With its Mission:Zero environmental program launched in 2018, Audi aims to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations worldwide by 2025. Audi’s Neckarsulm site, one of the company’s largest production sites for over 100 years, exemplifies some of the key Mission:Zero initiatives underway.
The program has four main action areas and objectives:
- Decarbonization – Audi sites will become carbon neutral by 2025
- Water usage – Closed water cycles and wastewater-free production sites
- Resource efficiency – Circular economy and effective and efficiency use of raw materials
- Biodiversity – Projects for protecting and preserving biological diversity at all Audi sites
The Neckarsulm plant already has the greatest concentration of electrified models at one Audi site with the plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid versions of the A6, A7 and A8. Since late 2020, Audi Neckarsulm has been building the e-tron GT, the first fully electric Audi model at a German site.
To achieve decarbonization, the site uses a combination of biogas for its CHP plant and carbon offsets based on certified projects. The buildings on the site are optimized using a range of energy efficiency measures and aluminum scraps are returned to the supplier as part of the “Aluminum Closed Loop“ process. Additionally, the site uses low-NOx trucks for operations, R33 BlueDiesel low-carbon fuel for vehicles, and a significant charging infrastructure including 600 charging points. Audi has achieved net savings of more than 525,000 metric tons of carbons since the program began.
To reduce water usage, the site plans to implement a closed water cycle system — a pilot program is currently underway — with the installation of a new water supply system in 2022, which will close the loop between the site and a nearby wastewater treatment plant from 2025 onwards. The closed cycle will reduce freshwater consumption by 70%.
To effectively manage its waste, the site converts plastic film waste into trash bags that are used at the site, saving about 40% of what it spends on trash bags. Logistics managers work with suppliers to optimize several component packages by replacing or removing packaging, eliminating nearly 31 tons of non-recyclable packaging at the site. Additionally, the site is experimenting with 3D printers to shred plastic packaging waste from assembly and turn it into 3D printer filament. 3D printers are used to create assembly aids, such as protective caps or pressing aids, for employees.
To protect and preserve habitats, the site runs a honey bee program, including planting more than 35 species of flowers annually to provide habitat and food sources for pollinators and other insects. Audi is a member of the cross-industry Biodiversity in Good Company initiative and also supports numerous environmental projects aimed at preserving biodiversity through the Audi Environmental Foundation.