For more than a century, Bentley Motors has been providing extraordinary luxury experiences for its customers. Founded by W.O. Bentley in 1919, headquartered in Crewe, Cheshire, in the UK, the cars are designed, engineered, and hand-crafted by over 4,000 dedicated colleagues. Through its prestigious history, the brand has become well-respected and celebrated worldwide, but Bentley is not a company willing to rely on its past glories, made apparent by its intention to become the leader in sustainable luxury mobility. Reflecting its importance to the brand, sustainability is part of the corporate mission, to ‘inspire customers with a magical fusion of craftsmanship, innovation and sustainability.’

Shortly after Bentley Motors unveiled its centenary concept car, the Bentley EXP 100 GT, the company launched the “Beyond100” strategy, outlining its plans to make a step change in the luxury sustainable automotive market, to become the world’s premier brand in this sector.

Beyond100 has sustainability at its core, and reinvents every aspect of the business in order to deliver on the goal to become the leader in Sustainable Luxury Mobility. This sustainability-focused transformation isn’t just about technology, it signifies a redefinition of Bentley’s enduring commitment to timeless luxury, environmental responsibility, engagement in social inclusion and innovative practices.

In 2022, Bentley announced £2.5 billion for Sustainability related investments to support the Beyond100 strategy and transition to a full Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) portfolio. By 2026, Bentley aims to have wholeheartedly embraced electrification, with vehicles only being produced that are plug-in hybrid or battery electric. Moreover, Bentley is aiming to achieve end-to-end carbon neutrality by the end of 2030.

However, looking beyond the product portfolio and environmental aspects, the award for social sustainability has been recognised due to the focus put on Community Investment as a key material topic for the business.

Advancing Life Chances   

Bentley has a clear aim – “to support people and planet to thrive by advancing life chances.” To achieve this, Bentley developed and rolled out in 2023 the Advancing Life Chances (ALC) Strategy, which focuses on helping people:  

  • to improve Access to essential services,
  • Empowering individuals and communities,
  • improving Quality of Life and
  • building a Better Future.

ALC is all about targeting and supporting key social issues to make sure Bentley focuses its efforts on the most pressing areas. To identify these issues, the team conducted a social audit, delivered with the Charities Aid Foundation.

This audit involved many stakeholders, including Bentley’s board, colleagues, local council, national partners and community groups. The audit identified a range of salient societal issues and challenges, both local and national. The identified areas were then woven into the ALC Strategy and programme focus areas.

Under the new ALC strategy, in 2023, Bentley supported more than 320 charitable donations across all regions of the UK. Key projects included the new UK wide ALC Small Grants programme, which in the first year of operation has a projected impact reach of 27,339 people.

Under the new strategy, Bentley set up a new ALC Crewe Fund in partnership with the Cheshire Community Foundation, supporting projects in its hometown of Crewe with grants of up to £24,000 over a 12 month period. Since the launch, they have funded 20 projects helping over 10,000 people in the local community in Crewe.

Bentley has continued to innovate with the setup of a new endowment fund. This is an invested fund, generating income for grant making. The fund will remain in place for the benefit of Crewe for eternity. A legacy for the town. The initial funds from the endowment have been used to set up a Crisis Fund with four local charities. The support given to the charities enables them to purchase goods or services, to alleviate crisis situations, delivering a truly grass roots programme.

In the education space, Bentley worked as part of a collaborative group to establish the Crewe University Technical College (UTC) which launched in 2016. A specialist engineering and design college for 14–19-year-olds. As a founding partner, the company helped to secure £10.6 million of UK government investment. Bentley input into the UTC’s tailored curriculum and work closely with them, to feed in expert advice and make sure the curriculum keeps matching current and future manufacturing requirements. In 2023, Bentley delivered various projects with the students such as challenging them to design steering wheels for future BEV models to running CV masterclasses.

With the advancement of the ALC strategy over the past year, this now serves as the perfect opportunity to celebrate Bentley for all of its achievements in the realm of social sustainability, celebrating its role and responsibility to society, making positive change, both locally and systemically.

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