It's the first automaker to join IRMA, a major responsible mining association.
With the award-winning BMW i3 firmly established as one of the local market's favorite EVs, BMW is ramping up its eco-friendly approach not just in the availability of zero-emission vehicles, but also in the way they're manufactured. According to a report by BMW Blog, the brand has now joined IRMA, the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, becoming the first automaker to do so.
IRMA's mission is to move towards more ethical practices within the industrial mining sector. The rare-Earth materials used in EV batteries are mined in a manner that is environmentally toxic, and BMW is set to eradicate the use of rare earths in its batteries imminently.
Dr. Andreas Wendt, a member of the board of management of BMW, expanded on the company's decision to join IRMA. "Sustainability is an important aspect of our corporate strategy and we are fully aware of our responsibility in mineral value chains," said Wendt. "For the BMW Group and its stakeholders, it is of utmost importance that environmental and social standards are adhered to throughout the entire value chain."
Wendt went on to say that "raw materials form the basis for every industrial production process and our need will continue to grow accordingly". And indeed, that need will grow as BMW's currently limited EV range is set to expand rapidly with the launch of the upcoming BMW iX3, an electrified version of its best-selling X3 SUV, along with thei4 sedan.
With an increase in the number of electrified BMWs hitting the road, it's good to know that these vehicles will be manufactured with minimal environmental impact thanks to the direct sourcing of raw materials like cobalt and lithium. This move will likely pressure EV giants like Tesla and others to do the same.
"The auto sector is a powerful purchaser of materials that come from mines," said Aimee Boulanger, Executive Director of IRMA. "We are happy to have the BMW Group join IRMA and we look forward to supporting their commitment to increasing environmental and social responsibility in their supply chains."