The importance of stakeholder engagement is increasing. We rely on the opinions and suggestions of relevant stakeholders1 to guide us in the further development of our sustainability activities.
“The goal of engaging in dialogue with stakeholders is to get honest assessments from representatives from politics, industry, science and civil society on Audi’s process of transformation toward a sustainable mobility provider. In addition, the assessments of stakeholders help us continuously improve our performance in the area of ESG – in other words, Environmental, Social and Governance factors,” explains Roxana Codita, Audi Corporate Responsibility and expert on stakeholder management.
Expanding and maintaining the stakeholder network
Among the dialogue formats are expert discussions and plant visits, for example, but we also participate in public panel discussions and political debates. Another important format for Audi is the dialogue that takes place in the context of activities in associations or memberships in committees.
This focused dialogue delivers a clear picture of expectations at the topic level and strengthens mutual trust. Strengthening stakeholder acceptance for its transformation path is important to the company. There were a number of events in the past months where stakeholders provided new ideas along with their opinions and suggestions. A selection:
Audi held 21 dialogue events with stakeholders in 2022
Audi reached approximately 10,000 participants – incl. GREENTECH FESTIVAL – mainly via external events
The top three topics were circular economy, sustainability in the supply chain and inclusion & diversity
Accelerating Decarbonization in Urban Mobility - Today and in the Future
AUDI AG and Audi of America partnered with transportation researchers at the University of Washington, Sustainable Transportation Lab, to convene Mobility Thought leaders from across the greater Seattle region on June 27, 2023. Seattle has been known for many decades as the home of innovation, technology, and progressive governmental policies birthing companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks and many others. The city also happens to be a very strong market for Audi, accounting for 7.4% (2022) of premium vehicle sales in the Western Region.
The overall theme for this roundtable conversation was focused on whether and how the city and state might meet its ambitious climate and mobility goals in the coming years. Representatives from local and state government, civil society, electricity providers, the sea port, and private sector mobility providers all discussed and debated the various challenges and opportunities around the guiding question: “What does a net zero transportation system look like in 2050 in the Puget Sound region?”
There was broad consensus among the stakeholders that decarbonization in the region hinges on essentially a seamless full transition to electric mobility. Electrifying transportation will drive a substantial increase in demand for electricity (an estimated doubling by 2050), making additional generation, transmission, and distribution of CO₂-free electricity an absolute necessity over the next years. On the demand side, mass adoption of electric vehicles is contingent upon the public charging experience, which continues to present challenges to BEV drivers (e.g., station vandalism and reliability problems). Last but not least, to secure a full transition to electric mobility, market instruments such as purchase incentives and other price signals to move consumers from ICE vehicles to BEVs will likely be required.
Dialogue on equal footing
After a two-year break, an in-person stakeholder dialogue on topics of strategic sustainability took place again in 2022. The dialogue enabled Audi to receive feedback from external stakeholders and experts on Audi’s new “Vorsprung 2030” strategy with regard to (e-)mobility and the circular economy.
During the 1.5 hours, the participants discussed the necessity of dealing with mobility and infrastructure issues in urban areas and adapting business models to include mobility-as-a-service concepts. In addition, the importance of a comprehensive approach that begins in the concept development phase was highlighted as part of the ideas on the circular economy.
Audi Act4Impact Summit 2022
At the Audi Act4Impact Summit in 2022 with more than 100 partner companies, Audi encouraged a mutual exchange of ideas about the path toward a more sustainable supply chain. In three workshops on the topics of collaboration, supplier diversity & inclusion and the circular economy – in line with the focus topics of people, environment and innovation – Audi discussed the guiding questions and expectations together with suppliers and generated impetus for the development of the responsible supply chain strategy. During the exchange with the participants, transparency, measurability and standardization were identified as important levers for diversity & inclusion in the supply chain.
In 2022, Audi – as one of the founding partners – made its third appearance at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL. The goal is for the GREENTECH FESTIVAL to become a world-renowned platform for the most pressing issues of the day.
In June 2022, the GREENTECH FESTIVAL in Berlin,was an opportunity for the company to demonstrate that its products, processes and materials are geared toward climate protection and sustainability – thanks to a combination of innovation, technology and digitalization. At the Audi booth, Audi experts welcomed visitors for discussions on all aspects of sustainable mobility.
In mid-September, the important sustainability topics at the GREENTECH FESTIVAL in New York were the Audi Production Mission:Zero environmental program as well as glass recycling and batteries.
The GREENTECH FESTIVAL in London took place in mid-October. In London, the program centered mainly on the topics of Mission:Zero, closed loops for water and CO2, the partnership with photographer and environmental activist Sebastian Copeland and the new Audi Urban Purifier.
The last Greentech event of 2022 took place in Singapore in November. The focus of communication and the dialogue with stakeholders1 was on the responsible handling of water.
Engagement at a glance: How Audi has remained in touch with its stakeholders for over a decade
Audi regularly hosts Neighborhood Dialogue events at its sites in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm. This year, dialogues also took place at the Münchsmünster and Neuburg sites. At these residents’ events, representatives of Audi report on the development of the sites and the company’s involvement in the region.
The Audi representatives got together with neighbors from surrounding residential areas and representatives of the cities, local companies and scientific institutions working closely with Audi to discuss how the plants and surrounding properties might become even more sustainable. These Neighborhood Dialogue events are part of the internal environmental management program that Audi has consistently pursued for many years.
The “International Diversity & Inclusion Days 2022” took place in May 2022 under the theme of We.Together. More colleagues and experts from the entire Audi Group took part in the event than ever before. Over the five days, the digital keynotes, workshops, discussions and interviews surrounding the topic of Diversity & Inclusion were held in nine languages for around 60,000 employees.
The conclusion is that inclusion, equal opportunities and anti-discrimination are topics that the Audi Group should address more heavily going forward – especially in international exchange in light of the wide range of perspectives. Audi is planning to continue the rollout of global D&I activities and to promote local activities under the umbrella of the Premium brand group.
“Next Generation” dialogue series
Audi aims to become a leader in sustainability, social responsibility and technology by 2030. In our search for sustainable solutions, we also draw on the innovative ideas of young stakeholders,1 who have been meeting regularly since 2020 as part of the Next Generation dialogue series to discuss a wide range of sustainability topics. The goal of the Audi Next Generation dialogue series is to engage in conversation with motivated young people from inside and outside the company, develop innovative ideas, identify opportunities for improvement and challenge established ways of thinking. The results of this constructive dialogue are then incorporated into the company’s activities as strategic impulses.
Jointly developed corporate strategy
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, exchanges with stakeholders largely took place via smaller digital formats in 2021. While developing the “Vorsprung 2030” strategy, for example, Audi conducted more than 160 interviews with internal and external stakeholders around the world to discuss key trends, challenges, opportunities and risks facing the company. Plus more than 500 Audi employees took part in various digital interaction formats over a period of several months to reflect on what Audi should stand for in the future. Conclusion: Sustainability is firmly anchored in the minds of both the workforce and the Board of Management, and will become an even more integral part of our activities along the entire value chain going forward.
Green Neighbour Weeks 2021
From October to December 2021, the Four Rings hosted the “Green Neighbour Weeks” – a new series of events at the Audi Forum in Ingolstadt focused on our social commitment to environmental protection at the location. The themed weeks gave visitors the opportunity to delve deeply into the topic of sustainability, for example by attending live talks, viewing a series of films or visiting the event’s opening highlight, the Green Market.
Among other things, visitors to the Green Market were able to find out about current environmental protection projects at Audi. They learned, for example, what Audi is doing to protect and preserve biodiversity as part of the Mission:Zero environmental program, and what measures we are taking to make our sites more compatible with nature. The market also provided an insight into some of our collaborations with local partner companies, which help improve sustainability through short transport routes and regional value creation.
Audi Dialog 2020
With the “Audi Dialog 2020” workshop series on January 28 and 29, 2020, we continued the valuable exchange with our stakeholders at the Audi Conference Center at Munich Airport. Audi experts took the opportunity to exchange views and experiences with more than 50 representatives from industry, science, politics and civil society, as well as to hold constructive discussions on controversial aspects. During four thematically focused roundtable discussions, we gained valuable and honest input on the following action areas: charging infrastructure, digital responsibility, human rights – grievance mechanisms, and circular economy. Corresponding documentation summarizes the results. “Audi Dialog” will continue in 2022 with an adapted event concept.
Neighborhood Conversation 2018
The traffic situation, resource consumption and noise pollution – these were some of the topics discussed at the Neighborhood Talk in Ingolstadt. Plant manager Albert Mayer and Audi’s environmental protection officer Rüdiger Recknagel met with neighbors from the surrounding residential areas to exchange views and experiences. Also present were representatives of the city of Ingolstadt, local companies and scientific institutions that work closely with Audi. Over the course of four hours, the roughly 60 participants at the Audi Conference Center discussed how the Ingolstadt plant and its surrounding properties might become even more sustainable. These Neighborhood Talk events are part of the internal environmental management program that Audi has consistently pursued for many years.
Audi Stakeholder Forum 2018
In 2018, Audi continued its intensive dialogue on sustainable electric mobility solutions with representatives from industry, science and various associations in Berlin. Different working groups discussed three topics from along the value chain ( documentation): the opportunities of a circular economy in the electric mobility industry, sustainable approaches in battery technology and current challenges during the batteries’ use phase.
Audi Stakeholder Forum 2016
In November 2016, around 100 participants from the worlds of politics, industry and science discussed the opportunities and challenges of electric mobility ( documentation) at the third Audi Stakeholder Forum in Brussels. The event revolved around tomorrow’s technology, with a focus on the demands placed on research and development in Europe. Other key topics on the agenda included the development of business models and the next steps in expanding the charging infrastructure.
Audi Dealer Dialogue 2016
The first Audi Dealer Dialogue on the subject of sustainability gave participants the chance to take a peek behind the scenes as they toured the plant. During the event, Audi discussed sustainability issues extending beyond the product itself with managing directors and advisors of car dealerships. A key takeaway was that corporate messages play a crucial role in people’s purchasing decisions and that there is much more to brand image than product messages alone: These days, customers are no longer interested solely in the features of a product, but are increasingly concerned with the processes underlying its production.
Audi Stakeholder Forum 2015
In October 2015, the first vocational training conference took place at AUDI HUNGARIA MOTOR Kft. Its motto was “Opportunities for dual education in Hungary.” The conference offered around 200 participants a platform to share specialist knowledge and discuss the future direction of dual education in the country. In addition to discussions and workshops on the subject of dual vocational training, the agenda also included lectures on such topics as “German-Hungarian cooperation on international vocational training,” “Dual vocational training and its impact on the labor market,” or “Building a career through vocational training.”
Audi Stakeholder Forum 2014
The Audi Stakeholder Forum 2014 had the motto “Connected vehicles – how will Audi shape the future of mobility?”. Approximately 120 participants from the spheres of business, science, politics and society gathered to discuss the future of mobility. Vehicle digitalization and connectivity were in the spotlight: In a series of three workshops, the participants and representatives from Audi debated the topics of “Connected vehicles,” “Connected data” and the “Connected city” at great length. Comprehensive documentation of the event increased its reach and impact.
Audi Stakeholder Forum 2012
During the 2012 Audi Stakeholder Forum in Ingolstadt, experts from the company and members of the Audi Board of Management discussed corporate responsibility with all relevant stakeholder groups. The participants considered aspects of sustainability at four different workshops, with a common focus on the changing shape of mobility. More than 60 guests from international companies, environmental protection and aid organizations, associations and academic institutes took part in the discussion.
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