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April 22, 2022

VW Group gets climate change target upgrade

Independent initiative confirms Volkswagen Group’s new scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction targets now aligned with 1.5 degrees of global warming.

By David Leggett

VW Group says it has raised its ambition of emissions reduction targets in its own production facilities from 30 percent to 50 percent by 2030 compared to 2018.

To mark Earth Day (today, 22 April), Volkswagen is also launching its ‘Project1Hour’ for the second time: around 670,000 employees worldwide will be given one hour of working time to develop new climate protection ideas – for their own carbon footprint and that of their company.

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has scientifically reviewed and upgraded the ambition of Volkswagen Group’s emissions reduction  targets in production. Volkswagen ‘s SBTi ambition level thus rises from “below 2 degrees” global warming to “1.5 degrees” for its scope 1 (internal operations) and scope 2 (energy supply) emissions.

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) first assessed the Volkswagen Group’s scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction targets in September 2020. According to SBTi’s analysis, the plans at that time were in line with the Paris Climate Agreement’s requirement to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

The SBTi has now reassessed Volkswagen AG’s revised scope 1 and 2 emissions targets and upgraded the ambition level to 1.5 degrees. Volkswagen ‘s increased targets relate to its own production and its energy supply.

Previously, total CO2 emissions in manufacturing were to fall by 30 per cent from 2018 to 2030. The VW Group has now raised this target to 50 percent.

VW says it already obtains 96 per cent of its external electricity from renewable energy sources at its EU-sites. By next year, the company wants to break the 100 per cent mark in the EU. By 2030, the same target is planned for all locations outside China.

By 2030, the company aims to emit 30 per cent less CO2 on average per vehicle (passenger cars and light commercial vehicles) over the lifecycle than in 2018.

In 2021, the Volkswagen Group says it made significant progress in reducing its CO2 footprint. CO2 emissions were reduced by 1.7 tonnes per newly produced vehicle across the group. Apart from the supply of renewable energies, the main reasons are the electrification of the product portfolio and Volkswagen ’s support for the expansion of wind and solar parks in Europe.

VW Group CEO Herbert Diess, said: “Whether the earth warms by 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius by 2050 has a major impact on developments such as species extinction, droughts and rising sea levels. The Volkswagen Group is taking its responsibility to protect the world for future generations. That is why we are sharpening our own emissions reduction targets in production after less than two years. We are pleased that the Science Based Targets initiative recognises this.”

VW Group also says it is also working hard to become more sustainable in other areas, such as decarbonising its supply chains, recycling and electrifying its vehicles. “How successful we continue to be as a company in the fight against global warming is also up to each and every individual. That is why our group-wide Project1Hour is especially close to my heart. Everyone can contribute with good ideas to help us gain even more momentum in climate protection,” added Diess.

Last year, VW Group’s Project1Hour was accompanied by various campaigns at the company’s sites. At the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, a large banner at the power plant and an electric car parade drew attention to the project. Volkswagen South Africa replanted the Volkswagen brand logo with 45-meter diameter porkbush plants that are particularly CO2-absorbent. The Audi team in Brussels is created a new green space on the plant premises, while their colleagues in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm were called upon to take part in a plogging campaign to mark Earth Day – they collected garbage while jogging. Seat in Martorell stopped the assembly lines for #Project1Hour. At MAN Bus in Starachowice, employees could hand in old electrical devices at the factory gate and receive a tree plant in return. 

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