Volvo Cars will remove single-use plastics from all its offices, canteens and events across the globe by the end of 2019. The decision reflects the company’s active support of the UN Environment Clean Seas campaign, and underlines its ambition to minimise its global environmental footprint.
The premium car maker will replace more than 20 million single-use plastic items such as cups, food containers and cutlery with more sustainable alternatives, including biodegradable products made of paper, pulp and wood. This equates to the removal of more than 500 plastic items per employee per year.
The switch will be implemented incrementally. By the end of 2018, single-use plastics will be removed from global events such as car launches, as well as from all offices and restaurants in Volvo Cars facilities in China, Belgium, the United States, Sweden and Malaysia.
During 2019, all national sales companies (NSCs) will eradicate single-use plastics from their operations, including local events.
“Action from the private sector is key to making progress in the fight against plastic pollution and in raising awareness. We cannot wait for a binding legislative agreement,” said Lisa Emelia Svensson, Director of Ocean at UN Environment. “In the next 10 to 15 years, global plastic production is projected to nearly double, parts of which will end up in oceans if we do not change today. We welcome Volvo Cars saying no to single-use plastics and it’s great to see it leading by example.”
Volvo Cars estimates that the 2018 roll-out alone will result in the replacement of more than 140 tonnes of single-use plastic items with plastic-free alternatives.
“Plastics pollution is one of the great environmental challenges of our time,” said Stuart Templar, Director for Sustainability at Volvo Cars. “We take our responsibility seriously. We must play our part in helping tackle this global problem.”
The company’s action on single-use plastics follows its EUR 300,000 support for the Volvo Ocean Race’s Science Programme. Several of the boats in the 2018-19 edition of the Race are equipped with sensors that are capturing data on marine health from some of the remotest parts of the world’s oceans, including levels of micro plastics.
Sales of the V90 Cross Country Volvo Ocean Race special-edition vehicles have contributed to this support. Meanwhile, the car itself contains carpet inlays made from Econyl, a fabric made from 100 per cent recycled nylon, including abandoned fishing nets reclaimed from the seabed.
Volvo Cars is committed to reducing the environmental impact of both its products and operations. In 2017, the company announced an industry-leading commitment to electrify all new Volvo cars launched after 2019. Last month, Volvo Cars reinforced this strategy by stating that it aims for fully electric cars to make up 50 per cent of its global sales by 2025.
In terms of operations, Volvo Cars aims to have climate-neutral manufacturing operations by 2025. In January this year, the engine plant in Skövde, Sweden, became its first climate-neutral facility.
Volvo Car Group in 2017
For the 2017 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 14,061 MSEK (11,014 MSEK in 2016). Revenue over the period amounted to 210,912 MSEK (180,902 MSEK). For the full year 2017, global sales reached a record 571,577 cars, an increase of 7.0 per cent versus 2016. The results underline the comprehensive transformation of Volvo Cars’ finances and operations in recent years, positioning the company for its next growth phase.
About Volvo Car Group
Volvo has been in operation since 1927. Today, Volvo Cars is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world, with sales of 571,577 cars in 2017 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China since 2010. It formed part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when the company was bought by Ford Motor Company of the US. In 2010, Volvo Cars was acquired by Geely Holding.
In 2017, Volvo Cars employed on average approximately 38,000 (30,400) full-time employees. Volvo Cars’ head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars’ head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company’s main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium), Chengdu and Daqing (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China), and body components in Olofström (Sweden).