AUDI AG is joining the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative to help develop a global standard for sustainable aluminum. As a pioneer of unitary aluminum car bodies, the company is taking the opportunity to influence the entire value chain of one of its most important materials – one of the objectives of Audi’s corporate-responsibility strategy.
“As a pioneer for lightweight construction, we are very interested in establishing a global standard for sustainable aluminum. This will allow us to further improve the environmental impact of our cars by using certified aluminum in the future,” explained Dr. Bernd Martens, Audi’s Board of Management Member for Procurement, with regard to joining the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative.
The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative was founded in the autumn of 2012 and aims to develop a sustainability standard for aluminum by the end of 2014, with the support of the environmental organization IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). It sets environmental and social criteria that apply to all stages of extracting the raw material as well as producing and processing aluminum. “Active responsibility is firmly anchored throughout our company. Also in our supply chains, we place priority on the integration of environmental protection and social responsibility,” emphasized Dr. Martens.
The new standard fits in well with Audi’s holistic approach to product responsibility: The premium manufacturer not only ensures that its automobiles are highly fuel efficient, but also analyzes the environmental impact of its products over their entire lifecycles – from the extraction of raw materials to production to operation to recycling.
For each new model series, Audi has a certified environmental analysis prepared in order to assess the impact on the environment; the objective is to reduce it compared with each model’s predecessor. For example, the company has been able to demonstrate that both the current Audi A6 and Audi A3 have improved in all relevant environmental categories. The new Audi A3 has a better environmental footprint than its predecessor right from the first kilometer. In addition to sustainable materials and manufacturing processes, ultra-lightweight construction plays an important role. This makes the Audi A3 up to 80 kilograms lighter than the previous generation; the A3 Sportback is actually up to 90 kilograms lighter.
Audi has positioned itself as a pioneer for lightweight construction. At the Frankfurt Motor Show 20 years ago, the premium brand presented the Audi Space Frame, a shimmering silver show car with an unpainted body made of polished aluminum. In 1994, the first Audi A8 went into series production. The car was based on a unitary aluminum body with a weight of just 249 kilograms.
With its ultra-lightweight construction today, Audi applies an intelligent material mix – according to the motto of “the right material in the right place in the minimum required quantity.” Lower weight enhances driving pleasure, improves safety, and has less impact on the environment. After all, every kilogram saved means less fuel is consumed and less CO2 is emitted.
Corporate responsibility is firmly anchored as a guiding principle in the Audi strategy. As well as financial success and international competitiveness, equal priority is placed on responsibility for employees and society, as well as on protecting the environment and resources along the value chain. Audi’s vision is to make CO2-neutral mobility possible.