VW’s Sustainability Council Predicts Clean Energy Future Strategy

As part of Volkswagen’s on-going mea culpa following the Dieselgate scandal, its first Sustainability Council’s report is predicting a carbon-free powertrain future.

The eight-member international panel, including climate change experts from the EU, the US and the UN, prioritized three topics over the past two years:

  1. Technology change to accelerate electrification and new mobility services;
  2. Policy change in order to set a role model in environmental protection;
  3. Culture change to build value and integrity to regain.

In its interim report, the council claims technological change based on the Together 2025 strategy and the Roadmap E in principle on the right track. It considers the strategy as crucial for the future of the company but also recognizes other influences. Council member Michael Sommer, former president of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) said: “It is important to clarify the impact on society and the social consequences for the directly affected employees and we must also consider the impact on the millions of people who rely on effective mobility every day.”

The council received a budget of €20M from Volkswagen for stimulating innovation and cultural change within the company. This started various projects:

  • Open Source Lab for Sustainable Mobility: Supported by the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, promoting dialogue with stakeholders on sustainable mobility solutions of the
  • Next Generation Policies: Supported by the Mercator Research Institute for Global Goods and Climate Change and others, this project identifies effective strategies against climate change and for decarbonization of
  • Forecast-Based Financing: Supported by, inter alia, the German Red Cross, this project helps to set up an early warning system to steer funds in advance to climate-sensitive regions in Asia and the Pacific

In summary, the panel welcomed the efforts made by VW group’s executive board to meet the twin challenges of tackling the diesel crisis and promoting the development of new technologies. It said the most important tasks for the future are the decarbonization of the company and the intensification of a transparent dialogue with its stakeholders.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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