Bentley Motors is in the midst of an ambitious company transformation through the implementation of their Beyond100 strategy. This will see the electrification of the entire Bentley model range, increasing the amount of diversity and feeling of inclusion amongst their colleagues, and becoming a fully carbon neutral business by 2030.
As Bentley Motor’s new Head of Sustainability Communications, Stefanie Lackner is charged with telling the story of this transformation and updating their internal and external audiences on the progress towards these goals.
After studying Communications and International Public Relations in her home town Salzburg (Austria) and Munich (Germany) Stefanie worked in different PR agencies and companies, mostly in the field of communications. Stefanie joined Audi more than five years ago, working as a speech writer for the Board of Management and Social Media expert.
“I am a digital mind with a human-centric approach, eager to learn what this fast transforming world has to offer. I listen to understand, not to reply – and always open minded. I have a heart for innovation, mobility solutions and sustainability. I really like thinking outside the box and fast-thinking people,” Stefanie told Driven Women Magazine.
Employing around 4,000 people at their headquarters in Crewe, Bentley combines fine craftsmanship, using skills that have been handed down through generations, alongside engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology that is unique to UK luxury car brands such as Bentley. But the car industry is in the midst of an upheaval.
“Bentley believes that what it is set to deliver over the next 10 years will be even more impactful and far-reaching, not just for the company but for the whole industry, than what it has achieved during its first 100 years. Sustainability plays a decisive role in this transformation. The company’s approach to redefining its business will be built around the target of becoming the leader in sustainable luxury mobility.
The company’s strategy – Beyond100 – will include a structured, business-wide sustainability programme, which includes the development of electrified models throughout the range and an accelerated journey towards electrification. It also includes a social focus, creating healthy communities by enabling social cohesion and mobility. As you see, we have a lot in the pipeline coming up,” shared Stefanie.
For Stefanie it’s all about the people at Bentley Motors. Creative, curious and courageous minds coming together to shape the future of luxury mobility. People from many different backgrounds, ethnicity, and gender create a sense of belonging there. This diversity is really special and valuable and offers the right attitude and mindset that will help develop great ideas in the future.
“In communications you spend a lot of time in front of your laptop and in meetings. I once read a quote that said ‘People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything’. That makes me laugh every single time. Because for me, talking to and learning from colleagues is key in our job. We are strong when we listen, and smart when we share. Most of the time communications is all about connecting the dots, consultation and help bringing the Bentley story to life. If I need to look for inspiration, I really love strolling around the “Dream Factory”, as we call our site. There is so much to explore in terms of sustainability,” imparted Stefanie.
Choosing a favourite Bentley is nearly impossible for Stefanie. For her every Bentley is absolutely stunning, but Stefanie did single out the one-of-a-kind Flying Spur bearing the words ‘Love is Love’ that Bentley unveiled two years ago ahead of Pride month, as a very eye-catching and empowering statement.
“Very soon we will introduce another bold edition. The next major milestone will be the first fully electric Bentley, entering the market in 2026. This masterpiece will prove that it is possible to be sustainable, adopt new technologies and still remain true to the core values of the company, building luxury, sporting vehicles,” said Stefanie.
The smell and feel of the leather used in Bentleys is one of my most vivid memories from my time driving these luxury vehicles, but some consider leather not to be sustainable. To reduce the environmental impact of leather Bentley only uses leather that is a by-product of the meat industry, managed through the supplier’s traceability processes, and by sourcing from within the European Union, Bentley also avoid hides linked directly to deforestation.
“Actions like this are reflective of the work within the supply chain to encourage greater green processes. Bentley is working on a number of other initiatives to improve the leather supply chain and reduce CO2 emissions from the leather we use. We are collaborating with our suppliers to improve the traceability of the hide to a specific farm or local area.
Additionally, we are working with our leather suppliers to ensure our hides are only sourced from ethical farms within dependently audited and verified animal welfare standards. We have also begun investigating processes which demonstrate potential for furthering the sustainable treatment of our leather, including tanning and the increased use of green chemicals and the reduction of energy and water waste,” added Stefanie.
The Bentley story began over 100 years ago with bold pioneers pushing boundaries to set the pace on the racetrack. Now the brand is once again setting the pace in the transition to sustainable luxury mobility. Stefanie Lackner is the person communicating their sustainability progress to the world.
“To all the young talents out there: If you have a dream, follow it, work hard, and believe in yourself to attain it. Be bold, take changes and step out of your comfort zone. This is when you make progress and learn. Most importantly: enjoy the ride and what life has to offer,” concluded Stefanie.
Main photograph by Bentley Motors. Article photographs by Driven Women and Magazine.