Volkswagen revealed its plans in its recently published sustainability report for 2013 and resource efficiency document entitled ‘Commitment born of responsibility’.

In its sustainability report, the car maker said the topic of resource efficiency is going to shift further into the spotlight to help the company meet its ultimate aim of becoming the “world’s most sustainable automobile manufacturer” by 2018.

The car manufacturing giant has pledged to cut carbon emissions from its cars by 30% by 2015 against a 2006 baseline. It also proposes to reduce the environmental impact of its factories by 25% by 2018, against a 2010 baseline, by cutting its energy and water consumption and reducing waste volumes.

It promises to make new vehicles, on average, 10-15% more energy-efficient than previous models, as well as aiming to achieve a 40% reduce in greenhouse gas emissions associated with production-related energy supplies by 2020.

Volkswagen also revealed that the topic of resource-efficient products and production had jumped from being a low priority in 2012 for the company to a top one in 2013. Resource efficiency joined customer satisfaction, environmental protection and attractiveness as an employer, as being a pressing challenge for Volkswagen in 2013.

The company also said that more money will be spent on its resource-efficiency initiatives in the future. It stated: “For example, of the Group’s total investment spending of €2bn between 2013 and 2015, more than two thirds will be channelled directly or indirectly into increasingly efficient and ever safer vehicles. Alternative drive concepts such as electric mobility [will] become even more important.”

Volkswagen has been introducing sustainability initiatives to its vehicle brands. It owns the car brand Audi. Earlier this year, Audi developed a new online traffic light information system which could save up to 900 million litres of fuel and cut CO2 emissions by 15%.

Elsewhere, Volkswagen revealed that it viewed recycling as an integral part of its vehicle development. A total of 85% of each new vehicle can be recycled and 95% recovered, according to the company. It also stated that “new Volkswagen vehicles currently contain around one third recycled material”.

Volkswagen Group production chief Michael Macht said: “Resource conservation and sustainability in the production sector are pivotal for achieving our Group goals for 2018. We’re aiming not only to adopt eco-friendly practices but also to strike a balance between the three main factors: economy, ecology and society.”

Liz Gyekye

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