Strategy and organization
The automotive industry is experiencing fundamental change, driven by three major developments: urbanization, digitalization and sustainability. Audi charts a clear course for the future with its Strategy 2025. Its fundament is low-emission or emission-free cars, supplemented by new solutions for sustainable premium mobility, intelligent connectivity and overarching concepts such as the circular economy.
Scarce resources, environmental damage, climate change and population growth – all aspects that influence, society, politics and business. Society’s values continue to evolve and sustainability is becoming the manifestation of an outlook on life for more and more people. We build cars that reflect that outlook. To that end, we are pushing ahead with the development of innovative drive technologies and pursuing the principles of the circular economy. In other words, we believe sustainable action starts as early as the product design and procurement processes and extends right up to the recycling of the vehicle.
Urbanization is gathering pace: By 2025, an estimated 58 percent of all people on the planet will be city-dwellers, rising to about two thirds by 2050. Growing urbanization is pushing urban infrastructures to their capacity limits. To ensure that individual mobility does not cause things to grind to a halt, new solutions are needed. And we need to rethink the way we use scarce resources – living space needs to be used better, noise reduced, congestion avoided and air quality improved. This is where urbanization and sustainability tightly enmeshed.
This new way of thinking represents a paradigm shift: In the city of the future, Audi will increasingly step into the role of a mobility services provider and offer its customers innovative ways of accessing individual premium mobility. Technologies such as piloted parking and piloted driving will help make driving safer and more environmentally acceptable, and will use precious space more effectively than at present.
The mobility solutions of the future will be based on sustainable drive concepts that will only become extensively available in a few years’ time. Audi is therefore steadily reducing the consumption of its combustion-engine models. By 2025 around one third of the fleet will be made up of all-electric vehicles, starting with the launch of a sporty SUV in 2018. A comprehensive system offering will make it easier for customers to run their cars on green power. Sustainably produced Audi e-fuels, CO2-neutral production and a supply chain that meets environmental standards are further building blocks of Audi’s sustainability strategy.
The Sustainability department packages the measures within the divisions. It is responsible for the focus of the sustainability strategy and reports directly to the full Board of Management of AUDI AG at least twice annually. The department oversees stakeholder management with the aim of integrating the expectations and opinions of stakeholders into the strategy. It is also responsible for communication regarding corporate responsibility and participation in sustainability ratings.
The department’s employees engage in regular dialogue with the international Group companies in order to further develop the joint understanding of sustainability and to coordinate measures. At Group level, they also participate in the Sustainability Steering Group of Volkswagen AG to synchronize approaches and guidelines that apply for the entire Group. The department is also in charge of the Sustainability Steering Group. This is composed of representatives from the seven divisions plus one representative from the Works Council, and meets every two months.
In the Audi Sustainability Report, the Group documents its goals for sustainability efforts as well as the projects and measures it launches in order to achieve them. Audi provides annual information on its progress, using as its basis the G4 Guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
The overriding goal is for all decisions in the Company to be made taking economic, ecological and social aspects into account. Guidance is provided by various internal guidelines and codes, including the Audi Code of Conduct, the environmental policy, the compliance guidelines for the Audi Management Board and numerous works agreements.
AUDI AG joined the United Nations Global Compact as an independent company in February 2012. The Company has signed on to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the principles of the International Labour Organization and of the OECD, the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the UN Convention against Corruption. AUDI AG, as a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, suspended its membership of the UN Global Compact effective November 12, 2015, in light of the emissions scandal. AUDI AG is currently clarifying all matters with the UN Global Compact and seeking readmission. Notwithstanding suspension of its membership, we emphasize our commitment to the principles of the UN Global Compact.
The findings of the dialogues that Audi engages in with the stakeholder groups are fed into what we call the “materiality analysis”. Since 2012 the company has been working systematically to determine the relevance of a range of sustainability-related issues and map them in a matrix, which is updated and expanded on a regular basis.
The decisive data basis for the materiality matrix is provided by the stakeholder surveys – opinion polls and interviews that can be conducted online, in person or by means of a questionnaire. The first of these surveys were carried out in 2012 – including a survey of customers in the Chinese, German and American markets. At the start of 2013, Audi analyzed how 1,500 employees at the Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm, Brussels and Győr locations rated the importance of sustainability topics at Audi and the company’s performance in tackling them.
In August 2014, Audi interviewed its management representatives in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Hungary, in order to compare their views with the findings already fed into the materiality matrix. And in 2015 the project titled “Materiality analysis of international sustainability aspects for AUDI AG” was carried out in cooperation with the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences (Munich). The goal was to find out to what extent the sustainability aspects defined by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) are considered relevant for Audi in various countries. In 2016 assessments by Audi dealers in Germany and employees who participated in sustainability training were fed into the materiality analysis.
The findings of the materiality analysis are mapped in the materiality matrix. This expresses the relevance for Audi managers (on the x-axis) and for internal and external stakeholders (on the y-axis) in relation to each other. The stakeholder groups’ assessments are averaged and weighted before being entered in the matrix. The 2014-2015 findings indicate stakeholders attach a particularly high degree of importance to safe, innovative and efficient vehicles; the areas of interest they share with the company are customer orientation and financial stability. Among the employee-related topics, corporate culture attracted the greatest interest.
The materiality process and the materiality matrix form the basis for the Audi Group’s long-term sustainability efforts. The process is concentrated on management approaches and management systems, which are essential for Audi’s future-oriented focus and commitments to social responsibility. Of particular importance are issues that because of their strong connection to the core business are highly significant in regard to the future viability and long-term strategic orientation of the company.
Since 2012, the Audi Group has taken part in the renowned oekom research rating. The Company was awarded the distinction of “Corporate Responsibility Prime Status” in recognition of its above-average contribution to social and environmental compatibility. The information gleaned from the sustainability rating is channeled into guidelines and activities in order to strengthen our corporate responsibility.