Reducing our environmental footprint

Source: www.rolavolvocars.co.za
Article

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time, and while the automobile industry remains intertwined with major environmental problems, it remains an essential part of our everyday lives. This is why the industry is looking to address both the fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions concern… With haste. And that’s why - to Volvo - sustainability is as important as safety.

Volvo’s ambition is to become a climate-neutral company by 2040. This means there will be no net increase of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere due to the activities of Volvo Cars. However, electrifying the fleet is not enough. Recognised as one of the most sustainability-minded companies in the car industry, the AB Volvo Group has a comprehensive climate plan in place which addresses carbon emissions across its operations and products.

The Aim

“Our ambition is to lead by example and we aim for our own transport system to be world-class by using sustainable management of environmental resources.”

Volvo’s main focus is to develop products and solutions that reduce the CO2 footprint by bringing innovative and competitive solutions to the market in areas where they can make the greatest impact. This involves using greater climate-neutral energy in both their own operations and among suppliers, as well as making better use of material and components.

The Method

Refurbish. Repurpose. Recycle

By integrating environmental consideration as a core value of the corporation, the group’s first tangible step toward their 2040 vision aims to reduce the lifecycle carbon footprint per car by 40 per cent between 2018 and 2025. This means reducing annual carbon emissions by 2.5 million tonnes and ensuring 25 per cent of the materials used within new cars is recycled and bio-based. This will be achieved by adopting circular economic principles like remanufacturing, recycling and reuse to consider the impact of every phase in the life cycle of their products.

1. Science-based targets

Science-Based Targets initiatives (SBTi) are designed to show organisations how much and how quickly they need to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Volvo aligns itself with these targets and methodology along with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

By incorporating ambitious targets and methodology, the Volvo Group can set emissions reduction targets in line with leading climate science - ultimately, leading them on a path towards decarbonisation.

2. Reducing carbon emissions

To tackle greenhouse gas emissions, Volvo has created ambitious and ground-breaking targets in line with the most recent climate research, as well as with the goals of the UN Paris Agreement on climate change.

Energy-efficient products and solutions mean significant savings for our customers and at the same time better environmental performance and less climate impact. Already today, we offer leading fossil-free alternatives such as zero-emission vehicles in our core segments. While the numbers of electric vehicles on the road are still small compared with traditional combustion drivetrains, the transition to low carbon transport and infrastructure is ongoing and increasing rapidly.

3. Renewable energy sources

One impactful measure is to replace fossil energy with renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass and biofuels, and reduce dependency on scarce materials and substances of concern. The Volvo Group currently has production facilities in 18 countries and approximately 100 sites around the world, and thus far, six of these sites are powered by 100% renewable energy, and several others source significant portions of their energy from climate-neutral electricity. In 2021, a total of 40% of all energy sourced by Volvo Group’s operations was from renewable sources.

4. Clean transport solutions

From a lifecycle perspective, the vast majority of emissions occur during the ‘usage phase’ of our products, and current population growth and urbanisation trends mean improving efficiency in transportation is more necessary than ever! To aid in this, Volvo is driving rapid technology development in areas such as connected-, electrified- and autonomous vehicles, which will result in significantly reduced logistics costs and improved sustainable transport systems.

First and foremost, we will drive the transformation towards electrification with the main alternatives BEV and fuel cells, but the transition to a fossil-free transport system requires a range of solutions.

Our main focus areas are:

● Creating electric and hydrogen-powered offers
● Using sustainable biofuels
● Creating solutions to optimise energy efficiency and reduce fuel consumption
● Using SBTi in our commercial vehicle ranges

5. Reducing production waste

One of Volvo’s circular economy ambitions is to move toward achieving zero disposal of waste to landfills by increasing the share of sustainable recycled and bio-based materials in their cars by 2025.

The largest waste stream from vehicle production is metal, while the disassembly and recycling process leaves behind a high quantity of high-quality raw materials. But thankfully, compared to producing new parts, remanufactured parts use around 85% less raw material and 80% less energy. Volvo is currently remanufacturing over 50 different recycled parts, including engines, gearboxes, turbo compressors and clutches.

In 2020, 95% of their global production waste was recycled, meaning they not only avoided creating additional carbon emissions but were able to keep valuable material in circulation and reduce the amount of virgin material needing to be produced. The vast majority of Volvo recycled material is steel, but up to 90% of hazardous waste is also recycled, including e-waste.

The Results Thus Far

“It’s the biggest challenge we’ve ever faced”, but, thus far, they have already received the Platinum Medal rating from EcoVadis, a leading provider of corporate sustainability assessments. Awarding them with the highest sustainability performance rating for the fourth consecutive year.

During the past year, the Volvo Group have continued to implement important steps in the transition towards a climate-neutral transport system. You can find out more about their progress on these targets here in their Annual and Sustainability Report 2021.

Rola Doing Our Part

To achieve these global goals, Rola Volvo Cars had also joined the campaign by further installing our own environmental initiatives. These include the use of glass water bottles in our dealership, using merchandise made from recycled materials like pens and pads made with cork, and concentrating our information, brochures and collateral online rather than printing.

We are also intent on stringent environmental practices within our workshop by recycling all of our metal and cardboard waste, and correctly disposing of and recycling all oil-contaminated items like plastic bottles, used oil filters and rags.

As we strive for more sustainable production, we continuously reduce waste and emissions, optimise water use and improve our handling of solvents, oils and chemicals.

One thing we know for sure about the future is that the demand for transport will increase. At the Volvo Group, we will continue to offer sustainable transport and charging infrastructure solutions in line with our commitment to the SBTi.

We’re part of the problem. So it’s our responsibility to change what we do and how we do it. “By working together we can drive the change we want to see.” - Eva Bennis, Director of Responsible Purchasing at Volvo Group Purchasing.



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