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Sustainability Council praises commitment to environmental protection

The Volkswagen Group’s Sustainability Council has presented its first interim report. One of the key findings: the company’s commitment to climate protection is right – further steps must follow.

Modern office facades stand out against red brick walls. The television tower can be seen down a narrow street. At the EUREF campus in Berlin, where the energy supply is already CO2-neutral, everything revolves around sustainability and mobility. The Volkswagen Group’s Sustainability Council launched one of its first projects here recently. And it has now presented its first interim report here. One of the key findings: the company’s commitment to the Paris climate targets is right – further steps must follow.

“From the very beginning, the Sustainability Council expected the Volkswagen Group to introduce e-mobility and decarbonization measures,” said council spokesman Georg Kell. The company recently committed to a clear plan for meeting the Paris climate protection targets and announced investments of more than €30 billion in electric mobility. According to Kell, this support for climate protection is a milestone and is worthy of recognition. “We now expect further steps towards decarbonization and dialog with interest groups to turn the crisis into an opportunity.”

“Implications for millions of people”

The Volkswagen Group’s Sustainability Council has presented its first interim report (from left): Georg Kell, Gesche Joost and Michael Sommer

In its report, the council advises Volkswagen to stop using fossil fuels as quickly as possible. It recommends the introduction of a decarbonization index which shows the environmental impact of all vehicles over their life cycle. The council also calls for greater use of measurements to document the progress made in environmental protection.

Essentially, the Sustainability Council believes that the technological shift towards electric mobility in the Volkswagen Group is on the right track. The council regards the change as crucial for the future of the company. At the same time, council member Michael Sommer made clear that the social consequences for the employees concerned must be clarified. “We have to think about the consequences for the millions of people who rely on well-functioning mobility every day,” said Sommer.

Dialog regarding future mobility

The Sustainability Council was established two years ago. It is made up of eight well-respected people who provide Volkswagen with impartial advice on topics such as sustainable mobility, environmental protection, social responsibility and integrity. In its report, the council welcomes the determination that the group management has shown in facing up to a double challenge, namely coping with the diesel crisis and the need to develop new technologies. In addition to decarbonization, the council regards an in-depth, transparent dialog with interest groups as the main priority for the future.  

Ralf Pfitzner, Head of Sustainability at the Volkswagen Group

The Sustainability Council has a €20 million budget of its own, which it uses to subsidize projects for innovation and cultural change. These projects include the Open Source Lab for Sustainable Mobility on the EUREF campus. “Acceptance among the general public is essential when producing sustainable mobility solutions. With the Open Source Lab, we offer a transparent communication platform for dialog,” said council member Gesche Joost.

Ralf Pfitzner, Head of Sustainability at the Volkswagen Group, underlined the importance of the council: “For Volkswagen, it is important to listen to the opinions and advice of representatives of important interest groups that offer an independent, critical assessment of the company’s transformation.”