By deploying various tools of stakeholder management, Audi wants to acquire in-depth knowledge of the interests and needs of stakeholders – then we will be able to align our decisions even more closely with their expectations. An ongoing dialogue helps us to identify key sustainability topics and fine-tune our sustainability management. We actively involve our stakeholders on central issues. We do so by using a variety of dialogue formats, one-to-one discussions and other means of communication.
An honest assessment and an external perspective are essential for the continuous development of Audi’s sustainability strategy. The basis for determining and selecting stakeholders is the Stakeholder Engagement Standard AccountAbility 1000 (AA1000SES) and its associated principles of inclusivity, materiality and responsiveness.
Audi uses different dialogue formats and one-to-one discussions to find out what motivates stakeholders. The company tries to find the right format for stakeholders depending on the topics addressed.
Material stakeholders are all internal and external groups of individuals that are affected directly or indirectly by the company’s business activities. The relevant stakeholders are identified based on their expectations, expertise, integrity, and their ability to influence Audi.
Multi-stakeholder events, such as the Audi Dialog, or involvement in initiatives allow the company to engage directly with its stakeholders on core issues as well. Other approaches include dialogue as part of its activities in associations as well as memberships in committees.
What type of feedback does Audi hope to get from the dialogue formats? What will help move the company forward? What is the “outside-in perspective” on issues? What suggestions do the experts have? Audi wants to learn, examine perspectives, gather suggestions, and build trust.
Of the many different events, Audi Dialog 2020 warrants a special mention. Focusing on the “consistently Audi” strategy that was newly adopted in 2019, an intensive exchange took place with more than 50 stakeholders over two days in the Audi Conference Center at Munich Airport. The goal of the event was to get honest assessments from representatives from politics, industry, science, and civil society on Audi’s process of transformation toward a sustainable mobility provider.
These assessments also contribute to the continuous development of the sustainability strategy. In small groups of 20 to 25 people, Audi experts discussed four topic areas with relevant stakeholders: the charging infrastructure, human rights – complaints mechanisms, digital responsibility, and the circular economy. This focused dialogue delivered a clear picture of expectations at the topic level and strengthened mutual trust. Participants experienced Audi as an open company that understands and implements sustainability as a core element of its strategic focus. At more than 100 events in 2019, Audi also engaged with political stakeholders from parliamentary authorities, ministries of Germany's Federal Government and Federal States, associations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and think tanks.
These events included expert discussions, plant visits, participation in public podium discussions, or political discussion formats such as the Zukunftsforum Automobil Bayern, the Strategiedialog Automobilwirtschaft Baden-Württemberg (SDA BW), and the “Future of mobility” national platform.
Audi’s stakeholders assist the Group with identifying important sustainability topics: Customers, suppliers, NGOs and analysts regularly evaluate the relevance of the action areas and their social, ecological and economic impact on the outside world. It is also evaluated which Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDGs) the automotive industry can and should make the biggest contribution.
The results of the dialogue that Audi holds with stakeholders are fed into the materiality analysis. Since 2012 Audi has systematically been presenting the relevance of various sustainability topics in the form of a matrix, which is regularly updated and expanded. For the Audi Group, the results provide a basis for long-term sustainability work. They not only help in determining the focal areas of the report; they are also taken into account in refining the sustainability strategy.
“Responsibility Perspective” lecture series
in the last seven years
Participation in external initiatives and federations
Audi works in a variety of initiatives, associations, and work groups to discuss ecological, economic, and social issues in partnership with stakeholders. The list of memberships and activities exemplifies the company’s dialogue with industry, politics, science, and society.
Here is a selection from our numerous involvements that also reflect the interests of the company’s stakeholders. This image was created using the five chapters of the Audi sustainability report 2019 to illustrate the connections to the topics reported here.