Volvo is telling 190 delegates at the annual gathering of the UN Global Compact Nordic Network that the corporate world is changing as consumers demand more sustainable products and practices, and the auto industry has to change with it.
Volvo Cars’ chief executive Håkan Samuelsson told the Nordic corporate sustainability experts representing 100 companies and organizations within the UN Global Compact (the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, of which Volvo Cars is a founding member) that customer demands and expectations make sustainability more than a box-ticking exercise and more of a business requirement. But he adds that it’s also a business opportunity.
“Our customers want safer, more sustainable and convenient cars,” said Samuelsson. “We can meet that demand, be a force for change and grow our business at the same time. I am confident that our next generation of fully autonomous, electrified and connected vehicles will help make the cities of the future cleaner, safer and smarter.”
Volvo Cars is adapting to the new reality by making sustainability an integral part of its corporate strategy, following through on nine commitments that directly support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed on by member states in 2015.
Among the commitments, the company pledges to eliminate injuries in its vehicles by 2020 (as well as eliminating serious workplace injuries by its employees and suppliers), to have as many as one million electrified vehicles on global roads by 2025 by offering an electrified version of each of its models, and to have carbon-neutral manufacturing that same year.
Toward those targets, Volvo Cars has already reduced its CO2 emissions by 70% since 2004 (including a 40% reduction at its Ghent, Belgium facility), it currently offers six plug-in hybrids, and its vehicles have world-leading passive and active safety features that have significantly reduced the potential for traffic crashes and the risks of injuries for Volvo vehicle drivers and occupants.
“Our commitments will not only help protect the environment and make people’s lives better and safer. They also make perfect business sense,” said Samuelsson. “We recognize the limitations of the internal combustion engine and the appetite for change in society. That is why we have such an ambitious target when it comes to electrification.”
Volvo Cars also works on its three main commitments with public and private partners, and with safety organizations and public bodies, to exchange knowledge and improve the technology that will aid in fulfilling its objectives. And all within the framework of a diverse and inclusive company culture.