Central. Local. Global.

The Volkswagen Group has a clear goal: by 2018 we aim to be the world’s most succesfull, fascinating and sustainable automobile manufacturer. For us, sustainable means a form of responsible long-term economic activity that benefits everyone – employees, customers, investors, environment and society. This calls for appropriate endeavors by all brands in all regions where they operate, and along the entire value chain.


As one of the world’s biggest automakers we bear a special responsibility for the environment and for people – whether as employees, customers, neighbors, or our suppliers’ employees. By 2050, from a current level of about one billion, the number of vehicles on the world’s roads will more than double. We will account for a considerable share of this increase. It will involve new jobs, but also rising emissions and increasing resource consumption. So we consider it one of our most important tasks to make mobility as eco-friendly as possible and affordable for large numbers of people. Individual mobility is not only a basic human need, but for many – especially in the emerging and developing economies – it is a sheer necessity. With trend-setting technologies and social competence we will make our contribution to a sustainable form of development that gives future generations the same opportunities as the present one.

By 2050 the number of vehicles on the world’s roads will have more than doubled.

Central Challenges

The Volkswagen Group has identified climate change, air quality, resource conservation and shifting demographic structures, especially in Europe and China, as primary central challenges with a global impact. These factors also involve social developments, which can differ widely depending on the individual markets. We analyze these developments carefully and gear our strategy to them in the interests of long-term success and profitability. Examples include progressive urbanization, increasing transparency requirements for businesses and a growing public awareness of employment and resource efficiency issues. These trends are accompanied by changes in consumer habits. Whereas a new middle class in the emerging economies wants high-quality products, the saturated market in Europe is calling for new services. At the same time new regulatory measures that have a considerable impact on our business operations are being introduced in both spheres.

Public awareness of employment and resource efficiency issues is growing.

Observation of environmental and social mega trends, analysis of the overall economic framework, tracking of upcoming customer trends and benchmarking against our competitors are brought together in a single process. This ensures that the important decisions for production, procurement and sales structures are taken with a ten-year timeline. Another instrument for identifying challenges and expectations and for dealing with changing conditions is the stakeholder dialogue, which we cultivate at both Group and market level.

Our Strategy

To meet the challenges and ensure the Group’s sustainable success, we have identified action areas and defined strategic objectives for the year 2018. We have summarized these in a diagram in line with the three dimensions of sustainability – a vision that we pursue in all we do. This clearly outlines the pivotal key points for the entire Group for the years ahead.



  • Reducing risks by stepping up compliance and training in antitrust and competition law, ongoing
  • Supplier training: in-depth audits and training in sustainability, step up supplier monitoring and E-Learning, ongoing
  • More than two thirds of the total investment of €50.2 billion go into more efficient vehicles, new technologies and eco-friendly production, 2015
  • Top for customer satisfaction in core markets with product, dealership and latest workshop visit, 2018
Qualification Responsibility
  • Establish three-tier pay systems with basic pay, profit sharing and performance component as Group standard, ongoing
  • Extend Volkswagen Checkups and screening programs, ongoing
  • Develop graduate entrants and excellent training within all the Berufsfamilien (professional families), ongoing
  • Advancement of women to achieve the long-term goal of 30% women at all levels of hierarchy, ongoing
  • Vocational, specialized and Meister (group leader) qualification to identical standards worldwide, 2018
Environmental protection
CO2 reduction
Resource conservation
  • Optimize use of Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB), ongoing
  • Improve recyclability and ensure it by labeling materials, ongoing
  • Build and expand production facilities to the highest environmental standards, making use of renewable energy sources, ongoing
  • Creation of innovative mobility concepts, ongoing
  • Reduce CO2 emissions from European new car fleet by about 30% to 120 g/km, 2015
  • Each new model presents superior environmental characteristics to its predecessor, ongoing
  • Introduce new models with economical or alternative drive technology, ongoing
  • Become market leader in electric mobility, 2018
  • Reduce energy and water consumption, waste and emissions per production unit by 25% Group-wide (base year 2010), 2018
  • Reduce specific greenhouse gas emissions from energy consumption in Germany by 40%, 2020
  • Reduce CO2 emissions by European new car fleet to 95 g/km, 2020

For further details on the sustainability roadmap see here.

Guidelines and Principles

Our activities are governed not only by our strategic objectives, but also by our principles and voluntary undertakings. These include the following:

  • Volkswagen Group values: Our position is defined by seven values. These are customer focus, top performance, creating value, ability to renew, respect, responsibility and sustainabil-ity (2002). 6
  • Volkswagen Model of Sustainable Development: Adopted in 2002 to mark the UN World Summit in Johannesburg (South Africa), this provides a Group-wide framework for sustainable and responsible action. 7
  • Volkswagen Group Code of Conduct: Introduced in 2010, this applies throughout the Group and provides managers and employees with a guide to meeting legal and ethical challenges in their everyday work. The Code takes its lead from the Group values. 8
  • Commitment to United Nations Global Compact: In 2002 the Volkswagen Group signed the Global Compact, thereby committing itself to the Compact’s ten principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. With our Communication on Progress on the implementation of these principles, in 2013 we again reached “Global Compact Advanced Level”.
    In 2013 this commitment was extended to include the CEO Water Mandate, which imposes obligations to make careful use of water resources.

We also make sure that our activities are in line with the

  • Declarations of the International Labour Organization (ILO),
  • Guidelines and conventions of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and
  • UN international pacts on fundamental human rights and freedoms.

We have created our own framework for this purpose in the Volkswagen Social Charter, the Charter on Labour Relations and the Charter on Temporary Work, all of which apply throughout the Group. Group-wide environmental protection is governed by the Group’s Environmental Policy and its Environmental Principles Product and Environmental Principles Production.

The new XL1 is currently the world’s most economical and eco-friendly car. Here we use the most innovative systems and materials available in the interests of maximum efficiency.



Our aim is to practice sustainability and corporate responsibility worldwide. With over 570,000 employees and 106 production facilities on four continents we are in a particularly good position to do so. Our approach is to transfer best practices from brand to brand, from region to region. There are already numerous examples of how this works – from the Modular Transverse Matrix for the Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and ŠKODA brands, through the dual vocational training and education system and in-service training opportunities that we introduce to the regions, to mobility services, concepts for road safety, social responsibility and biodiversity projects. In this way we seek to turn our size and growth to good advantage and exercise our responsibility for our employees, the environment and society.