Building a Green Future: BMW Group Plant Chennai sets new benchmarks
At BMW Group Plant Chennai, sustainability is a top priority. Through a host of initiatives, BMW Group Chennai is taking an active lead towards a green and sustainable future. While significant savings have been already been achieved with dedicated efforts, the plant is committed to convert to 100% green electricity by end of the year and has launched new initiatives for water conservation and tree plantation / biodiversity.
Mr. Thomas Dose, Managing Director, BMW Group Plant Chennai said, “For BMW Group Plant Chennai, the term ‘sustainable production’ means investing in our future. Since 2007, our plant has consistently reduced its consumption of non-renewable resources through modern technology, stringent processes and efficiency. This commitment is integrated through clear actions in our business model as well as production processes and has helped us in significantly reducing our footprint. We know the challenges and are rising to meet them by continuously setting higher goals. For BMW Group Plant Chennai, this is the key to a green future.”
Mr. Dose further added, “A strong culture at BMW Plant Chennai further promotes sustainability. Respect for resources is a part of BMW values and a principle we live by every day. While the management is taking steps to introduce sustainable innovations throughout the infrastructure and facilities, associates are playing an important role by promoting an attitude that is pro-conservation and makes a huge difference in day-to-day working.”
BMW Group Plant Chennai is constantly focusing on increasing use of renewable energy to meet its requirements. Over the last few years, it has steadily replaced conventional energy sources with sustainable alternatives. Presently, the plant takes care of upto 40% of its electricity requirements through a 1350 kW Solar Photovoltaic system. BMW Group Plant Chennai is working towards becoming a 100% green electricity plant by end of 2020. By introducing multiple simple and smart solutions, the plant has further reduced its electricity consumption. Upto 50% savings have been achieved in light usage through LED lights installation. Besides this, fresh air fans have been replaced by energy efficient high-volume low-speed (HVLS) fans, saving 30% electricity in the ventilation system.
In Chennai, water shortage is a serious issue. BMW Group Plant Chennai has continuously been working on long-term solutions to minimise the impact by acting responsibly. The plant’s water conservation measures are based on three pillars: use of rainwater, conservation of fresh water and water treatment. BMW Group Plant Chennai has rainwater harvesting ponds at two locations with a total capacity of 14,25,000 litres. Tanks have been installed across the site to collect rainwater for this purpose. More than 3,40,000 litres of rainwater has been collected so far and utilized for water leak test and other requirements. The process water used in production is fully recycled at the plant’s treatment facility and fed back into the process. Water used for cleaning is also treated and reused in gardening and landscaping. Sensor-based taps installed across the plant save upto 8% water. In combination, these three pillars have helped reduce water consumption by more than 45% – from 40825 KL to 20594 KL (Period 2016 to 2019).
A new Rainwater Harvesting Project implemented at the beginning of 2020 stores upto 2,000 kilolitres and caters to upto 40% of plant’s requirements. The team is also currently working on a recharge injection well project at 10 sites in Mahindra World City which will be scaled up later. Instead of withdrawing water, this type of well injects rainwater into the ground in a controlled manner to bring the water table back to normal levels. Other water conservation plans underway include advancement in sewage treated plant in order to use the recycled water for toilet flushing and grey water utilization for landscaping.
BMW Group Plant Chennai has a green area of 7.7 acres, which is around 25% of the total area. A green belt has been setup with around 2,000 trees of 31 different species as part of a biodiversity pilot project. In another recent tree plantation drive, around 4,000 local species trees are being planted in 0.5 acres at the plant with Miyawaki forest technique that helps build dense, native forests with 10 times faster growth and 30 times denser plantation than usual. This will lead to annual C02 savings of 4,000 tons. On World Environment Day every year, the entire team comes together to plant trees inside as well as outside the facility.
BMW Group lays equal importance on both the products and the process when it comes to green manufacturing. To achieve this, processes are optimised and investments are made in more efficient, state-of-the-art technologies. In line with ‘Design for Recycling’ approach, BMW / MINI vehicles are created in a way that their components can largely be reused or recycled efficiently throughout their whole life cycle. Some decisive influencing factors are the choice of materials, production technologies, supplier selection, the choice of drivetrain types and the recyclability of the vehicle’s components. All BMW Group vehicles brought onto the market since 2008 meet the requirements for the recycling of end-of-life vehicles, components and materials (95% total recycling, 85% reuse and material recycling).
BMW Group Plant Chennai, has implemented the Environmental Policy under the Integrated Management System which is aligned with IS0 14001: 2015 requirements. A dedicated team has been appointed to ensure environment management and best sustainability practices. Associates are encouraged to follow and promote basic measures such as reduction of printing, switching off lights, air-conditioners, laptops when not required, appropriately segregating waste and reducing food wastage. The canteen food waste is processed and converted to manure. In 2019, 6,500 kg waste was converted to manure.