Anna Goldhofer, sustainability expert in the circular economy supply chain, explains why actively playing a part in protecting the climate is so important to her that she commits to it in her private life as well as at work.

MINI sustainability – anna goldhofer – circular economy supply chain expert MINI sustainability – anna goldhofer – circular economy supply chain expert

Anna Goldhofer, you are well-known in the BMW Group (and beyond) because you are, so to speak, the woman behind the recyclable floor mat that is in many BMW vehicles. At the same time, you are very committed to climate protection. How do you connect these two worlds?

Anna Goldhofer: Quite simply, this floor mat will soon be in at least 3.5 million vehicles and probably many more. That’s a lot of material that doesn’t end up having to be burned – and at the same time, a lot of CO2 that isn’t generated in the first place. The ripple effect is enormous. Most of our components are still made from different materials. They are glued, welded, inseparable – and burning them is the only option. We will change that during development. After all, components whose materials can be recycled are the very foundation of a functioning circular economy. We are testing new fabrics, such as recyclable polyester and plant-based leather. And we calculate the CO2 footprints to find the proper path to take. Every small recyclable part has its own impact. At the moment, I am using my knowledge to contribute to making the supply chains in our company more sustainable. My goal is to make a tangible contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement 1.5 degree target. I want to work to stop the climate crisis. I have the leverage and the opportunity in a large company like the BMW Group to make a significant difference. Every little part has its impact on the environment. The BMW Group is also very influential within the industry, as well as having a high profile to the outside world. We can initiate change and be the drivers of this change.

In the meantime, you are putting your expertise to impressive use in purchasing and the supply chain. What was the reason for this?

Anna Goldhofer: I wanted to get involved in the circular economy from another angle and expand my knowledge. You have one of the greatest direct levers – and thus impacts – in purchasing. One of the core tasks of development and purchasing, together with our partners and suppliers, is to drive forward CO2 reduction targets, secondary raw material quotas and thus the circular economy. Purchasing sits at a crucial point in the process – for example by embedding sustainability goals in award decisions and transparency throughout the supply chain. One of the key objectives when talking about sustainability in the supply chain is increasing the secondary raw material ratio. This is critical for achieving our CO2 reduction and thereby our climate targets. The market for appropriate secondary material in the right quality and quantity is still manageable today. That’s why it’s so important to contribute to its expansion through stimulating demand and in doing so working towards a functioning circular economy. One of the core principles of a circular economy is an economic system of closed cycles, ensuring that raw materials, components and products lose as little value as possible, renewable energy sources are used and systematic thinking is applied throughout. Industry will only be able to meet the demand for secondary materials by working in accordance with these principles across the board. The circular economy therefore contributes to the responsible use of limited resources, but also plays a key role in decarbonisation and achieving the Paris climate goals.

Let’s imagine you meet the Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Oliver Zipse. You talk about your projects, your goals and he asks: “How can I support you? What do you want?” What’s your answer?

Anna Goldhofer: That the BMW Group needs to be much bolder, both internally and politically, when it comes to climate protection. He and the entire board can push this forward, for example by setting even more specific goals for the circular economy and funding the corresponding projects with the budget to achieve these goals. I would also like to see the BMW Group use its political influence to push for climate neutrality and further align its work with the UN Climate Goals.

MINI sustainability – anna goldhofer – driving CO2 reduction MINI sustainability – anna goldhofer – driving CO2 reduction