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BMW goes on circular economy drive to reduce carbon footprint

Professional Engineering


BMW will increase the use of recycled materials in its cars as it tries to bring down its carbon footprint, amid global efforts to minimise warming to 1.5 degrees.

The Neue Klasse – the next line of vehicles form the German automaker – will focus on the principles of the circular economy, as the company tries to cut its global CO2 emissions. 

It’s aiming to bring down both the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in making the vehicles, but also when they’re used – the use phase accounts for 70 per cent of the BMW Group’s CO2 footprint, and the firm has pledged to halve it by 2030. Overall, it aims to reduce the emissions of the vehicles' entire life cycle by at least 40 per cent. 

“How companies are dealing with CO2 emissions has become a major factor when it comes to judging corporate action. The decisive factor in the fight against global warming is how strongly we can improve the carbon footprint of vehicles over their entire lifespan. This is why we are setting ourselves transparent and ambitious goals for the substantial reduction of CO2 emissions; these are validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative and will deliver an effective and measurable contribution,” said Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, in Munich on Thursday. “With the Neue Klasse we are significantly sharpening our commitment and also committing ourselves to a clear course for achieving the 1.5 degree target.”

The biggest step will, of course, be the manufacture and adoption of electric vehicles. The company will be putting around ten million EVs on the road in the next 10 years, and by 2030 at least half of all BMW Group sales will be all-electric, with the MINI brand going exclusively electric from 2030. 

The second step is to use more recycled materials in the production of those cars. “2017 was the first time the world’s population consumed more than 100 billion tonnes of resources within a single year – a trend which we in the automotive industry must also counteract,” Zipse demanded. “This is a strategic issue, concerning not only ecological but also economic sustainability; the current development of commodity prices demonstrates the impact an industry that is dependent on limited resources must expect.”

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


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