As Müller explained, it is not just a question of clean and efficient vehicles; environmental protection in production also plays a key role throughout the Group. "That is why we are setting new, ambitious targets in production: we will be reducing the environmental impact throughout the Volkswagen Group by a further 20 percent by 2025", Müller announced. "That means: 45 percent less energy, CO2, water, VOC emissions and waste compared with the baseline 2010." He emphasized that the Volkswagen Group is pursuing a holistic environmental strategy: "We are broadening our interpretation of environmental sustainability: it is not only what comes out of the tailpipe that matters. We must address the entire life cycle of mobility – from energy generation and raw materials down to recycling."
With this approach, the Volkswagen Group is also following a recommendation of the Sustainability Council, a body comprising independent international experts which advises the Group Board of Management on the Company's transformation process. One of the speakers at the Group Environmental Conference in Wolfsburg was Georg Kell, Founding Director of the UN Global Compact and Chair of the Sustainability Council set up by Volkswagen one year ago.
"Our customers and society expect sustainable conduct from us", Group CEO Müller emphasized in his speech. He added that a critical and constructive dialog was important for the Volkswagen Group in order to win back the trust forfeited as a result of the diesel crisis. "It is good that Volkswagen is opening up and engaging with external perspectives. Particularly where the environment and sustainability are concerned", Müller said at the Group Environmental Conference. "We institutionalized that just under a year ago when we founded the Volkswagen Sustainability Council."
In his welcome speech, Bernd Osterloh, Chairman of the Group Works Council, commented: "Volkswagen must demonstrate a high level of commitment in order to reclaim pole position in the sustainability rankings. We already held the lead in August 2015. We forfeited that position – quite rightly – as a result of the emissions scandal. Our shared aspiration must be to return to the top of the rankings. The work of hundreds of environmental experts in the Volkswagen Group is an important step in that direction."
Regular Group Environmental Conferences were introduced in 1998 as a forum for some 400 environmental officers from all over the Group to discuss strategies, measures and projects, and advance the sustainable development of the Company. "The Volkswagen Group anchors sustainable conduct throughout its value chain and makes an important contribution to the energy transition by investing in renewable energies", Stephan Krinke, Head of Environmental Affairs of the Volkswagen Group, commented. "The conference gives us the opportunity to position our Group to meet our ambitious environmental targets." Numerous environmental projects and initiatives were also presented at the two-day Group Environmental Conference 2017 held at the Mobile Life Campus in Wolfsburg.