Growing up on a farm in Forchtenberg, Germany, I learned to think about sustainability with every step. It’s a way to work you never forget.
After harvesting in autumn, we became gleaners, walking behind the machinery and making sure we picked up each sugar beet to avoid waste. It taught me that every single plant is important.
Eventually, I left the farm to study economics, and earned my master’s degree in the subject from Stuttgart University. Between the farm and the classroom, I discovered a valuable lesson: it’s no longer “ecology versus economy.” It’s ecology and economy. Sustainability must be an organic part of whatever we do as a company and a society, whether we’re fighting coronavirus or climate change.
By becoming rooted in this approach, it’s possible to have a strong balance sheet while you protect the environment, and do everything possible for the next generation. Economy, ecology, and social responsibility must be part of every decision.
From my vantage point, I see inspirational examples of Magna people and divisions that are making great strides in sustainability, starting when we develop a new product that aims for more performance, less weight, and less cost. It’s also in the way our world-class manufacturing operations are becoming more efficient and environmentally friendly.
Today, Transmissions Systems facilities have reduced their carbon footprint by implementing energy-saving roadmaps and purchasing emissions-free “green” energy from renewable resources such as solar, wind and water. These six divisions are the Magna Powertrain plants in Neuenstein, Rosenberg, Untergruppenbach and Bad Windsheim, Germany, Bari, Italy, and Kechnec, Slovakia.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, though.
Each Magna division is different and must create its own energy roadmap by studying its energy, water and waste consumption, while setting targets that aim for improvement every year. The progress made by every division will help Magna as OEMs demand emissions-free production, and the pressure mounts to get a good rating in the Carbon Disclosure Project, which rates companies on their environmental performance.
Just as I learned from my parents when they were stewards of the land, every step we take towards sustainability counts. All of our actions tell customers, investors and stakeholders that Magna is a company you can count on to do the right thing.
Director Global Sustainability & EHS