Volvo has been recognized time and again for its dedication to automotive safety. However, another core value has been equally important to the Swedish car company: environmental care and awareness. In fact, it is not a stretch to say that every one of Volvo’s corporate decisions for the past several decades has been made with careful consideration of the ecological impact associated with it.
Emphasis on environmental issues is an inextricable aspect of Volvo’s corporate identity. At the highest levels of the company, environmental care is seen as a social responsibility, a way of reducing the impacts Volvo vehicles and facilities have on the world and its people.
The effort starts with Volvo’s automobile manufacturing principles and practices. Every Volvo vehicle has recycled materials in its construction. By the same token, as much as 85 percent of any Volvo vehicle can be recycled, and a push is underway to raise that figure to 95 percent within the next five years. Volvo also remanufactures thousands of components to extend their useful life and reduce the amount of energy required to produce new replacements. On the assembly line, Volvo has adopted the use of water-based paints and works to continually improve waste management and reduce the use of electricity.
Volvo cars are also designed to do their part when it comes to protecting the environment. Each decision made regarding a vehicle’s specifications is evaluated through a set of in-house tools that calculate the potential consequences in terms of energy use, fuel consumption and greenhouse gas production.
Vehicle emissions are kept to a bare minimum thanks to advanced catalytic technologies, which scrub clean up to 98 percent of greenhouse gases from Volvo exhaust systems. Harmful gas production is further reduced through the extensive adoption of Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle and Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle engine standards. Volvo car interiors are crafted of hypoallergenic materials to reduce their impact on drivers and passengers and lower the amount of chemicals and other synthetic substances encountered by those riding along.
Volvo has always been concerned for the health of people and the environment. In 1989, Volvo implemented a life-cycle assessment system known as the Environmental Priority Strategies initiative, which allowed the company to project into the future the long-term impact of the production and design decisions it was considering. Building on this framework, the company moved forward with a number of important changes and modifications to its vehicle building process. That same year, plastic recycling became a priority across all Volvo vehicles. In 1991, efforts began to maintain a higher standard of environmental stewardship at the company’s paint facility in Torslanda. Volvo also eliminated chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from its air conditioning systems in 1993, and in 1995, it brought out a new set of environmental standards that were required to be met by each of its dealers.
Volvo’s environmental concern is an integral part of its corporate strategy and social identity. This concern is reflected in Volvo’s product line of efficient and clean automobiles, and it has set an example for other automakers. Volvo pioneered modern automobile safety. It now leads the way with its efforts to safeguard the planet for future generations.