When you think of the prestigious Bentley brand, images of grand luxury machines traveling cross-continent at speed are conjured. Beautifully crafted British GTs with high capacity engines and plenty of bluster. You wouldn’t traditionally think of an environment-healing entity that the world would be worse without, would you? The truth is that Bentley is actually rather good for the climate.
All modern Bentleys are forged at the marque’s home of Crewe in England. The huge site that is set to expand once again is a land where modern technology lives in harmony with titanic tradition. Every company in the world has needed to think about its carbon footprint and how to reduce it. We all know that climate change is bad for every living thing on the planet, and so it’s important to make changes big and small. Doing so on an industrial level is quite the paradigm shift, but did you know that the Bentley factory has actually been carbon neutral for over two years now?
Back in 2019 it was certified by the Carbon Trust as being totally carbon neutral – quite the achievement considering its scale and levels of automotive manufacturing. It was the result of an ongoing march from another environmental achievement in 1999 where the factory officially became the first to meet the ISO 14001 environmental management standard. Astonishingly, the factory today actually absorbs more carbon than it expels when building Bentleys. That means the environment would in fact be worse without Bentley’s existence.
So how does Bentley do it? How do you go about creating some of the world’s most opulent machines without leaving a carbon footprint at all? One of its biggest aces is the vast quantity of solar panels on the site. Over 16,426m² of sun soaking cells generate electricity with the solar arrays covering rooftops and 1,378 car parking spaces. A total of 7.7MW of clean electricity is generated, enough to power 1,750 homes. Any additional power required at Crewe is purchased from clean and renewable sources.
The Bentley factory is also very much a living home with plenty of greenery. Beyond looking pretty, the grounds actually do a vital job when it comes to carbon absorption. Trees and plants soak-up carbon dioxide as they photosynthesise and grow. In addition to existing shrubbery, Bentley has installed living walls to increase the surface area of carbon neutralising plant space.
Crewe is home to many hard workers from all backgrounds, even insects. A strong ecosystem of 300,000 bees call the factory home, serving to pollinate Bentley flora and that of the surrounding area. Bentley owners are even offered the opportunity to sample the sweet success of the Bee’s hard work in the form of rarified Bentley honey.
The Bentley factory’s achievement should not be understated, and it sets a clear example for other manufacturers to follow. This British brand is also in the process of making the cars it builds at Crewe greener through electrification. There will be a plug-in hybrid model of each Bentley car offered by 2023, and a switch to full EV production is set for 2030.
Bentley might not be the first company you think of when it comes to the environment, but it probably should be.