Together for a Better Future: Sustainability in the Automotive Industry

At the conference #ZEITfürKlima, Member of the Executive Board Production and Logistics of Porsche Albrecht Reimold talked about sustainability in the automotive industry.

Porsche Taycan: Electric power consumption* combined (WLTP) 25.4–20.4 kWh/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined (WLTP) 0 g/km;

People often ask me, „What will the mobility of tomorrow look like?”, to which I reply: The transformation in the automotive industry is faster and more profound than anything we have experienced before — and it is already noticeable today. The key forces shaping this transformation are digitization, increasing connectivity and new technologies such as AI, Big Data or Quantum Computing.

But above all, this is about creating sustainable — and therefore future-proof — mobility. What is needed are intelligent approaches and innovative solutions that meet both new mobility requirements and do justice to the key challenges of our time — first and foremost anthropogenic global warming.

#ZEITfürKlima conference: How do we shape the green transformation in the economy and society?

Albrecht Reimold talks about sustainability in the automotive industry (Credits: Andreas Henn)

Indeed, sustainability is one of the most important issues of the 21st century — and each of us should contribute to stop climate change. That’s why I was delighted to attend #ZEITfürKlima conference at the end of October, organized by the German publishing house DIE ZEIT. It was a truly inspiring and informative event. I had the opportunity to talk about Porsche’s sustainability approach — and the numerous experts, including Anna Alex, Alexander Britz, Prof. Dr. Timo Busch, Dr. Tillmann Lang or Ola Källenius made clear that sustainability concerns us all.

Speakers and experts from politics, business, science and society discussed solutions for a better future. Specifically, the topic was sustainability in all its facets: from urban mobility and smart cities to green banking and sustainable production. In all of those areas, there are already excellent, innovative approaches and considerable commitment all over the planet — both from existing industries and from young startups.

Sustainability at Porsche

With our “Porsche Strategy 2030” we at Porsche have clearly described our path to the mobility of tomorrow, placing an even stronger focus on sustainability than before. We want to live up to our responsibility towards people, society and the environment and understand sustainability holistically in its three dimensions, i.e. ecological, social and economical. Therefore, we structure our sustainability activities in six fields of action:

1. decarbonization

2. circular economy

3. diversity

4. partner-to-society

5. supply chain responsibility

6. governance & transparency

Together with the entire Volkswagen Group, we are playing a pioneering role. And we at Porsche have set ourselves one of the most ambitious sustainability targets in the automotive industry: By 2030, we want to have a CO2-neutral balance sheet throughout the entire value chain and the life cycle of newly sold vehicles.

That is why we not only assess the emissions and environmental impact of our own production, but also the entire life cycle of the vehicles — from material extraction to recycling.

In recent years, we have already made a start in our factories: Since 2019, we have been producing the Taycan in a CO2-neutral manner in Zuffenhausen, and since the beginning of 2020, this has also applied to our 911 and 718 sports cars. At the beginning of this year, our development center in Weissach and the plant in Leipzig also followed suit — meaning that all of Porsche’s major sites are already CO2-neutral.

Smart, Lean and Green

Porsche is a pioneer of sustainable mobility — by tradition. This goal was already important to Ferry Porsche: We took consistent action early on with regard to long-term guarantees, exhaust and safety technologies. Recyclability and durability have always been important for us — and for our customers. With our Porsche Way, we are pursuing the goal of a technological pioneering role — which is why we are consistently aligning the company with the mobility of the future — and thus sustainably.

Also anchored in our production strategy is the vision of the “Zero Impact Factory.” A factory that reduces its ecological footprint to a minimum. In our environmental and energy policy, we have already established clear guidelines for this in environmental protection, environmental targets, management behaviour and compliance. In line with our philosophy of “Porsche Production 4.0” — smart, lean and green — sustainability is, therefore, a very important aspect.

People remain at the center

In connection with “Industry 4.0”, there is often talk of a “revolution” that could replace humans in the long term. However, we are continuing to develop what we have already created in the past through lean methods, automation or in simulation and virtual product and production planning. What is important to me: We will not have a production that is devoid of people. At Porsche, the focus is on people — today and in the future. And that, too, is part of a holistic understanding of sustainability.

Albrecht Reimold is Member of the Executive Board Production and Logistics of Porsche AG.

About this publication: Where innovation meets tradition. There’s more to Porsche than sports cars — we’re tackling new challenges, develop digital products and think digital with a focus on the customer. On our Medium blog, we tell these stories. It’s about our #nextvisions, smart technologies and the people that drive our digital journey. Please follow us on Twitter (Porsche Digital, Next Visions), Instagram (Porsche Digital, Next Visions, Porsche Newsroom) and LinkedIn (Porsche AG, Porsche Digital) for more.

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