Good. Better. Sustainable.

By 2018 the Volkswagen Group wants to become the world’s most sustainable automobile manufacturer and has set itself some ambitious environmental targets in order to achieve this. In 2013 we moved a significant step closer to meeting our goals in terms of production, product design and intelligent mobility concepts. And with our broad-based Powertrain and Fuel Strategy, we are also on the right track in commercial terms.


The Environmental Strategy signed off by the Group Board of Management provides a framework for taking the Company to the top of the environmental league and is based around four target areas: “Top in intelligent mobility”, “Leaders in eco-friendly products”, “Top in lifecycle-based resource conservation” and “Consistent anchoring throughout the Company”. Intelligent mobility unites our philosophy of mobility and comfort, environmental protection and low costs with the avoidance of wastefulness in transport. Efficient interplay between people, infrastructure, technology and transport is pivotal to our approach. Driven by our quest for environmental leadership by 2018, we are committed to making our production up to 25% more eco-friendly per vehicle manufactured than in 2010. In concrete terms, 25% reductions are to be achieved in energy and water consumption, as well as in CO2/km and solvent emissions and waste for disposal.

25% less energy, water, waste, solvents and CO2 by 2018.

For our German sites, which currently account for around 45% of our Group-wide CO2 emissions from production, we have set ourselves an even more ambitious target: greenhouse gas emissions associated with the supply of energy to production are to be cut by 40% by 2020 compared with 2010 levels, in line with the German Government’s target. Alongside efficient, resource-conserving production and intelligent mobility concepts, the development of eco-friendly vehicles is a major focus of our activities. By 2020, we are aiming to reduce the CO2 emissions of our European new-car fleet to 95 g/km (CO2/km). We also aim to make every new Volkswagen generation between 10 and 15% more efficient than its predecessor.

Our lifecycle-based approach to resource conservation means that our developers are committed to making the environmental characteristics of each new model better than those of its predecessor, and we have embedded this goal in our Group Environmental Principles Product.

To firmly anchor this principle in our corporate conscience, we have devised a modular structure based around the business areas at every stage of the value chain. Not only do we address environmental issues relating to production and the products themselves; we also extend this approach to logistics and recycling. We have defined a fixed organizational and reporting structure to manage these topics, and those responsible systematically share best practices in a global network. In the reporting year 2013, we held a Group-wide strategy workshop with all business areas, culminating in the compilation of an ambitious raft of measures and the definition of clear responsibilities and reporting structures.

Challenges and Goals

The serious risks associated with climate change pose a central challenge for the Volkswagen Group. The Group-wide risk management system therefore analyzes every risk from a quantitative and qualitative perspective and rates it according to defined indicators. At the same time, climate change is transforming customer requirements and creating fresh opportunities. Volkswagen is developing a growing number of new technologies, products and services to address the challenges associated with climate change, from eco-friendly vehicles and supplementary services, to fuel-saver driving courses and energy products for mobility and beyond. For example, we offer:

  • A unique portfolio of 324 low-consumption model variants with emissions of 120 g CO2/km or less, including 54 model variants with emissions below 100 g CO2/km.
  • The use of efficiency badges in our product communications, to spotlight particularly efficient vehicles and technologies with low CO2 emissions. Our Environmental Commendations have an important part to play here.
  • Information and campaigns that encourage users to adopt fuel-efficient, eco-friendly driving practices.
  • New developments such as high-efficiency cogeneration plants powered by the latest natural gas engines, which are marketed as “home power plants” by our cooperation partner LichtBlick and linked into the grid.
  • New e-mobility services, such as a green power scheme in collaboration with LichtBlick and a rapid-charging infrastructure (“wallbox”) in collaboration with Bosch Automotive Service Solutions.


Our Commitment to Emission Targets

In March 2013, we announced that the Group was planning to reduce the fuel consumption of its new-car fleet even further than originally planned. We aim to meet the European Union’s average emission target of 95 g CO2/km by 2020. The Volkswagen Group is the first car manufacturer to commit to this ambitious target, which equates to an average fuel consumption of less than four liters (4.1 l petrol, 3.6 l diesel) per 100 km across all segments and vehicle classes. Greenpeace Germany called this decision an “important symbol of commitment to environmental protection and society, and to the mass production of climate-friendly technical solutions”. With our intermediate target of reducing CO2 emissions from the European new-car fleet to 120 g CO2/km by 2015 we will already be 12 g below the legal requirement. The current Group Environmental Principles Product also stipulate requirements on CO2 reductions. The Group reports regularly on its climate protection strategy to the CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), a consortium of institutional investors. In September 2013, CDP listed us in their Performance and Disclosure Leadership Index for the first time and in the same year presented the Group with an award for its performance.

95 g CO2 per kilometer by 2020: Volkswagen Group is backing the European emissions target.

In China, the Volkswagen Group is launching the biggest investment program in the country’s automotive history. Of the €9.8 billion earmarked for the expansion of manufacturing capacity by 2015, more than two thirds will be invested in high-efficiency products and resource-conserving production. Average fuel consumption by the 70 plus models in the fleet had already been reduced by 20% between 2005 and 2010, and a further 11% will be cut by 2015. Volkswagen already meets legal requirements on fleet consumption in China that came into force in 2012, and has ambitious plans to reduce this still further over the next few years, not least by boosting the efficiency of its engines and introducing alternative powertrains. These efforts will be assisted by a drive to build local research and development expertise.

Our Policy and Principles

Environmental protection in the Volkswagen Group rests on our global principles, which are binding for all Group brands:

  • Group Environmental Policy: First adopted in 1995, this policy provides the framework for all environmental activities of the brands and companies. 39
  • Group Environmental Principles Sites/Production (2007): Include production processes, infrastructure and general principles.40
  • Environmental Principles Product (2008): Focusing on the aspects of climate, resources and health, these principles state that over its entire lifecycle, every new vehicle model should exhibit superior environmental characteristics to its predecessor. 41
  • Mission Statement on Biodiversity (2008): We recognize our responsibility for species conservation and show that it is possible to successfully combine the requirements of material production with the conservation of biodiversity, in keeping with our philosophy of sustainable development. 42

All those responsible at Group headquarters, within the brands and at the sites are urged to comply with these environmental principles in every decision they take. The brands are free to formulate their own, farther-reaching environmental management guidelines and principles, should they wish. For example, based on the environmental principles, the Volkswagen brand has defined more stringent Environmental Goals for Technical Development relating to climate protection, resource conservation and health protection, and set specific targets within the framework of its “Think Blue. Engineering.” initiative.

Organization of Environmental Protection within the Group

The Group Chief Officer for the Environment, Energy and New Business Areas, a new post established in 2011, reports directly to the Volkswagen Group’s Sustainability Board. He heads up the Corporate Environmental & Energy Steering Group, which is dedicated to strengthening all activities around the world that help implement the Group Environmental Strategy and develop new business areas. This body and the Corporate CO2 Steering Group are made up of environment and sustainability experts, together with decision-makers from all relevant brands and areas. They draw on internal management and analysis tools such as Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) and the CO2 Registry, a tool which checks every Group vehicle project to gauge its contribution to the fleet CO2 target. Environmental officers at our European sites have been sharing their knowledge and experience since 1976. Regular Group Environmental Conferences were introduced in 1998 as a forum for the Group’s environmental officers and experts to discuss strategies, measures and projects. Work centers around the preparation of action plans which are subsequently discussed and adopted. Effective Group-wide environmental controlling supports these activities and provides a yardstick of progress for the Volkswagen Group.


Regular Group Environmental Conferences have been held since 1998.

We have also established a Group-wide network of climate and energy experts to foster knowledge-sharing between all brands and regions. As well as exchanging best practices, participants are also encouraged to engage in debate with international scientists, experts and other stakeholders.

Environmental Management System

The Group-wide environmental management system provides the organizational basis for meeting the Group’s environmental targets. Volkswagen ensures Group-wide compliance with all relevant national legislation. Building on the Group’s Environmental Policy and Environmental Principles, all brands are required to organize their environmental management systems autonomously in line with international standards. The Chief Environment Officer (Group Research) is responsible for the environmental management system at Volkswagen AG and at the Technical Development department of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand. Since 1995, the Volkswagen brand’s German sites have participated in EMAS (the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) while its production sites worldwide have undergone environmental certification procedures to international standard ISO 14001. The brand has been driving forward certification of its energy management systems to ISO 50001 since 2009. One particularly important factor here is to inform the employees and involve them in the management systems. To this end an intranet portal has been created to showcase best practice examples and facilitate direct contact with those responsible for their implementation. The portal also outlines basic regulations and provides tips on saving energy, including some generated by the central ideas management system. Nearly all of the Volkswagen brand’s European sites have now been certified to the new energy management standard ISO 50001. Other sites will follow over the next few years. In 1995, the Volkswagen brand’s Technical Development department established an environmental management system for the “development of motor vehicles with continuously improved environmental properties” to ISO 14001. Now in its 18th year, the system successfully completed its sixth recertification in 2013. Since 2009, the Technical Development environmental management system has also been aligned with ISO TR 14062. 43


EMAS ISO 14001 ISO 50001
22 89 22

Some sites apply both EMAS and ISO 14001.
The figures do not include our newly built sites in China, where the appropriate certification will follow.
A list of all certified sites can be found on the Internet. 45

Greenhouse Gas Inventory Tool (Scope 3)

The Volkswagen Group published its first Scope 3 Inventory for CO2 emissions as part of the 2012 Group Sustainability Report. In conjunction with the Scope 3 Standard published in 2011 by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI), the present report analyzes CO2 emissions for twelve out of a total of 15 Scope 3 categories. The data reveals that more than 93% of the total Scope 3 volume is generated in the emissions categories “Purchased goods and services” and “Use phase”. The data in these two categories are validated by external auditors from PricewaterhouseCoopers in accordance with the standard: ISAE 3000 International Standard on Assurance Engagements. 61