Lamborghini Has a Surprising Sustainability Story

Tucked away in the small Italian town of Sant'Agata Bolognese sits one of Volkswagen Group's biggest experiments. It isn't a new hybrid supercar, though a few of those are on the way. It's the quieter, less sexy parts of the Lamborghini brand that the driving force behind one of the world's most sustainable car brands.

Sustainability takes on many forms. It isn't just zero tailpipe emissions, though that's the loudest talking point at the moment. The true impact of sustainable business practices stems from product development onto manufacturing and through the end of product's lifecycle.

Lamborghini is concentrating the hardest on the two elements they can directly control: development and manufacturing.

Walking around the Lamborghini plant, which was certified CO2 neutral in 2015, it looks like most other vehicle assembly facilities. It's clean, orderly, and full of right angles and long corridors. There's nothing particularly remarkable about it to the naked eye.

Lamborghini office Sant'Agata Bolognese Italy
Lamborghini has installed solar panels over its parking lot at the Sant'Agata Bolognese plant. Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

But, if you stand at the exit of the Urus paint shop and glance to your left, beyond the stalls housing mules of possible future vehicles unable to be written about today, you will see one of the company's biggest points of sustainability pride: a large, green field next to another and still another after that.

Underneath the chain of fields runs the pipeline that supplies the biomethane gas that will supply power to 50 percent of Lamborghini's manufacturing operations in 2023, replacing natural gas.

At the other end of the pipeline are two trigeneration plants that produce electricity, heating and cooling via a closed system that delivers nearly 4 million cubic meters of gas. Its biomethane use will reduce the company's carbon footprint by up to 80 percent - 11,400 tons per year.

The company has transitioned to transporting Urus body shells by rail, which resulted in an 85 percent reduction in process emissions.

Sustainability-focused changes in the operations inside the complex have already taken effect. Ninety-five percent of the paint used inside the company's paint shop is water-based. Solar panels provide shade and cover over vehicle holding areas. Cars are produced in Class A sustainable buildings, which are defined as having low energy consumption and maintenance costs.

carbon fiber Lamborghini bracelet
Bracelets made of recycled carbon fiber are shown on the wrist of a Lamborghini driver. Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

Leather and cabin fiber are upcycled and reused as part of new initiatives. Leftover leather is sent to a local company that employs workers from disadvantaged situations. Those workers create the leather goods sold in Lamborghini stores worldwide such as wallets and keychains.

Circularity in the use of carbon fiber is the goal for Lamborghini. It has a long way to get there, but the company has taken steps, creating promotional products from recycled carbon fiber, like bracelets. Twenty-seven tons of composite materials from Aventadors were recycled from 2020 to 2021.

Lamborghini doesn't draw the line at sustainable plant operations. They're devoting time and resources to other biological projects just down the street from the complex.

Lamborghini Park is home to another one of the company's sustainability initiatives. There, more than 10,000 oak trees stand in ecological harmony with numerous plant and animal species, with their growth being tracked by local university scientists to see what types of plots prove most beneficial to the environment.

Lamborghini Park bee hives
A worker at Lamborghini Park interacts with a group of bees within the experimental hive complex. Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

It's also the home to a bio-monitoring project with 13 hives filled with 600,000 bees, the fruits of which are data as well as honey that's highly sought after by company employees and a very limited number of friends. The apiary was established in 2016.

The hives are high tech. They contain instrumentation to measure the internal and external temperature, humidity and wind speed, as well as electronic scales that weigh each hive in order to remotely monitor if the bees are collecting enough nectar and pollen to grow in line with expectations.

These ecological projects are joined in the company's "Direzione Cor Tauri" plan, which is driven by the largest investment in Lamborghini history, €1.5 billion over four years.

The luxury automaker's entire rage will be hybrid by 2024 and a fully electric model is slated to be released by 2030.

Lamborghini honey
Lamborghini offers the honey created in Lamborghini Park to a select group of its staff members and friends. Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

Lamborghini is taking an all-encompassing approach to sustainability, not one that's fashionable or trendy. They're not touting their modest efforts toward electrification of vehicles or in-office recycling efforts and calling it a day. The company continues to push the boundaries both with sustainability and the vehicles they offer up to their consumers.