Volvo Cars acknowledges the enormous impact that climate change has on nature, on people and, of course, on its own business. A large portion of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions come from transport. About half of these are from road transport. To be environmentally sustainable, the vehicles of the future will have to be very efficient and capable of running on renewable energy. Responding to the challenges of climate change is fundamental for Volvo Cars. The issue is given highest priority and is addressed at senior governance level; it is also a major focus of the research and development work carried out by Volvo Cars.
Reducing energy consumption and dependence on fossil fuels is critical to the survival of Volvo Cars as a company. Increased awareness and concern among consumers about human-induced climate change, combined with rising fuel prices, have led to greater consumer interest in more fuel-efficient vehicles. Increasing demands are also being made by decision-makers, with the EU fleet average regulations limiting emissions of new cars sold to no more than 130 g CO2/km from 2015, with phase-in requirements already in effect in 2012. Limiting CO2 emissions and curbing climate change is a tough challenge, but also a great opportunity for technical development.
Volvo Cars has a long tradition of developing systems and functions for cars that have benefited society in general. One such innovation is the Volvo Cars invention the Lambdasond (a three-way catalytic converter), which has become standard in cars worldwide. Volvo Cars is developing leading innovations with regard to energy efficiency, with the aim that such innovations will become new standards. Volvo Cars’ Environmental Strategy encompasses the car’s environmental impact throughout its life cycle – from development, use and service to recycling when the car is scrapped. Our greatest focus is on the actual use of the car because this affects the environment the most. A particularly significant factor is fuel consumption. For this reason alternative fuels and Powertrains are a high priority for research within Volvo Cars. Although Volvo Cars’ environmental improvement efforts to reduce climate impact focus mainly on vehicle development, they also include the environmental effects of all production facilities and logistics flows.
The following timeline shows some of the highlights of Volvo Cars’ work on environmental issues over the years. Environmental strategy Volvo Cars’ Environmental Strategy is based on a holistic approach in which environmental considerations form part of all operations. The Environmental Strategy is not only an integrated part of the overall Business Strategy – it is also included in all projects and daily operations. The Environmental Strategy is updated annually according to current business development and global challenges in order to achieve a competitive environmental performance (see below). The different strategy areas are: Products:
- Energy efficiency including electrification
- Alternative fuels
- Interior environment
- Materials and recycling Operations:
- Zero environmental accidents
- Water conservation and water emission performance
- Energy efficiency and climate-neutral operations
- Emissions to air
- Total waste management
- Soil and ground water management
- Sustainable transport solutions
The Environmental Strategy for Operations has been implemented as targets and activities within different units, such as Purchasing & Manufacturing, Research & Development and the Aftermarket organization. By doing so, Volvo Cars aims to increase efficiency and to encourage the whole company to improve the environmental performance.
Volvo Cars continuously follows up on environmental objectives and action plans in its operations. Refined targets were set in 2014 within the areas listed above, which include energy savings (GWh) generated by specific projects and reduction of water used in operations. It has been concluded that while Volvo Cars did progress in these areas during 2014, there is a need to focus on sustainable transportation and waste management. Stretched targets for these areas will be established during 2015. As part of the strengthened environmental target-setting process throughout the company, Volvo Cars continuously reports its performance against its Environmental Strategy to the Executive Management Team and the Board of Directors.