Roberto Rossetti, Total Vehicle Life Cycle Development, reveals how even the smallest initiatives and ideas lead to more sustainability.
MINI sustainability – roberto rossetti – vehicle life cycle development expert MINI sustainability – roberto rossetti – vehicle life cycle development expert

Does so much preoccupation with CO2 emissions, analyses and recyclates affect the way you go about things away from work as well?

Roberto Rossetti: Yes, that is certainly not neglected. I take this pattern of thought with me wherever I go. I ask myself about CO2 consumption when I get on the plane. When I buy food, I consider how much CO2 has already been produced during production and transport. I am very sensitised and pay attention to the small steps. Because I have also learned that what really moves us forward is the multitude of sustainable steps. Unfortunately, there is no single solution.

Complete vehicle development is a big field. What is your current focus?

Roberto Rossetti: At the moment, my main focus is on the life cycle analysis of CO2 emissions for the entire BMW Group – from buildings and production to each individual vehicle, each component and all the materials developed. Life cycle analysis is particularly effective for climate protection and reducing CO2. This is how we create transparency. Because every vehicle, every process, every building creates CO2 throughout its life cycle. The more precisely we know exactly where emissions occur, the better we can plan the savings. Many elements are involved in a company. We do not measure every value ourselves, but we bring everything together. The right material choices are similarly effective. Much lower CO2 emissions are created when producing recyclates, which in turn lowers the overall carbon footprint. We also pollute the environment less when we use fewer primary raw materials.

Our goal is to be able to completely recycle all products at the end of their use. We can reuse recyclates, such as with industrial waste materials – metal offcuts, for example. In addition, we can obtain renewable raw materials from plants or biomass. Natural fibres made from flax are a hot topic. Or plant-based leather alternatives made from cork, cactus or mushrooms. We can also replace some of the plastics that are currently still made from petroleum, for example with plastic substitutes made from wood waste, which have an incredibly low CO2 footprint. 

What difficulties, what obstacles do you encounter along the way?

Roberto Rossetti: CO2 footprints and reducing CO2 are very complex topics – that makes it difficult. We have to be careful not to get bogged down in trivialities, but to focus on the big polluters first. Then we can move forward one step at a time. I have already mentioned quality as a challenge with the new materials made from recycled material. How much secondary material can we use while still maintaining our reputation for quality? We also want to use more and more recycled material in actual production of our vehicles. This must be guaranteed – the keyword being reliability of supply. This means ordering certain quantities from the suppliers, setting clear targets. This gives suppliers an added incentive to develop further in this direction. My strong network helps me to address all these questions. There are so many parties that have to work together. The direction of thrust is quite clearly set out – and also accepted. All that remains to work out together is the WHAT and HOW. 

MINI sustainability – roberto rossetti – MINI vehicle life cycle strategies MINI sustainability – roberto rossetti – MINI vehicle life cycle strategies

In a single sentence: what motivates you every day to work towards these goals?

Roberto Rossetti: I want to leave a beautiful earth for my children! I even hear small children talking about the subject. My daughter is always saying: turn off the light, it’s not good for the environment. Our children are naturally affected. I want to leave them the earth in a good state of repair.