Bentley Motors has become the first company to be awarded South Pole’s Net Zero Plastic to Nature accreditation after engaging in a successful waste stewardship appraisal. The status, which is internationally-recognised, reflects the company’s ongoing environmental initiatives and is a key part of Bentley’s Beyond100 strategy to achieve end-to-end carbon neutrality by 2030.
Bentley’s industry-leading drive to assess, reduce and mitigate the global plastic footprint of its logistics packaging, vehicle protection and aftersales packaging was analysed by independent, Switzerland-based experts at the South Pole organisation.
The in-depth assessment covered everything from operational macro-plastic parts packaging used in logistics and manufacturing, to the disposal of plastic protection downstream at global dealerships. It also assessed micro-plastic emissions from tyre abrasion as part of the logistics and product lifecycle, identifying a total plastic footprint of 165.4 tonnes. The audit found that the majority of plastic waste was already recycled appropriately and made recommendations for in-region improvements to tackle the small amount of non-processed waste which was identified through the assessment.
To secure the status, Bentley has invested in certified units that support two of South Pole’s projects focused on developing specialist plastic waste collection and recycling infrastructure projects. These are with Neela Saga in India and Second Life in Thailand. This action ensures that the full volume of non-processed plastic waste found in the 2021 study has been effectively mitigated.
Peter Bosch, Member of the Board for Manufacturing at Bentley Motors, explains:
“Our drive towards a plastic-free future is an essential part of our Beyond100 strategy and this pioneering collaboration with South Pole has helped us evaluate the impact of the steps we’ve been taking to reduce and recycle plastic reduce around our site by examining every aspect of our logistics value chain. From the bubble wrap and foam used to package inbound parts, to the car body covers and shrink wrap processes employed on vehicle protection and aftersales materials, no stone has been left unturned and we’ve been able to make quick and effective changes.
“For example, we have reduced the amount of plastic parts protection on outbound products from 13 items to six. By removing unnecessary items like vinyl wheel protection and wiper blade covers, we’ve removed 12 tonnes of plastic from our outbound packaging operations in a year – and we’re ensuring that where plastic is still needed to ensure our cars arrive in perfect condition, it is minimal, lightweight and has low CO2 impact.
“Other measures, such as reducing unnecessary packaging for items moved around site, have reduced plastic shrink-wrap waste by 86 per cent. Even the plastic banding we use to secure items on pallets has gone under the microscope, as we’ve carried out tests on a cardboard replacement to ensure that it is equally as effective. We also recognised that one of the greatest contributors is inbound logistics packaging, so we are working closely with our suppliers to reduce packaging on inbound parts – as well as empowering colleagues to quickly and effectively reuse packaging around site.
“As a global brand this process has helped us gain a broader perspective and insight into our footprint out in our regions and we will follow with great interest the progress of the two plastic waste and recycling projects our credits will support in Thailand and India. Our next step is to broaden the scope to cover other aspects of our business.”
Announced in 2020, Bentley’s ground-breaking Beyond100 strategy targets sustainable mobility leadership, reinventing every aspect of the business. The aim is to be end-to-end carbon neutral by 2030, with the Crewe headquarters climate positive thereafter.
South Pole was established in 2006 and helps organisations around the world develop comprehensive emission reduction programmes and strategies that turn climate action into long-term business opportunities. It is aligned with the aims of the Paris Agreement and UN sustainability development goals.