Defined by design – or when reduction is about more than just leaving things out.
Nevertheless, around 35 young TEDxMünchen attendees showed up to discuss what they expect a big company like the BMW Group to be doing about sustainability. Daniela Bohlinger gave a brief introduction to her area of expertise, sustainability in design – which is clearly also a passion of hers.
Daniela Bohlinger, responsible for sustainable design at the BMW Group But that’s no excuse for not trying to find the best solutions – solutions that enable both genuine sustainability and a high-quality product. Not to mention fantastic, innovative design, which I believe is exactly what our products stand for. Let me give you an example: Our experience has shown that 80 percent of the genuine sustainability in technically complex products like cars begins with the design. The next step is to find the right materials and build the tools needed. For instance, if plastic parts have a very small radius it may mean we can’t use recycled materials, because they have a different flow rate. I wanted to talk about the conflicts between all aspects of sustainability.
You talk about “genuine sustainability”. What does that mean?
With BMW i, more than 10 years ago, we were already thinking about how to minimise the car’s footprint throughout its entire lifecycle – not just during the use phase. This also includes using batteries beyond the end of a vehicle's life in so-called second-life applications, for example. Because at the end of the vehicle’s life, a BMW i3 battery normally still has enough capacity to be used as a buffer for storing surplus renewable energy in a battery storage farm. Or, to give you an example that is more tangible for customers: The interior trim in the BMW i is made of a mixed fabric containing kenaf, a fast-growing natural fibre.
The overall tone was very positive. There’s generally the expectation that we still have to do much more. I agree with that.
How did the young people voice their expectation that there is still a lot to do?
We talked a great deal about BMW i and what the BMW Group has already achieved. But, at the same time, you start to wonder about things like why we don’t systematically expand recycling to all our products? BMW i doesn’t just stand for electric – it stands above all for innovation. Depending on the drive technology and vehicle class, our aim is for all our products to be among the best in the marketplace. The BMW Group strategy refers to this as the “Power of Choice”: This means customers get to choose the best drive technologies for their needs. Like I said, all of these aspire to be the most efficient in the competitive environment.
Jan 26, 2020 at 13:53