Balancing economics and ecology is a core aspect of Audi’s identity. Audi takes a transparent approach to environmental protection at the company and gets every employee involved in the related activities. This ensures that Audi systematically meets its environmental goals. The Audi Production System (APS) has been used intensively for this purpose in recent years as a means of implementing the company’s environmental policy at all levels. AUDI AG makes important contributions to sustainable development and environmental protection also by participating in the fourth Bavarian Environmental Pact.
Along the way to sustainable mobility, it is important that the environmental balance of an automobile’s entire lifecycle is optimized even before the first kilometer is driven. AUDI AG is therefore working hard to improve the carbon footprints of its manufacturing sites. The company has set itself the target of reducing its specific CO2 emissions by 25 percent by the year 2018 compared with emissions in 2010. Within the context of energy supply at Audi’s German sites, there are plans to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 40 percent per reference unit by 2020. Audi is pursuing a vision of completely CO2-neutral and waste-water-free manufacturing of all vehicles made in Ingolstadt. The other sites will gradually follow.
In this context, the Audi Group’s corporate carbon footprint was certified last year according to the globally valid standard ISO 14064. Audi is thus the first manufacturer in the premium segment with this certification. Based on detailed calculations, the Group’s total emissions of greenhouse gases are transparent along the entire value chain; this takes into consideration the emissions of the production plants including those of suppliers and services providers for all areas.
Environmental protection also means using natural resources sparingly. It is important for example to reduce noise emissions, waste water and energy consumption. Compared with figures from 2010, the entire Group has targeted a 25 percent reduction per reference unit by 2018 with regard to each of the following environmental factors: energy, fresh water, waste disposal and organic solvents (volatile organic compounds).
The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) of the European Union is consistently observed at all sites of the Audi Group. Furthermore, the Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Győr and Sant’Agata Bolognese sites conform to the DIN EN ISO 50001 standard, which stipulates especially demanding requirements for the systematic and ongoing reduction of energy consumption. The sites where the Audi Group produces as part of the VW Group’s network also satisfy the requirements of an environmental management system. The production sites in Bratislava (Slovakia), Martorell (Spain), Aurangabad (India) and Changchun and Foshan (China) are certified according to the global standard DIN EN ISO 14001. The same applies to the Ducati motorcycle factory in Bologna (Italy).
► Audi is working hard to reduce its vehicles’ fuel consumption and exhaust emissions even further: In this context, the company is developing long-term expertise in electric drive systems, is continually optimizing its highly efficient TDI and TFSI engines, and is utilizing the potential of lightweight construction. With regard to emissions of carbon dioxide, Audi already has 344 model versions in its product range that emit less than 140 grams of CO2 per kilometer, 101 with less than 120 g/km and 31 with less than 100 g/km.
► Audi is using more and more green power at its production facilities. Since early 2012, for instance, the entire Ingolstadt plant has been running on electricity generated from renewable energy sources. Also since 2012, the plant in Brussels has been using eco-friendly hydroelectricity.
► Ecological construction is the way forward. The customer building of Audi Neuburg has received the Gold Certificate from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). The central customer building is the first gold-certified building at the Audi Group; it meets all of the DGNB criteria with the grade “very good.” The Gold Certificate of the DGNB is a special award for outstanding planning and implementation quality. Audi is the first automobile manufacturer to achieve DGNB gold in the category “meeting/assembly areas.”
► The modern paint shop at the plant in Győr helps to reduce energy consumption as well. As a result of dry separation using recirculated air, energy consumption has been reduced by up to 50 percent compared with the conventional wet-separation technique. Solvent emissions have actually been reduced by 70 percent.
► In Hungary, Audi has started to install an ultramodern geothermal plant to gain heat energy. Thermal water at a temperature of approximately 100° Celsius from a planned drilling depth of about 2,400 meters is to be used to cover 60 percent (roughly 82,000 MWh per annum) of the site’s heat-energy requirements. Compared with the previous energy source, this will lead to reduced CO2 emissions of approximately 19,800 tons per annum. The plant is scheduled to go into operation in late 2015.
► Audi uses “green trains” powered by renewable electricity to transport cars from Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm to the North Sea shipment port in Emden, Germany. The reduction in CO2 emissions each year amounts to 7,517 tons at the Ingolstadt site and 3,026 tons at the Neckarsulm site.
► Photovoltaic systems are in operation at many sites of the Audi Group.
► Environmental protection at Audi does not end at the factory gate. The Eichenwald research project started back in 2008. In addition to the first test area near Ingolstadt, the project now covers various areas near the sites in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Győr (Hungary), Brussels (Belgium), Sant’Agata Bolognese (Italy) and San José Chiapa (Mexico) with a total of meanwhile 100,000 trees. The Audi Environment Foundation has assumed long-term scientific support for this project. Under the auspices of the professorship for forest growth of the Technical University of Munich and together with other project partners, one of the subjects being studied is the interdependency between forest densities on the one hand and CO2 capture effect and biological diversity on the other hand.
In recognition of its consistently pursued sustainability strategy along the entire value chain, Audi received the first-ever Sustainable Logistics Award in 2012. Jointly presented by the Austrian Logistics Association and the German Logistics Association, this international accolade recognizes transport concepts featuring resource-conserving approaches, which in some cases already achieve a zero-carbon footprint.
Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A., Bologna (Italy), reduced its CO2 emissions by about ten percent in 2014. This was achieved as a result for example of the new LED lighting that was installed in the production buildings. In addition, the “E-Ducati” campaign has been running at the company since late 2014. This campaign is intended to show employees how energy and water can be saved with little effort.
AUDI AG’s commitment to environmental issues is also demonstrated by the Audi Environmental Foundation, which has an endowment of five million euros. The foundation’s aim is to protect the natural basis for the lives of people, animals and plants. It funds measures and research activities that encourage the development of environmentally compatible non-automotive technologies and that contribute to environmental education and a sustainable human-environment system.
Examples from 2014
► Opening of the Steigerwald Center in Handthal in Germany’s Franconia region in the fall of 2014. In the information center with floor space of more than 1,000 square meters, visitors learn all about life in the forest with the use of interactive stations. The Audi Environment Foundation is providing support over a period of five years with the purchase of high-quality multimedia exhibits. The goal is to raise enthusiasm for the forest ecosystem, especially amongst children and teenagers, with the “tree to be experienced” for example. This is a core element of the exhibition and demonstrates natural cycles such as photosynthesis or water transport within a tree in a playful way.
► The Audi Environment Foundation started a new project specifically for the protection of endangered species in December 2014: Disused transformer substations are to be gradually converted into “objects of biodiversity” with support from the Species Protection Initiative in the federals state of Franconia. The first object in this project has started in Suhl in the federal state of Thuringia – the main objective here is to protect the house martin and Nathusius's pipistrelle, a species of bat. During the pilot phase of this project, two more transformer substations in the federal states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are being converted.
► The Audi Environment Foundation also supports a bee project of the Julius Maximilians University in Würzburg under the name of HOBOS, standing for Honey-Bee Online Studies, an online learning platform which is unique in the world. Biology students and other interested persons can have a live view inside two real beehives via video, allowing scientific study of the insects. As part of this partnership, a new high-tech beehive, the so-called smart HOBOS, will be installed on the site of Audi’s production facility in Münchsmünster this summer.
► Two non-commercial book projects were completed in early 2015: a basic book on bee research and a teachers’ guide with teaching materials for MINT lessons.
► Further information on the Audi Environmental Foundation can be found at www.audi-stiftung-für-umwelt.de).