Fighting CO2 makes everyone a winner

A truck, a running shoe and a can of drink – products from three world-leading companies with one important common denominator. Volvo Group, Nike and Coca-Cola are all members of “Climate Savers”, the Worldwide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) programme that is involving global companies in the battle to reduce carbon emissions. 

The WWF imposes rigorous demands on companies wishing to join “Climate Savers”. They need to be leaders in their industry when it comes to reducing carbon emissions and undertake to reduce them still further. The Volvo Group was approved by the WWF as a member of “Climate Savers” in 2009 and, since the start, the carbon emissions generated by the Group’s products have been sharply reduced, while the emissions from production have been cut by no less than 16%.

“Being a member of ‘Climate Savers’ is a major undertaking and it is not something that simply happens automatically. The member companies have to pass through the eye of a needle that is really tiny to be approved by the WWF and we demand that the objectives are regarded as a true challenge. The Volvo Group is still the only vehicle manufacturer to be included in ‘Climate Savers’ and you should be really proud of this,” says Siv Persson, the person responsible for corporate partnerships at the WWF in Sweden.

“To succeed, a strong commitment to ‘Climate Savers’ is essential, right up to executive management level. When we were approved as members of ‘Climate Savers’, the WWF had a limited knowledge of the automotive industry and some people were probably quite sceptical about our involvement, but we have developed a close partnership and created a good understanding of one another’s operations,” explains Gunnar Bengtsson, Director Environmental Affairs at AB Volvo.

So how is the Volvo Group’s involvement in “Climate Savers” actually developing?
When half the period had ended, the project was evaluated by Ecofys, an independent company specialising in energy issues. The results exceeded everyone’s expectations. When it comes to production, the target is to save 0.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2009-2014. Things have gone exceptionally well and the Volvo Group has already saved 0.3 million tonnes in just three years.

The emissions from production and products are measured separately. Within production, the emissions are divided into direct emissions from plants, including the emissions from an oil boiler, for example, and indirect emissions, such as the production of the electricity the Group uses. When it comes to products, this includes all the vehicles produced in 2009-2014 within the project and the emission levels are compared with the corresponding vehicles in 2008.

To make the measurements, the products have been divided into different categories and the evaluation is then based on a reference vehicle in each category. The overall target is for all the products sold during the period to reduce their carbon emissions by 30 million tonnes. Compare this with the fact that 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are discharged within the space of a year in Sweden and it is easy to obtain a clear picture of the level of the Group’s ambitions. Halfway through the project, the Group has already reached 18 million tonnes and the final target of 30 million tonnes is expected to be reached in 2013.

“The Volvo Group has been really successful when it comes to both realising its targets and taking advantage in business terms of its membership in ‘Climate Savers’. By combining forces, we have exceeded expectations and the work the Volvo Group has done is a real eye-opener for other companies,” says Siv Persson.

“‘Climate Savers’ is a real win-win situation. First and foremost, it benefits the environment, as well as being good for our operations. We have more competitive products and create credibility when it comes to our core value of environmental care. I am delighted to be part of this project. My work feels meaningful and, when my children ask me what I do at work, I can answer them with pride,” says Gunnar Bengtsson enthusiastically.

Watch the film on Volvo Group’s participation in WWF Climate Savers programme

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