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18 Aug 2021 | 10:24 AM

Bentley's Unifying Spur
UN SDG SUPPORTED
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Reduced Inequality
Responsible Consumption and Production
Climate Action

Things are changing in the automotive world, and this time we look at one of the oldest carmakers in history — Bentley.   

In the first six months of 2021, Bentley saw a $211 million profit, the highest-ever in a single year. The pent-up demand and the addition of plug-in hybrid variants of the successful Bentayga SUV and Flying Spur sedan are vital factors.  

The British carmaker recently unveiled a new set of sustainability initiatives called  Beyond100. As part of the strategy, the aristocratic automaker is looking at becoming carbon neutral by 2030.  The Beyond100 strategy has the following objectives:  
 

  • Two plug-in hybrid models by 2021, followed by the release of a plug-in option for every model by 2023  
  • Launching the first-ever electric vehicle in 2025, also the world's first luxury car to be carbon-neutral over its entire lifetime   
  • By 2026, Bentley will be producing only plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery electric vehicles.  
  • Reduce the environmental impact of the Crewe factory by 75% by 2025 – which includes going plastic-neutral, too  
  • To become end-to-end carbon-neutral by 2030, going on to become climate-positive with all operations at Crewe.  
  • From 2030 onwards, every car will be a battery-electric vehicle  

 

But those are the external goals. Internally, the company is betting heavily on internal engagement, corporate diversity, and inclusivity —very much part of the 17 SDGs outlined by the United Nations.   

And that's where the Bentley Unifying Spur Art Car comes in.    

Once considered a symbol of the hippie movement, the art car may be the newest medium in the sustainability movement.  

Why? Well, take a look at the Bentley Unifying Spur. It's a Bentley Flying Spur that's received an out-of-the-world, although meaningful, paint job.   

The Designer  

Designer Rich Morris, who paints and sculpts in his spare time, created the Unifying spur using the nine colours of the Progress flag. His design joins the words "Love is Love" through a single, unbroken line that traces facial expressions, dancing figures, and shapes – representing the unifying power of humanity, regardless of race, creed, or sexuality. The Unifying Spur will be revealed to colleagues at Bentley's Crewe factory before embarking upon a program of external activities in the coming months.    

The Thought  

The overarching thought behind the Unifying Spur is inclusivity. Volkswagen, the company that owns Bentley, has started changing the way employees are hired, trained, and promoted. Instead of diversity dominating the hiring phase, it will become a part of every employee engagement program at VW. New developmental programs have been planned to include employees from all backgrounds and walks of life.    

The Beyond100 program has several objectives. The most important one is corporate diversity and inclusivity. Dr Astrid Fontaine, Bentley'sMember of the Board for People, Digitalization and IT, explains:

"We know that diversity drives success, by bringing a greater range of experience, creativity, as well as inclusion, allows co-operation to play in business strategy, innovation and decision-making. We also want our business to reflect our global customer,r base and most of all, to ensure that we all work in an environment where everyone feels safe to bring their true self to work and valued for who they are and what they can do. That is why diversity and inclusion are profoundly important to us and as part of our Beyond100 program, we have thus set ourselves the challenge to become the most diverse luxury car manufacturer. For us, this means ensuring there are colleagues from all walks of life in our management structure. This goes hand in hand with our ethos that a rich and inclusive culture, where everyone is supported to achieve their full potential, is what will help to drive our business forward for the next one hundred years. Through the revelation of the Unifying Spur, the internal activities that it will support – and the external engagements we are planning for it in 2021 - we aim to celebrate the individual talents and idiosyncrasies that make us all unique as – whilst at the same time as highlighting the key themes that unite and bring us together."  

The Future  

On the business front, Bentley has announced a 100% electric and hybrid product portfolio by 2030. The hybrid powerplants in the Bentayga and the Flying Spur are just the tip of the iceberg. The interiors feature sustainable materials like open-pore Koa veneer facias that use 90% less lacquer paint compared to high-gloss veneers. The tweed used in the cabin is made from wool, instead of synthetic fibres used before. Also on offer are sustainably sourced stone veneer panels made from sedimentary clay, wine fabric – a vegan alternative to leather; recycled nylon and wool textiles; ocean waste yarn fabric, and wood harvested from discarded Venetian gondola poles.   

Bentley was once considered the pinnacle of British innovation. Some of the world's best cars, ships, and heavy machinery sport a Bentley logo, and it's only fitting for the hallowed British carmaker to lead the charge of the battery revolution. 

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BY Adreesh Ghoshal