Sustainability is a Team Sport

Neuss, Deutschland
Sustainability is a Team Sport
We Will Only Win Together

As a global corporation with 57,000 employees in more than 240 locations around the world, we have a responsibility not only to our employees, supply chain, and the communities we serve, but also the environment in which we live. That is why we are committed to ESG in all areas of the company. As part of this commitment, we have established a sustainability function focused on sharing best practices to accelerate the achievement of our strategic sustainability goals. In 2022, we appointed Gunnar Büechter as Vice President of Global Sustainability to oversee Yanfeng’s global sustainability vision, strategy, and progress for all areas of the business.
We spoke to Gunnar about his intrinsic motivation for sustainability, the importance of creating transparency, and his view on our key achievements in 2022.

Gunnar, you have been with the company for more than 20 years, mainly in procurement. Now that you are also responsible on a corporate level for sustainability, what is your motivation for this topic?

“If you are a parent, you realize that as your children grow up, they start to find their topics of interests and purpose in life. My daughter is a great example of this as she is very much focused on how to change for a sustainable future. She holds up a mirror to me and holds me accountable for choices I make every day, whether it is at home or in business -- like when I take a plane or train for a business trip. I truly believe that questioning our daily actions is a good basis for change. Certainly, stopping climate change cannot be done by one country, industry or person – it is a team sport and most likely the biggest challenge of our current generation. It all starts with the will to change. Let’s get started – as one strong team!”

Speaking of teamwork, which 2022 project best demonstrates that we can make a difference as a team? 

“This is clearly the global introduction of our own Carbon Emission Tracking System (CETS). We know that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a key factor in stopping global warming. If we want to improve as a company, we need to know our current data to also identify the pain points. We checked the currently available calculation solutions on the market but did not find one that entirely covered Scopes 1, 2 and 3, so we decided to develop our own software solution with assistance from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). This process truly exemplified teamwork, as we developed, tested and implemented the CETS, with the overarching goal that all plants in all regions globally, no matter what the input looks like, can work with this tool. I am proud to announce that in this report you will see the first Yanfeng company carbon footprint data calculated in-house. Now we have complete transparency across the scopes and know exactly where we need to improve on the road to our net-zero emission goal. Thanks again and congratulations to the global team involved.” 

Gunnar, looking back at 2022, what other highlights would you like to mention?

“I would say the various collaborations we have established with our OEM customers, suppliers as well as with institutes and industry associations globally. We all have the same goals in the automotive industry. The first goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of our products today, but also to find ways to improve this footprint over the next few years. I am very proud that we have various product circularity projects underway in all three regions, with different approaches from lightweight design, material alternatives, to the use of mechanical or chemical recycled waste materials. The second goal is to strive for a responsible supply chain with a special focus on the social side. Here the key is to start with transparency, and I would like to highlight our established supply chain monitoring based on artificial intelligence and our supplier auditing capabilities through our Responsible Supply Chain Initiative membership.”

“To sum up 2022 highlights, I think we have made significant progress and are well on the way to complying with both the legal requirements and internal goals we have set. I look forward to the next sustainable steps we are planning in 2023.”