BMW content series shines a light on sustainability

Who: BMW, with Media Experts, Performance Art and CBC.

What: “Forces of Nature,” a six-part sponsored content series profiling sustainable technology innovators that is hosted by Dragons’ Den star Michele Romanow.

When & Where: The series launched late last month, with a new episode released each week. The short films can be viewed on CBC’s streaming platform Gem, and on YouTube.

Why: When it comes to the big car companies and the environment, most of the conversation is about electric vehicles. But BMW feels it has a bigger story to tell about its efforts to make the manufacturing process itself more sustainable—from the energy that powers its production plants, to the materials it sources for parts, and the recycling efforts at all stages of the process.

BMW was named the most sustainable automotive company in the world according to the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, said Jonathan Thomson, director, BMW brand management. “The ability to have a USP in the marketplace—like we have with sustainability—for us it’s something that’s worth talking about.”

But rather than just tell its own story—“It would be a little one dimensional,” said Thomson—BMW wanted to help support and share the story of other small businesses and entrepreneurs similarly committed to sustainability. “It felt like the perfect marriage of what we’re proud of in the work that we’re doing, but creating a more interesting message for this content piece.”

How: Each of the episodes—which range in length from 7:42 to 9:44—profiles one of the six entrepreneurs. At the CBC site and on Gem and YouTube, the content is listed as paid content and starts with a super that explains why BMW produced the series: “BMW’s mission is to be the world’s most sustainable automotive manufacturer and they’re finding and showcasing similar sustainable endeavours globally.”

Early in each episode, Romanow gets into the BMW electric iX xDrive50, and introduces the people being profiled. They include the founders of drone reforestation company Flash Forest, who believe we must plant more trees to tackle Co2 emissions. Another profile is of former Navy Commander Mike Williamson, who is trying to grow seaweed more sustainably, and creating better supply chains for this ecologically significant crop.

Towards the end of each episode Romanow returns to spell out the connection between the entrepreneurs and BMW’s own efforts to be more sustainable.

“Flash Forests’ innovative tree planting technology is trying to reverse the impact of carbon emissions, and BMW has redesigned their business to lower their emissions,” she says.

In the episode about seaweed, she explains that sourcing sustainable materials is key to a healthy supply chain. “Just like how Mike is taking on the supply chain of seaweed, BMW has redesigned their supply chain to better source raw materials that go into electric vehicles like cobalt in a more environmentally friendly way,” she ays.

Other topics covered in future episodes include renewable energy, sustainable materials, the circular economy, and innovative technology.

David Brown