There from the start: Stakeholders & Audi
An honest assessment and an external perspective are essential for the continuous development of Audi’s sustainability strategy. The basis for determining and selecting stakeholders is the Stakeholder Engagement Standard AccountAbility 1000 (AA1000SES) and its associated principles of inclusivity, materiality and responsiveness.
Audi uses different dialogue formats and one-to-one discussions to find out what motivates stakeholders. The company tries to find the right format for stakeholders depending on the topics addressed.
Material stakeholders are all internal and external groups of individuals that are affected directly or indirectly by the company’s business activities. The relevant stakeholders are identified based on their expectations, expertise, integrity, and their ability to influence Audi.
Multi-stakeholder events, such as the Audi Dialog, or involvement in initiatives allow the company to engage directly with its stakeholders on core issues as well. Other approaches include dialogue as part of its activities in associations as well as memberships in committees.
Communication on sustainability topics
Talks with individual interest groups are also an effective instrument for Audi in acting on stakeholder input. Stakeholders can also contact the “Sustainability Strategy” department directly at the email address
firstname.lastname@example.org. In the internal community “Forum Responsibility,” employees can contribute their own suggestions on the topics of responsibility and sustainability at Audi.
In addition, a subject portal on the Audi intranet offers employees up-to-date information on relevant, strategic topics and innovations, as well as training options offered by the Sustainability Academy. The findings of stakeholder questionnaires conducted on a regular basis are fed into Audi’s materiality matrix.
Audi’s online presence on the topic of sustainability provides comprehensive information, while the Sustainability Report presents Audi’s sustainability performance transparently and comprehensively.
Listening and learning: Audi in dialogue
What type of feedback does Audi hope to get from the dialogue formats? What will help move the company forward? What is the “outside-in perspective” on issues? What suggestions do the experts have? Audi wants to learn, examine perspectives, gather suggestions, and build trust.
Of the many different events, Audi Dialog 2020 warrants a special mention. Focusing on the “consistently Audi” strategy that was newly adopted in 2019, an intensive exchange took place with more than 50 stakeholders over two days in the Audi Conference Center at Munich Airport. The goal of the event was to get honest assessments from representatives from politics, industry, science, and civil society on Audi’s process of transformation toward a sustainable mobility provider.
These assessments also contribute to the continuous development of the sustainability strategy. In small groups of 20 to 25 people, Audi experts discussed four topic areas with relevant stakeholders: the charging infrastructure, human rights – complaints mechanisms, digital responsibility, and the circular economy. This focused dialogue delivered a clear picture of expectations at the topic level and strengthened mutual trust. Participants experienced Audi as an open company that understands and implements sustainability as a core element of its strategic focus. At more than 100 events in 2019, Audi also engaged with political stakeholders from parliamentary authorities, ministries of Germany's Federal Government and Federal States, associations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and think tanks.
These events included expert discussions, plant visits, participation in public podium discussions, or political discussion formats such as the Zukunftsforum Automobil Bayern, the Strategiedialog Automobilwirtschaft Baden-Württemberg (SDA BW), and the “Future of mobility” national platform.
Ramping up electric mobility
A further high point was the parliamentary breakfast hosted as part of the 69th Berlin International Film Festival on the topic of the Audi electric mobility strategy. Discussions with some 70 participants, including members of the German Bundestag, focused critically on topics such as how socially compatible electric mobility can be and what is needed for the imminent ramping up of electric mobility.
Impetus for open discussions
The “Responsibility Perspective” lecture series gives Audi employees and managers an opportunity for discussion and networking with experts from science and industry. Sustainability-related issues that are relevant to Audi’s future viability are discussed at the event.
Papers by outside speakers and commentaries by Audi experts provide starting points for open discussions between all participants. A total of just under 3,000 employees have taken part in more than 25 lectures since 2013. The topics of compliance and sustainability.
“Responsibility Perspective” lecture series
in the last seven years