COP17: BMW Group announces major sustainability initiatives at COP17 in South Africa


The BMW Group is the first manufacturer to bring e-mobility to South African roads with a MINI E experience. The BMW Group partners with the City of Tshwane on a waste-to-energy project. A major corporate social responsibility engagement in KwaZulu-Natal.

BMW Co17

Durban, South Africa – The BMW Group, the world’s leading provider of premium cars, announced three major sustainability initiatives at the BMW Group Sustainable Future Conference held in Durban, South Africa today.

The conference was held as a side event to the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol, which runs from 28 November to 9 December 2011.

The conference, held at the impressive Moses Mabhida Stadium, took a closer look at what the BMW Group has already achieved in terms of sustainability and climate mitigation strategies globally and how the company’s future local initiatives will further assist South Africa in meeting its environmental responsibilities.

Speaking at the conference, Dr. Rainer Feurer – BMW Group Vice President Corporate Strategy and Planning, Environment – said: “The BMW Group aims to be the world’s leading provider of premium products and services for individual mobility. Sustainability is an integral part of the BMW Group’s Corporate Strategy.”

BMW South Africa Managing Director, Mr. Bodo Donauer announced three major initiatives at the conference which further highlight the BMW Group’s strategy of taking local action for a global goal in terms of climate change.

A South African e-mobility experience.
“The BMW Group will reinforce its position as the world’s most sustainable automaker by becoming the first manufacturer to bring e-mobility to South African roads,” Donauer said.

 “We will give our customers the opportunity to experience the MINI E at a series of countrywide road shows in the first half of 2012,” he continued.

Not only will these road shows provide the BMW Group with important information about local customer’s e-mobility requirements but they will also highlight some of the infrastructural hurdles South Africa needs to overcome to adopt e-mobility as a viable means of reducing CO2 emissions.

Waste-to-energy project in conjunction with the City of Tshwane.
The BMW Group has accomplished a great deal by implementing sustainable measures throughout the value chain.

Dr. Rainer Feurer said: “Sustainability throughout the entire value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to resource conservation go hand in hand with the success of the BMW Group. We are acting in a sustainable and responsible way in all areas – worldwide and also here in South Africa.”

In South Africa, the company has almost halved energy usage and emissions at BMW Plant Rosslyn in Pretoria, saving more than R50-million in energy costs since 2006.

“However, we believe we can do more and have conducted a Renewable Energy Project investigating the technical and economic feasibility of supplying Plant Rosslyn solely by means of renewable energy, or in combination with the existing power supply,” announced Donauer. “I’m proud to say that we will take further steps in this regard by partnering with the City of Tshwane on a waste-to-energy project next year.”

The project is similar to a landfill gas programme which is responsible for providing BMW Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina, USA with around half of its energy requirements. Methane gas – converted from unusable organic waste at a landfill site in Onderstepoort – will be piped approximately 8km to BMW Plant Rosslyn. Depending on the quantity supplied, the gas will be used to either produce electricity via gas generators or supplement the usage of natural gas in the production process, a resource which contributes approximately 50% to the company’s energy consumption.

Initial indications are that there is enough green waste at the site to cater for approximately 40% of Plant Rosslyn’s gas requirements.

This is another step in a process which will see all of Plant Rosslyn’s energy requirements supplied from renewable resources in the future.

A COP 17 Legacy Project in KwaZulu-Natal.
The conference continued to demonstrate the BMW Group’s position as industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for the last seven years by focussing on all three aspects of sustainability – economic, environmental and social – when it announced a major corporate social responsibility engagement in KwaZulu-Natal.

The company’s highly successful BMW Maths, Science and Technology Excellence Project will be implemented in two high- and three primary schools in the Nyavini district south of Durban.

These schools will also be incorporated into the BMW SEED (School Environmental Educational Development) Programme, which teaches learners about a sustainable life-style including farming techniques, taking care of their surroundings and entrepreneurial skills. As a positive side-effect, produce from the SEED gardens will ensure learners receive at least one nutritious meal each day – which is essential for their development and not a matter of course in this area of the country.

Finally, in a Public-Private Partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, the BMW Group will construct an HIV and AIDS clinic in the Nyavini district. The clinic, modelled on a similar clinic built by the BMW Group in Soshanguve in 2005, will also provide basic health care to the community, which is situated some 50km from the nearest hospital.

“The BMW Group’s extensive engagements at COP17 and related events to the summit demonstrate that the BMW Group is pro-actively shaping its future,” concluded Donauer. “One thing is clear is that the individual mobility of tomorrow will be different from that of today and we are trying to imagine the future in the present. By becoming the first manufacturer to bring e-mobility to South African roads we’re reconfirming that the BMW Group represents the future of individual mobility.”