efficiency?

In its 2017 Sustainable Value Report the BMW Group reports that it took the following actions for optimising energy efficiency:

  • Increasing electricity generation from combined heat and power systems
  • In 2017, the BMW Group increased electricity generation from combined heat and power systems by approximately 9 per cent, to 361,000 MWh. The company installed a new machine at its plant in Oxford/UK, and is preparing for the continued development of combined heat and power by carrying out preliminary work on the heating grids at the Munich/DE plant.
  • Replacing lights by LEDs at production plants
  • In 2017, the BMW Group almost completed the process of replacing lights by LEDs at its production plants. As a result of this shift, the company saved more than 67,700 MWh in energy and avoided CO2 emissions of approximately 28,000 tonnes.
  • Improving processes to reduce energy consumption at plants
  • By developing pig preheating at its plant in Landshut/DE, the BMW Group managed to reduce energy consumption in the light alloy smelter by a significant amount. In preheating chambers that use exhaust gas heat from other processes, aluminium ingots are now heated to a temperature of 400°C, before they are melted in smelters. As a result of the reduced melting time, the BMW Group saves more than 11,000 MWh of energy every year and significantly reduces CO2 emissions from the melting process, achieving annual cost savings of approximately € 350,000.
  • Launching a digitalisation project for energy consumption and production data
  • In 2017, the BMW Group launched a digitalisation project in the area of energy consumption and production data. By analysing power consumption figures of complex manufacturing structures and the facility management system, the company is able to determine optimal operating conditions. On the basis of this information, the BMW Group constantly optimises processes and increases energy efficiency, through innovative approaches.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 302-3 Energy intensity

2) Disclosure 302-4 Reduction of energy consumption

 

Disclosure 302-3 Energy intensity corresponds to:

Disclosure 302-4 Reduction of energy consumption corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified and IEMA approved Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI-Standards Certified and IEMA approved Course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by the BMW Group, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to the BMW Group: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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