Two-thirds of consumers consider a brand’s environmental policies as a critical factor when purchasing luxury products, according to a recent study*. The same percentage of buyers would like to see carbon labelling on products as a way of providing greater transparency on the environmental impact of products and materials**.
This means the material world is evolving and designers around the world are actively sourcing high-quality, sustainable and responsibly-sourced materials as they strive to create the luxury products of the future.
These and other conclusions appear in The Rise of Conscious Design, a new report issued by Volvo Cars in collaboration with leading trend forecasting company The Future Laboratory.
The publication of the report coincides with Volvo Cars’ announcement that all of its new fully electric models will be completely leather-free. The newly launched C40 Recharge is the first model to be fully devoid of leather.
The report draws on a wealth of existing research as well as new interviews and insights from thought leaders from a variety of industries, such as Claire Bergkamp, COO of The Textile Exchange and former Worldwide Sustainability and Innovation Director for Stella McCartney; Wen Zhou, CEO of 3.1 Phillip Lim; Dr Leonardi Bonnani, Founder and CEO of Sourcemap; and Xu Gang, co-Founder of Bentu Design.
The conclusions and insights in the report in many ways reflect Volvo Cars’ own vision on the future of materials. In coming years, Volvo Cars will launch a completely new family of pure electric cars and by 2030 it aims to offer only fully electric cars – all of them free of leather.
As part of its ambitions to go completely leather-free, Volvo Cars is working actively to find high-quality and sustainable sources for many materials currently used in the wider car industry.
“We have a vision of where we need to go in the future, with the first step to ensure we harness sustainable, natural and recycled materials,” said Robin Page, head of design at Volvo Cars. “The next challenge is to change what we do with these materials, whether that’s making car parts that last forever, re-enter the circular economy or go back into the earth.”
“Conscious design can fundamentally transform our society and it’s integral that brands harness the opportunities on offer,” said Martin Raymond, co-founder of The Future Laboratory. “Conscious design is showing a way forward and could transform the world in the process.”
By 2025, the company is aiming for 25% of the material in new Volvo cars to consist of recycled and bio-based content, as part of its ambition to be a fully circular business by 2040.
Instead of leather interior options, Volvo Cars will offer its customers alternatives such as high-quality sustainable materials made from bio-based and recycled sources.
For example, Nordico, a new interior material created by Volvo Cars will consist of textiles made from recycled material such as PET bottles, bio-attributed material from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland, and corks recycled from the wine industry – setting a new standard for premium interior design. This material will make its debut in the next generation of Volvo models.
Volvo Cars will also continue to offer wool blend options from suppliers that are certified to source responsibly, as the company looks to ensure full traceability and animal welfare in its wool supply chain.
For the full version of The rise of conscious design: a report about tomorrow’s materials, click HERE.
Notes to editors
* Source: Vogue Business Index, Winter 2020
** Source: The Carbon Trust, 2020 YouGov Survey
Volvo Car Group in 2020
For the 2020 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 8.5 BSEK (14.3 BSEK in 2019). Revenue over the period amounted to 262.8 BSEK (274.1 BSEK). For the full year of 2020, global sales reached 661,713 cars (705,452), a decline of 6.2 per cent compared to 2019.
About Volvo Car Group
Volvo Cars was founded in 1927. Today, it is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world with sales of 661,713 cars in 2020 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding since 2010.
As of December 2020, Volvo Cars employed approximately 40,000 (41,500) full-time employees. Volvo Cars' head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars' head office for APAC is located in Shanghai and for Americas in Mahwah, NJ. The company’s main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium), South Carolina (US), Chengdu and Daqing (China).
Under its company purpose, Volvo Cars aims to provide customers with the Freedom to Move in a personal, sustainable and safe way. This purpose is reflected into a number of business ambitions: for example, by the middle of this decade it aims for half of its global sales to be fully electric cars, half of its sales to be online and half of its software to be in-house. Volvo Cars is also committed to an ongoing reduction of its carbon footprint, with the ambition to be a climate-neutral company by 2040.
About The Future Laboratory
The Future Laboratory is one of the world’s leading strategic foresight consultancies. It exists to help companies make a better future by giving them the confidence to take the decisions today that will create economic, environmental, technological and social growth tomorrow. From its offices in London and Melbourne, The Future Laboratory offers a range of strategic foresight products and services to help its clients harness market trends, adapt to emerging consumer needs, and keep them ahead of their competitors. Stay on top of the latest consumer trends and market shifts by visiting its trends intelligence platform, lsnglobal.com, and find out more about its client work at https://www.thefuturelaboratory.com/.