Volvo Cars to become carbon-neutral by 2040

Volvo Cars has announced plans to become a carbon-neutral company by 2040, with short-term targets in place to slash emissions by 40% and generate 50% of its global sales from electric vehicles (EVs).

Volvo Cars to become carbon-neutral by 2040

Between 2018 and 2025

Volvo has revealed that the new ambition will align with the Paris Agreement’s higher ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

“We are transforming our company through concrete actions, not symbolic pledges,” Volvo Cars’ chief executive officer Håkan Samuelsson said. “So, at Volvo Cars, we will address what we control, which is both our operations and the tailpipe emissions of our cars. And we will address what we can influence, by calling on our suppliers and the energy sector to join us in aiming for a climate-neutral future.”

The company will implement short-term measures to help reach the 2040 goal. Between 2018 and 2025, Volvo Cars will reduce its lifecycle carbon footprint by 40%.

By 2025, the company expects its global manufacturing network to be carbon neutral. Volvo’s engine factory in Sweden has become the firm’s first “climate-neutral” manufacturing plant after switching to renewable heating in January 2018.

The existing goal of generating 50% of global sales from fully EVs will also be kept. That target was introduced alongside goals to have 35% of women in leading positions by 2020 and to work with international partners to promote sustainable business worldwide. The EV goal will result in a 50% reduction in tailpipe emissions by 2025, the company added.

In 2017, Volvo announced that every vehicle launch from 2019 onwards will have an electric motor, in a move described by the company as a “historic end” to the combustion engine.

Other short-term targets include a 25% reduction in carbon emissions from the supply chain by 2025 and for 25% recycled plastics to be incorporated into new Volvo cars. A 25% reduction in carbon emissions generated by the company’s overall operations, including logistics will also be targeted.

Net-zero manufacturing

Volvo’s commitment follows a host of major companies setting or hitting carbon-neutral manufacturing facilities.

Bentley Motors’ corporate headquarters and main manufacturing facility in Crewe has achieved carbon-neutral certification, with a solar-powered carport, green energy contracts and carbon offsets used to decarbonise the plant.

Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler has committed to making all cars across the brand’s portfolio carbon-neutral within the next two decades. The commitment will cover the manufacture, use and end-of-life stage for all branded cars initially, with Daimler also committing to work with suppliers in order to spur the creation of carbon-neutral supply chains in the future. 

Audi has also set a similar commitment to ‘climate-neutrality’ – which it defines as having carbon-neutral manufacturing status across all plants by 2030. 

Outside of the automotive industry, cigarette giant Philip Morris International (PMI), last week, announced its intention to make all of its factories carbon neutral by 2030, after its Klaipeda factory in Lithuania reached the status.

The net-zero transition at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum

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Matt Mace

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