Group Sustainability Council
For assistance on strategic topics of sustainability and social responsibility the Volkswagen Group appointed an international Sustainability Council in September 2016.
Nine internationally renowned experts from politics, science and research advise Volkswagen AG, the Group Executive Board as well as the Group Brands on the topics of sustainable mobility, environmental protection, and social responsibility as well as integrity, the future of work, and digitization.
They will be independent, not obliged to follow instructions and will be equipped with far-reaching information and consultation rights, as well as rights to operate on its own initiative.
In its inaugural meeting in October 2016 the Group Sustainability Council set the agenda for its work. It appointed Georg Kell, Founding Director UN Global Compact, as its chair. Its first areas of focus will be the challenges of global CO2 pollution and the corresponding regulations post 2025, plus the company's transformation process.
Prof. Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer – Deputy Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Prof. Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer is professor for Economics of Climate Change at the Technical University Berlin, deputy director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC).
Professor Ottmar Edenhofer (born 1961 in Bavaria) studied economics and philosophy at the University of Munich and holds a diploma in economics from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich and a B.A. in philosophy (“summa cum laude”) from the Munich School of Philosophy (Hochschule für Philosophie). In 1999, he wrote his Ph.D. thesis in economics (“summa cum laude”).
Among others, he is member of the Academy of Sciences Hamburg, the International Association of Energy Economics (IAEE), the working group “Climate, Energy & Environment“ of the German National Academy of Science Leopoldina, the Advisory Committee of the Green Growth Knowledge Platform and the German National Academy of Science and Engineering acatech.
Being one of three co-chairs of WG III, Ottmar Edenhofer led the assessment cycle of the PCC Working Group III from 2008 to 2015 "Mitigation of climate change" which produced the Fifth Assessment Report "Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change" in April 2014.
Ottmar Edenhofer authored a considerable number of articles published by Science, PNAS, Nature Climate Change and in various high-ranking environment, energy and resource economics publications and various books.
Connie Hedegaard – former EU Commissioner for Climate Action
Connie Hedegaard is member of the board at Aarhus University and chairwoman of the Kann Foundation, an international environment foundation. From 2010 to 2014, Ms. Hedegaard was European Commissioner for Climate Action and from 2004 to 2009 Danish Minister for Environment and Nordic Cooperation as well as Minister for Climate and Energy.
Ms. Hedegaard was born in Holbæk (Denmark) in 1960 and graduated in 1991 with a master‘s degree in literature and history. She started her political career as a member of the Danish Parliament for the Conservative People’s Party in 1984. From 1990 to 2004 she worked as a journalist for various media outlets before she continued her political career.
Among others, Ms. Hedegaard was President of the Atlantic Association of Young Political Leaders, board member of the Democracy Foundation, chairwoman of the Centre for Cultural Cooperation with developing countries and chairwoman of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs‘ Development Foundation.
Connie Hedegaard was awarded with the Ebbe Munck Award, the Christian Listeners and Viewers Association Award, the People’s Education Association Culture Award and the National Press Club of Denmark Award.
Prof. Dr. Gesche Joost – Professor at the University of the Arts in Berlin
Prof. Dr. Gesche Joost is a professor at the University of Arts in Berlin and head of the Design Research Lab. Since 2014, she is appointed as a Digital Champion for the EU Commission by the Federal Government of Germany.
Prof. Joost was born in Kiel (Germany) in 1974 and holds a diploma in design from the University of Applied Sciences in Cologne as well as a Ph.D. in Rhetorics from the University of Tübingen. From 2008 to 2010, she was junior professor at Technical University Berlin in the Interaction Design & Media department. Her research focuses on Human-Computer-Interaction, Wearable Computing and Social Sustainability in Community Building processes.
Prof. Joost is chairwoman of the German Society for Design Theory and Research. She is member of the board of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes), appointed member of the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) as well as full member of the Goethe Institute. Since 2015, she is member of the Advisory Board of SAP SE as well as member of the Advisory Council for Consumer Affairs of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.
Georg Kell – Founding Director UN Global Compact
Georg Kell is founding director of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative. He also oversaw the conception and launch of the Principles for Responsible Investment, the sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative and the Principles for Responsible Management initiative. He is Vice Chairman of Arabesque Partners (Arabesque Asset Management Ltd.), an Anglo-German asset management firm that integrates environmental, social and governance data with quantitative investment strategies.
Mr. Kell was awarded with advanced degrees in economics and engineering from the Technical University Berlin. Afterwards, Mr. Kell started his postgraduate studies and worked as a researcher for the Fraunhofer Institute. He worked as a financial analyst evaluating investment portfolios of several multinational companies in Asia and Africa. Later on, he was head of UNCTAD’s New York office and senior officer in the executive office of the UN Secretary-General.
Mr. Kell has received numerous recognitions and has been named among the “100 Most Influential in Business Ethics“ every year since 2011.
Yves Leterme – former OECD Deputy Secretary-General and former Prime Minister of Belgium
Yves Leterme is Secretary-General of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) and a former leader of the Christian Democratic and Flemish Party (CD&V) in Belgium and member of the federal Chamber of Deputies and Senate.
Mr. Leterme was born in Wervik (Belgium) in 1960 and studied political sciences and law at the University of Leuven and the University of Ghent.
Mr. Leterme held a variety of political posts in Belgium at all levels and in all areas of government: He is a former Belgian prime minister, former federal minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade in Belgium as well as former Minister-President of Flanders. During his tenure as prime minister, Belgium held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. He is currently Minister of State. From 2011 to 2014, he was Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, where he was responsible for the areas of social policy, employment, health, and small and medium enterprises. Before entering national politics, Mr. Leterme served as an auditor at the country's Court of Audit and Administrator at the European Parliament.
Furthermore, Mr. Leterme is the Chief Investigator Financial Fairplay of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), member of the Supervisory Board of Tele Columbus AG and a judge of the European Business Award.
Margo T. Oge, former Director of Transportation Air Quality, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Margo T. Oge is the former Director of the Office of Transportation Air Quality of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where she served for 32 years. Among others, she led the implementation of the EPA’s first-ever national greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and heavy-duty trucks to double fuel efficiency by 2025 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent.
She is the author of the book “Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars” and serves as a Distinguished Fellow with the ClimateWorks Foundation. She also serves as the Vice Chairman of the Board of DeltaWing Technologies, member of the Board for the National Academies of Science Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), the DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Advisory Committee and the National Academies of Science Advisory Committee for the U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program. She is also an advisor to Square Roots, a life science company.
Ms. Oge was born in Athens, Greece and holds a master‘s degree in engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
She received Presidential Awards from Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as well as numerous environmental and industry awards.
Michael Sommer, former President of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB)
Michael Sommer is deputy chairman of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, member of the board of trustees of VolkswagenStiftung and former chairman of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB).
Michael Sommer was born in Büderich (Germany) in 1952. He studied german and political sciences at Free University Berlin and holds a degree in political science. From 1980 to 1993, he was Trade Union Secretary in various positions at Deutsche Postgewerkschaft (German posts and telecommunications trade union) in Bremen and Frankfurt/Main. Afterwards, he was a member of the executive committee and deputy chairman of Deutsche Postgewerkschaft as well as deputy chairman of trade union Ver.di. From 2002 to 2014, Mr. Sommer was chairman of the German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) and – between 2010 and 2014 – president of the International Trade Union Confederation.
Since 2000, Michael Sommer is a member of the supervisory board of Deutsche Telekom. He received the Order of Merit (First Class) of the Federal Republic of Germany as well as the Grand Gold Medal of the Republic of Austria.
Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
Elhadj As Sy is Secretary General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Mr. Sy is a member of the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for the WHO Health Emergencies Program. In 2016, he was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the high-level Advisory Group for Every Woman Every Child and to the Global Health Crises Task Force.
Mr. Sy was born in Senegal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in arts and human sciences from the University of Dakar, pursued master’s studies in arts and German philology from the University of Graz (Austria), and graduated from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.
From 1988 to 1997, Mr. Sy was a director of the Health and Development Programs of Environment and Development Action in the Third World (Dakar), UNAIDS representative in New York, director of the New York Liaison Office, Africa Regional Director and later Director of the Operational Partnerships and Country Support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Geneva, Switzerland), and Director, HIV/AIDS Practice at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).