MAN Truck & Bus

Portrait of Dr. Roman Hilgers laughing into the camera.

Sustainably setting MAN up for the future

In conversation with Dr. Roman Hilgers


Sustainability is at the core of the new strategy at MAN, which is intended to increase the company’s resilience and prepare for future opportunities. What does it mean for employees, customers and suppliers? MAN’s head of strategy Dr. Roman Hilgers answers the key questions.

This new strategy is called NewMAN. What are the key messages of the strategy?

Hilgers Our top objective is to simplify our customers’ business – by means of leading, sustainable solutions. We’re relying on smart und innovative offers for digitalisation, zero emission and automated driving. We're establishing a robust company setup to be able to withstand increased competition and crises and to ensure the financial basis for investments in the future. To achieve all this, we need to act as a strong team.

Why is sustainability so important?

Hilgers We want to live up to our social responsibility and see sustainability as a core aspect in remaining globally competitive. That is why we very consciously anchor sustainability in the DNA of our company.

Has political pressure forced you to emphasize sustainability?

Hilgers Politics creates the legal framework for our business and also for the sustainability topic. However, our sustainability strategy goes beyond legal requirements in many areas, for example by considering decarbonization along the entire value chain. More than ever before, policymakers need to shape and accelerate the shift toward sustainability. One example is the development of charging infrastructure and the switch to renewable energies. They are an essential factor in enabling us to exploit the potential of electrically powered trucks and buses.

Aren’t ecology and economy a contradiction in terms?

Hilgers Not at all. Ecology and economy are not a contradiction, they are closely interwoven. One example: The issue of climate protection is ever more gaining relevance, also with our customers in the traditionally very cost-conscious B2B sector. Thus, demand for electric vehicles is on the rise. However, these not only reduce CO2 emissions, but will also be more attractive than internal combustion vehicles for customers from an overall cost perspective in the future.

Does MAN see sustainability as only involving ecological criteria?

Hilgers No. Although decarbonisation is a priority topic for commercial vehicle manufacturers, the term includes far more dimensions. In addition to environmental considerations, we’re also pushing forward with social aspects and the principles of good corporate governance. We see these so-called ESG criteria (Environmental, Social, Governance) as intertwined.

How long has MAN been committed to sustainability?

Hilgers MAN has been committed to social causes and climate protection for many years. But now we’re looking at the issue more holistically, inextricably linking it with our corporate strategy. The guidelines in the UN Global Compact help us to anchor and shape sustainability in a strategic manner.

Climate protection is one of the main aspects in your strategy. What decarbonisation targets have you set for the company?

Hilgers We joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in 2021. Our membership obliges us to define binding, science-based targets for reducing our climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement. We will publish our targets in 2022 after the SBTi has validated them.

What exactly is MAN already doing today to reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions?

Hilgers We’re reducing emissions along the entire value chain. On the one hand, this relates to direct emissions from our company, which occur in production, for example. Through the use of renewable energy sources, a modernisation of the energy supply and efficiency measures, we saved 123,500 tonnes of CO2 in 2019 compared to 2008. That corresponds to the carbon footprint of a small town. However, we are also reducing the indirect emissions that occur, for example, in the use of our vehicles by customers. To this end, we offer increasingly efficient engines, for example, as well as a fully electric city bus and van in series production. Further e-models will follow.

What are the consequences for your production sites?

Hilgers We’re striving to achieve balance sheet CO2-neutral production by 2030. So we’ll be continuing and extending the measures regarding reductions in emissions and thus make our existing production sites increasingly sustainable.

What part do your energy providers and suppliers play?

Hilgers They’re significant partners in helping MAN to reduce its indirect emissions. That’s why we’re in regular contact with them and exchange ideas on ways to jointly protect the climate. We’ve also defined criteria that our suppliers have to meet. As far as our energy providers are concerned, we’re clearly relying on renewable sources in future.

What are the next milestones in MAN’s sustainability strategy?

Hilgers We will have our decarbonisation targets defined and submitted to the SBTi by the end of the year – then we’ll introduce or intensify the planned measures. Next year, we will also complete the revision of the sustainability strategy in a comprehensive ESG sense.

How does NewMAN impact your product range?

Hilgers As well as conversion of the power train, our vehicles are becoming increasingly digitised and automated. This creates further potential for CO2 reductions – in addition to electrification – such as through optimised route planning. We’re also offering our customers integrated solutions that extend beyond the vehicle itself, which for instance help simplify our customers’ conversion to e-mobility. All in all, we see a great opportunity for MAN in the further development of the product range based on the NewMAN strategy.


Dr. Roman Hilgers studied in Karlsruhe, Adelaide and Buenos Aires and graduated as an industrial engineer. He subsequently worked for six years as a consultant at Boston Consulting Group. In 2016 he joined MAN, currently heading the Strategy and Sustainability team.

Interview   Heimo Fischer
Photos   MAN

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