San José Chiapa
Audi Habita – playfully learning about sustainability
Mexico has been part of the Audi family since 2016. Here in San José Chiapa, the
Audi Q5 rolls off the production line at an altitude of 2,400 meters. It’s the first model ever to be produced outside of Europe.
One thing was clear, even before the first brick was laid at the site: all activities here should be governed by principals of ecological, economic and social sustainability. And so, from the very beginning, corporate responsibility has played a central role at Audi México. The Audi Habita project is a perfect example from the area of corporate social responsibility.
Audi México: combatting environmental problems with young sustainability ambassadors
With Audi Habita, Audi has been looking out for the environment and the people at the production site since 2018. In concrete terms, this means that children from the San José Ozumba community are learning through play how important it is to use natural resources sustainably. Each year, Audi invites 30 children from the local elementary school Primaria Justo Sierra for two days of workshops.
Audi México is making a clear statement, starting with the name of the project. Habita is derived from the Spanish word “habitar,” which means “inhabit.” And that tells us what it’s all about: not the cars, but the inhabitants of the area, the people, and the environment.
A sustainable production site — how should that work?
First workshop day at Audi México. At each of the different stations, the 30 elementary school students learn what goes into making automobile production sustainable. Right away, the kids get a chance to try things out hands-on: by separating a pile of trash made up of typical household garbage and production waste. A few of the kids wrinkle up their noses but, in the end, every last piece of trash lands in the right trash can. Then they head to the next station: water purification. With magnifying glasses, the kids learn about what exactly can be found in the water from the production site’s water purification system: micro-organisms. And they learn from project manager Sarahy García how the tiny life forms help Audi México to save 100,000 cubic meters of water each year.
Every little bit counts — ambitions for environmental protection in the region
“The kids have some great ideas and are very excited about environmental protection and sustainability.”
Second workshop day at Audi México. The students head to a 100-hectare plot of land immediately next to the production site. This is where Audi México has planted over 100,000 trees and created 25,000 soak pits as part of its environmental preservation efforts. “This allows us to increase the groundwater levels and save around 800 tons of CO₂ each year at the same time,” explains Garcia.
Alongside Audi México’s environmental efforts, the second day of the workshop is also about the kids’ personal contribution to environmental protection. Their assignment: to think about what they could do in their own lives to treat nature with more respect. Each kid draws his or her ideas on a poster. Their answers? Spend less time in the shower, turn the light off when leaving a room, and properly sorting their trash.
At the end of the two days, a surprise is waiting for the young sustainability ambassadors: a certificate showing that they are Audi Environmental Ambassadors. And heartfelt praise from García: “The kids have some great ideas and are very excited about environmental protection and sustainability. That makes me feel confident about our future.” To Andreas Lehe, the president of Audi México, the project stands for more than just that: “With the Audi Habita project, we are sharing the best we have to offer with the next generation. Children deserve to live on the best planet possible.”
What makes the Audi México plant so special?
The production site in San José Chiapa is the newest and most modern plant in the Audi production network. Each year, the location’s approximately 5,360 employees produce just under 150,000 Audi Q5s for the global market. The SUV is the only model that is entirely produced outside the European continent.
Audi México is taking a pioneering role in the sustainable use of resources within the Volkswagen Group. The site produces the Audi Q5 entirely without waste-water — and they are the first automobile manufacturer in the world to do so.