MINI and Oxford University to tackle sustainable development goals

The University of Oxford and the BMW Group have joined forces to develop fresh insights into sustainable practices at MINI Plant Oxford.

The 2023 Plant Oxford Programme will bring together 15 Oxford SDG Impact Lab Fellows, all graduate students from across Oxford University, to work with the MINI plant on projects focusing on new ways of addressing employee wellbeing, the local Oxford community and the plant’s impact on the environment. It’s a chance for the students to gain an insight into manufacturing and sustainable production and work together with the team at the plant to see where further developments could be made.

Andreas Kindler, CFO, MINI Plant Oxford, commented, “Oxford SDG Impact Lab is an exciting initiative that not only delivers skills for the graduates taking part but will provide us with a fresh perspective, bringing in new ideas and experiences. The plant takes sustainability very seriously, from installing photovoltaic roofs on our production buildings to implementing innovative ideas such as using recycled tyres in our new internal road surfaces. Tackling this challenge takes a combination of diverse perspectives and skills – and it’s something the BMW Group is famous for and is at the heart of our long tradition of university cooperation.

“Today was the MINI Plant Oxford Lab induction Day which saw students learn more about the plant and the team who work here – and we’re really looking forward to seeing the impacts of this exciting collaboration.”

The Oxford plant has been part of the fabric of the city for nearly 110 years and has adapted and evolved incorporating new ideas and technology to ensure the production of quality cars such as the MINI Electric. This new partnership also reflects past ties between the University and car manufacturing in the city. The renowned British motor manufacturer and philanthropist that founded the plant, William Morris (Lord Nuffield), went on to found Nuffield College in 1937, Oxford University’s first co-educational college.

Professor Alexander Betts, co-founder of the Oxford SDG Impact Lab, Associate Head (Doctoral and Research Training) of the Social Science Division and Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, said: “We are incredibly excited to partner with the BMW Group and the MINI Plant. The MINI Plant and the University are among the largest employers in Oxford and have a shared aspiration to have a positive social and environmental impact on our city and our community. This collaboration will enable our students to be part of that story, applying their talents to address practical challenges of both global and local importance.”

To date, the BMW Group has already set clear CO2 reduction targets across the lifecycle of every vehicle but are constantly seeking new ways to cut emissions. By 2030, the CO2 emissions per vehicle will be at least halved from 2019 levels. The BMW Group was the first German carmaker to join the Business Ambition for 1.5°C. The most robust commitment to the goal of full climate neutrality over the entire value-added chain by 2050 at the latest. By doing so, it is also part of the Race to Zero.

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