Environmental strategy

As one of the largest automobile manufacturers, Volkswagen takes responsibility for the environmental impact of its activities. Based on the TOGETHER 2025+ Group strategy, we have set ourselves ambitious environmental targets with our environmental mission statement. With goTOzero, we aspire to minimize environmental impacts along the entire life cycle – from raw material extraction until end-of-life – for all our products and mobility solutions in order to keep ecosystems intact and to ensure that we have a positive impact on society. Compliance with environmental regulations, standards and voluntary commitments is a basic prerequisite of our actions.

Our focus is on four prioritized action areas:

  • Climate change. We are committed to the 2°C target of the Paris Climate Agreement. By 2025, we plan to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of our passenger cars and light commercial vehicles by 30% over the total life cycle compared with 2015. We use the decarbonization index to document our progress. We intend to become a carbon-neutral company by 2050.
  • Resources. We intend to reduce production-related environmental impact, maximize our resource efficiency and promote circular economy approaches in the areas of materials, energy and water.
  • Air quality. We are driving e-mobility forward to improve the local air quality. By 2025, the share of battery electric vehicles in our model portfolio shall be between 20% and 25%. The share of electric vehicles in our new vehicle fleet in Europe and China is set to rise to at least 40% by 2030.
  • Environmental compliance. Where integrity is concerned, we aim to become a role model for a modern, transparent and successful enterprise by implementing and monitoring effective management systems that cover the environmental impacts of our mobility solutions over all life cycle stages.

With our future program TOGETHER 2025+, we have defined a strategic indicator for the major brands that manufacture passenger cars for the EU28, China and USA regions:

  • Decarbonization index (DCI). This measures the average emissions of CO2 and CO2 equivalents (together CO2e) over the entire life cycle of the portfolio of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles and is stated in tonnes per vehicle. The DCI encompasses both direct and indirect CO2e emissions at the individual production sites (Scope 1 and 2) as well as all further upstream and downstream CO2e emissions over the life cycle of the vehicles sold – from the extraction of raw materials to the use of the vehicle and final disposal of old vehicles (Scope 3). As a strategic indicator, the DCI enables transparent, comprehensive tracking of progress toward climate-friendly mobility. The average value was 43.0 t CO2e/vehicle in the reporting period; by 2025 the decarbonization index shall be reduced by around 30%.

Organization of environmental protection

Volkswagen has created an environmental policy that sets out guidelines for environmental decision-making, for the management of projects and for the Group’s environmental stewardship. Thus, parameters are set for the conduct and working methods of management and staff in five areas: management behavior, compliance, environmental protection, collaboration with stakeholders and continuous improvement.

The Board of Management of Volkswagen AG is the highest internal decision-making level for environmental issues. The Volkswagen AG’s and brand’s boards of management take business, social and environmental criteria into account when making key company decisions. The Group-wide management of environmental protection is the responsibility of the Group Steering Committee for the Environment and Energy. Other bodies take responsibility for steering key individual aspects in relation to products such as CO₂ emissions and exhaust gas emissions. These include the Group CO₂ Steering Committee, the Group Steering Committee for Fleet Compliance and Exhaust Gas, and the Group Sustainability Steering Committee.

The Volkswagen Group coordinates the activities of the brands, which in turn steer the measures in the regions. The brands and companies are responsible for their own environmental organization. They base their own environmental protection activities on the targets, guidelines and principles that apply throughout the Group.

We are dedicated to comply with legal and regulatory requirements. Furthermore, we are guided by company standards and targets. Our environmental compliance management systems shall ensure that environmental aspects and obligations are taken into account in our business operations. Disregard for the rules, fraud and misconduct are treated as severe compliance violations. Compliance with our Environmental Policy Statement and with other Group environmental requirements is evaluated annually and reported to the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, the respective boards of management of the brands or the managing directors of the companies.