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670,000 people – one goal

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Volkswagen is undergoing the biggest transformation in its corporate history. The consistent reduction of its considerable carbon footprint can only succeed through profound changes.

Every single area of the company shares the responsibility for decarbonization, down to the smallest ramifications – and this includes all 670,000 employees around the world, too. They are the ones shaping the change each and every day. As a company, Volkswagen can only succeed if every employee is fully aware of the carbon reduction measures and goals, as well as their purpose. 

Volkswagen’s decarbonization is a true team effort. It’s being brought about with the help of all employees and in every single workplace. Across all brands, training and education measures are sensitizing the workforce to the issue of climate change, for which Volkswagen is jointly responsible – so that everyone is empowered to become active in climate protection in their area of activity.

Decarbonization – in the personal and professional spheres

Our primary task is to build carbon-neutral cars and gradually reduce Volkswagen’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero. While all employees are contributing to this, even more can be done to stop climate change. Every single employee has a personal carbon footprint, too, and thus the opportunity to become active for climate protection outside of their professional activities – and Volkswagen wants to actively support every employee in this endeavor. This is why the company offers a basis for climate-conscious decision-making both in the professional and the personal spheres. 

Of course, the Volkswagen Group cannot and will not dictate to its employees how they should live their lives or how to reduce their carbon footprint. But climate change isn’t going to wait for any of us. Therefore, it’s necessary for the company to take responsibility beyond its own products. With a community of 670,000 employees, the Group has incredible potential to make a difference. Because every individual can do something. And every single step counts.

Living by example with e-mobility

Customers who switch to Volkswagen electric vehicles are making a conscious decision for climate-friendly mobility and the reduction of their carbon footprint. The Group is already the world’s second-largest supplier of electric vehicles and has ambitious targets. E-mobility is the most important building block for decarbonization at Volkswagen. Not only do good electric cars that are attractive to customers have to be developed and designed – they also have to be produced in volumes that are unprecedented anywhere in the world today. The ramp-up for this is taking place in record time. And since it affects all employees in the Group, the entire Volkswagen workforce is actively shaping the change. New supply chains and production processes, new technologies or shared mobility concepts are just a few examples of this change.

Everyone at Volkswagen also understands that the new models are still unfamiliar to many customers. That’s why many employees are familiarizing themselves with them, getting to know the technology behind them and understanding why exactly these vehicles are being developed and built. Therein lies an opportunity to show customers and the general public that these electric products are excellent vehicles suitable for everyday use – with an immense climate benefit.

Leadership is called for

Volkswagen’s management and management board bear a special responsibility for decarbonization. With their decisions, they’re setting the course for the Group to meet its ambitious climate targets. However, the management is also expected to demonstrate in their personal behavior what Volkswagen stands for: fulfilling the Paris Climate Agreement.

Here’s a good example of how challenging one’s personal situation can be in this regard: On a global average, every person has a carbon footprint of around 5 metric tons per year. By contrast, the footprint of Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Management Board, is 1,300 metric tons per year. The biggest part of this, well over 1,000 metric tons, comes from his numerous work-related flights. Reducing this footprint to the 1.5 metric tons required as a global average to limit global warming to under 2 degrees requires a major effort. Nonetheless, Dr. Diess is applying this standard to his own behavior and situation. 

Management decisions are increasingly being made in a climate-conscious manner. This can lead to apparent contradictions, as one example makes clear: A flight by a board member or manager can be an investment in climate protection – if, for example, the work being done further accelerates Volkswagen’s decarbonization efforts. The benchmark here is this: The personal carbon footprint, the professional carbon footprint and the impact of each manager at Volkswagen must reach a healthy overall balance when it comes to the climate.

#Project1Hour

On the occasion of Earth Day 2021, Volkswagen gave its employees all around the world an opportunity to discuss their own contribution to reducing carbon emissions in a 1-hour workshop during working hours. The aim of #Project1Hour was to develop concrete ideas and steps. Whether in terms of energy use in production, choice of transport on business trips or in their personal life when selecting electricity tariffs, or through their nutrition choices or consumption behavior – everyone can contribute to combating climate change through their personal and professional decision making.

#Project1Hour was a team workshop for all employees across all brands, areas and levels of the Volkswagen Group. It was conducted in the workplace in over 30 languages – on-site or digitally. Its main components were a climate quiz, a CO₂ Quick Check and a group task on each employee’s own climate protection contribution. 

The workshop led to voluntary commitments to reduce one’s personal carbon footprint and, in addition, the sharing of ideas for carbon reductions in the overall team or even the entire company. The ideas and voluntary commitments can be shared via a digital platform to motivate others and enable mutual learning. The campaign will be continued in the form of a community of “Climate Action Pioneers,” i.e., particularly committed employees. Those who want to take a deeper look at their own contribution to climate protection will find support in this community. 

In 2022 this workshop will be held once more: on April 22, Earth Day. The focus will remain on the company's own contribution to climate protection. The second #Project1Hour will be the first opportunity for employees to review their own commitments to reducing carbon emissions: What has been achieved? What has not? What is now possible in addition? New materials for the workshops also offer the opportunity for more in-depth technical knowledge and more variety.

Active together

Climate protection needs fellow campaigners

Know of a great project for our PlanetBetter world map? Have ideas for this website regarding climate protection at Volkswagen? Or constructive criticism to express? Get in touch now! We’re open to all your suggestions and look forward to receiving your e-mail: planetbetter@volkswagen.de.

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