Mission zero

Resource scarcity, environmental pollution and climate change are among the greatest challenges we face today. The Audi Group helps manage them by manufacturing sustainable products and developing innovative drive technologies as well as starting to reduce its environmental footprint as early as the production stage. That means using resources such as energy and water carefully, and avoiding emissions of carbon dioxide, solvents and waste.

08/15/2018 Text: Anna Niemann, illustrations: BrandsOnSpeed GmbH, video: Pierre Desmets Talking Business

How is Audi making carbon-neutral production a reality?

Vehicle manufacturing produces CO₂ emissions at various stages, including the provision of electricity, heating or transportation at the plant.

In 2014, Audi was the first premium carmaker to determine its corporate carbon footprint according to an internationally accepted standard. It marked a key step toward transparency in the company’s greenhouse gas emissions. Today, these emissions can be analyzed in even greater detail and effectively reduced.

Brussels is an example: Production at the site is completely carbon neutral, as certified by independent experts. That makes the facility both a pioneer and a role model. It is also logical that the first purely electric series-production vehicle, the Audi e-tron, is manufactured here. This is one effort not only to secure the company’s own future, but also to play its part in achieving the strategic goal of sustainability.
Since 2016, the switch to green electricity has enabled Audi Brussels to prevent the release of around 17,000 metric tons of CO₂ into the atmosphere each year – equivalent to the footprint of some 1,500 Germans per year. 
The Audi plant in Brussels has the largest photovoltaic system in the region on its roof, covering an area about the size of five soccer fields.
Audi in Brussels offsets CO₂ emissions generated by the use of natural gas by purchasing biogas certificates, thereby compensating for around 22,000 metric tons of CO₂ pollution annually. For this amount, an Audi A3 Sedan could drive nearly 4,200 times around the globe.
Starting in 2018, the Brussels site will compensate with certificates around 4,250 metric tons of CO 2 each year that cannot be avoided by using other energy sources. That’s enough to power a cruise ship with 4,000 passengers at sea for about five days.

Green electricity

As early as 2012, Audi in Brussels began purchasing green electricity and preventing the emission of up to 17,000 metric tons of CO₂ per year. In 2013, the largest photovoltaic system in the region was installed. Measuring 37,000 square meters – approximately the size of five soccer fields – it produces enough green electricity to power the equivalent of over 760 four-person households for one year. At the same time, heating of the plant is carbon neutral thanks to the purchase of biogas certificates. All other emissions produced by fuels, heating oil or incinerating solvents are offset through so-called carbon credit projects.

Apart from reducing CO₂ emissions, other steps are taken to improve the site’s environmental footprint. Additional projects protect the environment by conserving water and energy or reducing emissions of pollutants into the air and water.

All processes are founded on efficiency. And that includes avoiding materials that are harmful to the environment and making optimum use of resources. Cutting-edge technology is used to accomplish this.

Environmental protection in Brussels

The overview shows how diverse and extensive environmental protection is at the Brussels plant and outlines the projects underway in the production facilities.

Audi Group production sites

The following overview shows a few examples among many. They are instrumental in ensuring that the company meets its ecological targets.

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