1. DEUTSCH
  2. Investor Relations
  3. Corporate Governance
  4. ESG Controversies

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NUR AUF ENGLISCH VERFÜGBAR

 

Volkswagen AG is in full transformation mode, pushing forward on our strategy with full force.  

Parallel to the transformation of our industry we are seeing the rising importance of ESG in investment decisions, which no one will argue has become mainstream and will continue to grow at a rapid pace.

The importance of ESG is also growing continuously within our organization and is fully embedded in our decision making processes. We believe we have made significant progress amongst others in the areas stated below.

Nevertheless we are fully aware that much more needs to be done.

We have learned that the area of controversies is a reoccurring concern.

This website addresses relevant current and ongoing controversies in a factual manner with the aim of increasing transparency for you our stakeholders.

We invite you to browse this content, welcome any feedback from your side, also on suggestions
of  further topics that require clarity, and we look forward to our increased dialogue.

Please feel free to send a mail to  (investor.relations@volkswagen.de) or contact

             alexander.hunger@volkswagen.de, +49 5361 947 420  or

             ulrich.hauswaldt@volkswagen.de, +49 5361 942224

who are responsible for ESG within the IR Team.

End of Independent Compliance Monitorship

Volkswagen AG successfully completed the Independent Compliance Monitorship under Agreements with U.S. Authorities.

During the Monitorship, Volkswagen implemented nearly 300 new or revised internal regulations and policies in the relevant legal entities to accelerate the rollout of new processes. These include:

  • Establishing a Group Compliance Committee, HR Steering Committee within the Group and new role for Environment, Health & Safety at Volkswagen Group of America
  • Launching Together4Integrity, a global framework to oversee Volkswagen’s integrity and compliance program as well as its cultural change activities;
  • The introduction of a group-wide uniform Code of Conduct for all 12 brands and all other companies;
  • Expanding the whistle-blower system by investing in processes, staffing and in IT infrastructure;
  • Publishing an employee survey conducted by the Ethics and Compliance Initiative (ECI)
     

Link to the Website:
https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/group/end-of-monitorship.html

Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI) https://www.ethics.org/

Human Rights

At Volkswagen Group, human rights, tolerance and respect for one another are the yardstick for our cooperation. This is what we stand for – developed to reflect the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights - also in China.

The respect of human rights is embedded in our Volkswagen Group-wide binding Code of Conduct.

We represent and live our standards and values in China and ensure that our work with all Volkswagen Groups factories, distribution companies and suppliers is based on our principles: for example, respect for minorities, employee representation, social and labor standards.

Volkswagen and its joint ventures strictly oppose any form of forced labor in our operations anywhere in the world, including China.

We have no evidence that forced labor is being used in our direct supply chain or at any of our production plants. At our plant in Urumqi, all employees have a direct labor contract with SAIC Volkswagen with equal pay for equal jobs.

Our joint ventures have an own Code of Conduct, a whistleblower and an external ombudsmen system to prevent or detect possible wrong doings or violations.

Volkswagen has built a long history with China and will remain firmly committed to its presence in China.


Link to the Website:
https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/sustainability/business-and-human-rights.html

United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures: Communication with the “Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises":

>  Letter UN Human Rights Special Procedures (12.03.2012)

> Reply by Volkswagen AG (10.05.2021)

Supply Chain / Sustainable Procurement, Code of Conduct

Volkswagen is convinced that a sustainable supplier network guarantees long term business success. All suppliers must accept the code of conduct which has been published under  www.vwgroupsupply.com. The code of conduct  defines legally compliant, sustainable and responsible business behavior under environmental, social and ethical aspects. Compliance with the code of conduct is evaluated by us for every relevant supplier on the basis of self-assessment questionnaires as well as possible local on site inspections. The sustainability index is directly relevant for the contract award: when a supplier does not meet our requirement for sustainability compliance standards, they are not entitled to a contract award. Therefore, there is a direct incentive for all suppliers to improve their sustainability performance.  

Supply Chain / Lithium – Cobalt

As a one of the forerunners of e-mobility, the Volkswagen Group is ensuring intends to ensure greater transparency and responsibility in its raw material supply chains for batteries. To that end, the company has entered a strategic partnership with RCS Global, an agency specializing in supply chain analysis. The focus is on auditing suppliers for conformance with human rights, safe working conditions and environmental protection along the supply chain all the way back to the mines.

The Group introduced a sustainability rating for direct suppliers and a comprehensive system developed by RCS Global also tracks adherence to sustainability criteria at sub-suppliers, refineries, smelters, mines and recyclers. New guidelines for improvements issued to suppliers make an active contribution to achieving improvements when risks and shortcomings are identified. Serious audit violations may even lead to the disqualification of suppliers from the supply chain. That applies, for example, to small-scale mining operators when child labor cannot be ruled out. The approach builds on the Due Diligence Guidelines of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Link to the website:
https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/news/2020/09/volkswagen_battery_raw_materials.html

https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/news/2019/04/Responsible_Sourcing_Network.html

https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/news/stories/2020/03/fact-finding-expedition-to-the-lithium-desert-of-chile.html

https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/news/stories/2020/03/lithium-mining-what-you-should-know-about-the-contentious-issue.html

Supply Chain / Leather

It can be excluded that the Volkswagen Group together with all its brands is sourcing or has ever sourced leather from Paraguay.

All our leather suppliers are working at a high level of sustainability. The general sustainability requirements of the Volkswagen Code of Conduct, which apply to all suppliers, are currently being adapted to leather.  In order to improve the sustainability in the supply chain, we are currently working on leather specific mandatory requirement document for sustainable purchasing. This list has a mandatory leather specific external audit , the disclosure of the sub-suppliers of the vendors as well as the exclusion of leather and other primary material related to illegal deforestation. Volkswagen is therefore proactively improving
transparency and responsibility in the leather supply chain.

Volkswagen is convinced that a sustainable supplier network guarantees long term business success. All suppliers must accept the code of conduct which has been published under  www.vwgroupsupply.com. The code of conduct  defines legally compliant, sustainable and responsible business behavior under environmental, social and ethical aspects. Compliance with the code of conduct is evaluated by us for every relevant supplier on the basis of self-assessment questionnaires as well as possible local on site inspections. The sustainability index is directly relevant for the contract award: when a supplier does not meet our requirement for sustainability compliance standards, they are not entitled to a contract award. Therefore, there is a direct incentive for all suppliers to improve their sustainability performance.

European Commission - Antitrust (08.07.2021)

With today's decision, the European Commission has ended a long-running administrative procedure.  In these proceedings, it had investigated various forms of cooperation between auto manufacturers and classified them for the most part as not relevant under antitrust law.

The Commission is breaking new legal ground with this decision, because it is the first time it has prosecuted technical cooperation as an antitrust violation. It is also imposing fines even though the contents of the talks were never implemented and customers were therefore never harmed. In fact, the tank sizes and ranges of the SCR vehicles at all the OEMs involved were two to three times higher than discussed in the talks.

In addition, the Commission expressly points out that there is no classic cartel in the form of price fixing, customer agreements or market sharing.

VW has cooperated fully with the European Commission throughout the proceedings.

Instead of a fine, it would have been more expedient for the automotive industry to issue clear guidelines on how cooperations in the context of research and evelopment can be structured in accordance with antitrust law in the view of the European Commission.  The existing Commission guidelines on horizontal cooperation agreements date from 2011 and no longer do justice to the complex challenges facing the automotive industry in particular in the area of necessary technical cooperation.  The large fines imposed in this case underscore the need for more comprehensive practical guidance from the Commission to ensure that legal uncertainties do not become a stumbling block to innovation in Europe.

VW will carefully review today's decision once served and then decide whether to appeal, if necessary. The latter would be possible until mid-September by bringing actions before the European Court in Luxembourg.

Volkswagen AG - Works Council Remuneration Scheme (28.09.2021)

Volkswagen AG sees its understanding vindicated that there was no criminal misconduct on the part of the accused relating to the determination of remuneration of individual works council members.

The remuneration system for Volkswagen AG works council members was developed and reviewed with external legal experts.
Nevertheless, there were open legal issues relating to long standing works council members’ remuneration.

The current court case was not directed at Volkswagen AG, but against individual persons.

 

Wichtiger Hinweis

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