Gap Score: +5.8
  • At its Research and Innovation Centre in Munich, BMW recovers the brake and heat energy from its engine test benches. By doing this, it can save 4,500 MWh hours of energy per year, equivalent to about 3,500 tons of CO2.

  • In BMW’s U.S. manufacturing plant in South Carolina—with about 8,000 people on-site—94% of all waste generated, both in the office and out on the plant floor, is recycled.

  • Sustainably designed BMW dealerships worldwide help save water through ultra-modern process water management. Sophisticated technologies can reduce water consumption by as much as 30%.

  • BMW has teamed up with photovoltaic technology provider SOLARWATT, based in Dresden, Germany, to design a solar carport for charging its line of electric cars (as well as other EVs) and to provide power for homes.

Working Together

BMW’s global supply chain network makes a major contribution to value creation, quality, and innovative strength, and therefore to the success of the BMW Group. To ensure sustainability and continuous improvement throughout the entire supplier network, BMW identifies and manages potential sustainability risks and works closely with suppliers to promote resource efficiency, provide training, and engage them in initiatives. Innovative partnerships have also proven to be fruitful for the brand. BMW and SOLARWATT have collaborated to create a solar carport system that has been customized for BMW electric vehicles and also powers the home. The brand is also collaborating with Boeing Commercial Airplanes for a joint research effort in carbon fiber recycling.

The Green Advantage

As an automotive brand, BMW’s primary focus in the sustainability space is environmental impact, specifically CO2 reduction. As a leading brand in mobility technology, BMW can potentially drive the change necessary to transition the world to the sustainable cars of the future—and its achievements toward that end are already remarkable. The BMW i3 battery electric vehicle, for example, can emit 30–50% less total life cycle greenhouse gases than comparable conventional vehicles. Although environmental issues are BMW’s focus, its commitments to intercultural innovation and social inclusion, road safety, and arts and culture are worth mentioning. Despite its admirable efforts, BMW still has work to do to establish sustainably as a key dimension of its brand, comparable to its associations with performance and luxury. If BMW can show that driving pleasure and corporate citizenship are both integral elements of the brand, the gap between its performance and perception can be narrowed.


Sustainable Value Report 2013
BMW Unveils Solar-Energy Harvesting Carport
The zero-emission electric BMW ActiveE
Boeing and BMW Group collaborate on carbon fiber recycling