Operations and the Environment

Operations and the Environment

Environmental responsibility in every project

Every operation reports what efforts are made to meet the company’s environmental targets and strategic direction. In Volvo Cars’ environmental council, all units gather to govern, lead and tie together the company’s environmental issues.

Volvo Cars has developed an approach that clearly weaves environmental consideration into the beginning of each project. There are now checklists at the early project phases that ensure that the environmental issues are taken into consideration from the beginning.

The establishment of production in China is in full swing and a high level of environmental performance is strived for in all plants in accordance with Volvo Cars’ environmental standard. The largest environmental impact from car factories comes from emissions to air and water from the painting units. To minimise the emissions of volatile organic compounds and emissions to water, the same process and purification technology is being installed as in Belgian Ghent, where the environmental performance at the plant is among the best in Europe.

Energy efficiency for lower carbon dioxide emissions
In the energy area, Volvo Cars continuously works to reduce its total consumption because it constitutes a major part of Volvo Cars’ total environmental impact. An important component is to maximise the recycling of waste heat and replace fossil fuels with renewable fuels. In total, Volvo Cars’ has reduced its energy consumption by 30 percent in the past five-year period.

Since 2008, the factories in Sweden and Belgium only use electricity from renewable sources, mainly hydro-electric power, which has led to the plants cutting their carbon-dioxide emissions in half. At the Ghent plant, 15 percent of energy consumption is supplied by three wind power turbines on the company’s site. The goal is an entirely climate-neutral energy supply by 2020.

Just like in Europe, Volvo Cars in China ¬invests in modern technology to reduce energy consumption and this is particularly true of ventilation and heat recycling systems. On the transportation front, a large part of the goods will be transported on the Yangtze River.

Efficient logistics solutions
Volvo Cars actively works on logistics solutions to reduce the climate impact of the company’s goods transports. The truck transports have been optimised for many years, which has led to full loads, more parts per pallet and filled return shipments.

For longer distances and larger volumes, it is crucial to find alternative solutions. Volvo Cars constantly seeks better alternatives and forms of cooperation for the transports between the moulding factories and car factories, and between Europe and Asia – and this applies to both rail and maritime shipments.

The sheet-metal waste that comes from Volvo Cars’ body panel production in Olofström is transported by specially made trains to other parts of the country for recycling. These transports replace 5,000 truck shipments and reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 55 percent per year. The company also continuously works to replace internal vehicles powered by fossil fuels with electric powered vehicles, which reduces environmental impact and improves the working environment.

Reduced environmental impact on water and air
Volvo Cars works intently to reduce the company’s total environmental impact on water by using the Global Water Footprint method that measures both the quality of output water and total water consumption. For emissions to air, the painting units in Gothenburg and Ghent have been among the best for decades in terms of minimising emissions of solvents.

Since spring 2011, Volvo Cars also has a common global waste-management process – an approach that continuously provides both environmental and financial advantages.

Volvo Cars actively monitors how the environmental legislation is developing in countries in which the company conducts business and has a continuous open dialogue with national and local authorities. The company also participates in various networks in several countries.